Sometimes things are not as simple as they seem to be. Chronic tardiness is one of those things that’s difficult to understand, as a number of studies have shown that persistent lateness is actually connected to many other personality traits.
Here, we will expose and explain some of the different factors that can affect your likelihood of being prompt. We’ll also describe some techniques that the chronically late can use to ensure that they’re on time for the important things in life.
We’ll also discuss some celebrities who are notoriously late for everything. Shame, shame!
Elite Daily reported that those who are especially optimistic are more likely to have trouble getting to where they need to be on time. The optimistic type is the kind that gives themselves hours to get ready, but still manages to be ten minutes late to work. Why does this keep happening? Well, it’s simply because optimistic people are more likely to think that they can fit more into a small amount of time. Also, optimistic people thrive when they feel as though they are multi-tasking.
Does any of this sound familiar yet?
OK, so we’re not actually encouraging you to give up that envious feeling of rosy cheer that so many of us strive for! But when you’ve got something important coming up — say, a job interview — don’t leave things to chance. Set an alarm for yourself and aim to get out the door at that time, regardless of how optimistic you feel about arriving in a timely manner.
Late people have Type B personalities
A study held at San Diego State University found that Type B personalities were more likely to be late. This is due to the fact that Type B folks are a bit more laid-back and easygoing. The type B types are more likely to not sweat the small stuff; tardiness fits into that “small stuff” category. Type B people are more concerned with the big picture, which they view as being full of countless opportunities.
No one ever climbed to the top by being chronically late. So suck it up and show up on time. Sure, it might seem petty to you but trust us — even the best of friends are going to tire of a pal who always shows up 30 minutes late. Be respectful of others!
You Hate Being Early
Another study, from Psychology Today, reported that there was one common thread to an epidemic of tardiness. People actually do not like being early because it feels inefficient and like a waste of time. Psychology Today also shared that people despise being early because they feel “awkward and uncomfortable waiting. They might even feel as if others are watching and judging them, whether this is true or not.”
“Just as someone else’s time is valuable and you want to respect it to be punctual, so too is your time valuable and you’d rather use it productively than wait around inefficiently.”
Early bird catches the worm
Here are some benefits of being early: it reduces stress (no last-minute rushing), people will appreciate you more, and you expose yourself to more opportunities than those who just can’t seem to show up on time.
You Have ADHD
Lisa Bernstein, an MD who works with ADHD patients, has found that breaking down time into 30-minute increments is frequently more manageable for them. Bernstein also shared that some sufferers of ADHD are better off with a reward system (meaning, no Facebook, iPhone or other distractions until work is done or they get to my next destination on time). A master calendar is vital for those with ADHD, because tardiness is just part of their nature.
Here are some tips for limited distractions so you can arrive to your destination on time: turn off computers, put phones away, use timers for all tasks, and play white noise or soothing music to quiet outside sounds.
You Are Controlling
TV shrink Dr. Phil has some tough-love advice for those who are constantly late. He says “Understand that procrastination or being late is a way of manipulating and controlling a situation at the expense of others.” He shares the story of Jim Dunbar, who has always been late to everything (work, dinners with buddies, holidays, even funerals). Jim was eventually diagnosed with chronic lateness. He, much like those who suffer from ADHD, cannot gauge how long a task will take him. And he shared his story because “there has got to be other folk out there with it and they don’t realize that it’s not their fault.”
Time is everything
Those who are chronically late must use a timer for all tasks. It’s the most effective way to overcome constant tardiness.
You’re a procrastinator
People who procrastinate, or put off tasks until the last possible moment, do so because the draw of instant gratification (hey, let’s check Facebook!) is stronger than the thought of getting a chore done ahead of time. It’s a very common trait.
Procrastinators can help to eliminate the last-minute rushes by planning ahead. Invest in a good calendar/planning system and USE IT.
Did you know that feelings of depression can cause cognitive problems like memory loss and poor concentration? Both are factors that can increase your risk of being frequently late.
How to cope
Depression can be eased with exercise, a healthy diet, plenty of time spent outdoors, and the pursuit of hobbies and interests. More severe cases should be treated with therapy and/or medication.
Early = polite?
People who are always late don’t view earliness as being polite. For example, arriving at a dinner party early can cause the host the extra stress of socializing during their last moments of preparation. They may have wanted to have things “just right” before company came knocking.
If you show up early
It’s best to show up right at the designated time. If you’re the first to arrive, don’t fret. You can offer to help, or just provide entertaining chit-chat as the hostess gets things ready.
Poor planning skills
Those who are always late frequently take a very casual approach to planning. This means they’ll occasionally make mental notes of necessary tasks, but they don’t commit to those chores by creating an actual list and tackling it. Precious time is wasted while the person tries to decide what to work on next.
Time management 101
Invest some time in devising a realistic preparation schedule. Include tasks like brushing teeth, emergency ironing, and traffic delays. Use timers, and stick to them!
You take a “best-of” approach
Many people who are chronically late focus on their very best times ever. For example, if it only took 15 minutes to get to work one morning, they will only budget themselves for 15 minutes (even if the daily drive usually takes 30!).
There are always going to be delays, especially if you live in a metropolitan area with lots of traffic congestion. If possible, give yourself an extra 20-30 minutes to allow for those unforeseen snafus.
Although creativity is a highly-valued trait in our society, artistic people are often late because they’re more focused on feelings than on mundane time constraints. Creatives tend to like spontaneity too, which doesn’t typically bode well for a timely arrival.
Put that artistic energy to use
Creatives can put their imaginations to work in order to be more punctual. For example, just picture yourself walking to the train, then waiting for the train, then taking the train, then walking to work. If you’re able to visualize all the different components of your commute, you will likely allot more time for the trip.
Not as efficient as advertised
A common fault of those who tend to be late is that they’re not as good at multi-tasking as they think they are. None of us are, actually, as multiple studies have proven.
One at a time
The solution to this problem is to focus on just one specific task at a time. Don’t move on to the next project until one is complete. Otherwise, you’ll just end up becoming overwhelmed and backed up even further, which will contribute to future tardiness.
Tardiness in the workplace
If a well-paid CEO arrives 15 minutes late to a meeting with several other highly-compensated employees, the company has to shell out big bucks to cover the price of the on-time employees’ time. Not to mention, work lateness affects others’ morale. One chronically late person can drag an entire team down!
Set yourself up for success
We can’t always account for traffic jams or other commuting calamities. What you can do is allow yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning. And what’s the harm in arriving early, anyway? You’ll have a chance to get ahead for the day, before anyone else has even arrived. Win-win.
A growing problem
One etiquette expert, Dianne Marsch, has this to say about tardiness: “This has become an epidemic and I see it in teens, parents and our elected officials. We have become an entitled population without respect for others.”
Tardiness linked to feelings of admiration
ABC News once released a report on chronic lateness. “For some, being chronically late can be damaging and embarrassing. For others, it’s a way of showing power or prestige,” according to ABC’s study.
Celebrities, in particular, seem prone to tardiness. This isn’t difficult to understand, as a certain element of privilege and overindulgence surely comes along with being famous and fawned over. Other people exist only to serve these celebrities!
Following are just a few celebs who are known to be perpetually late.
In his song “Gold Digger,” West raps that “You should be honored by my lateness.” He remains true to those words in real life, once making fans wait until 1:00 a.m. for a show that was supposed to begin at 11:00 p.m.
That act led the crowd to chants of “Play some f***ing music!” before he finally got started.
Lilo is not exactly known for her promptness. Back when she was at her rock-bottom after years of drug and alcohol abuse, she was more likely to be a no-show than not.
During that time, she even arrived to court an hour late. Covered in glitter, natch.
Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City’s Mayor is always late. He’s late to Mass, he’s late to parades, he’s late to memorial services… the list goes on.
His legendary tardiness led former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to note: “Is he going to continue to be late? If he is, there’s no hope for him. On the other hand, if he is on time, then he’s beginning to become a manager.”
It’s no surprise that the Biebs made this list, right? The bad-boy singer once arrived at his concert two hours late. Many of his young fans had to leave before he performed, in order to make their bedtimes and get up for school in the morning.
The blonde bombshell was famously quoted as saying “I’ve been on a calendar, but I’m never on time.” Costars on her movies reported that she was constantly late and was unprepared to work when she did show up. You can’t have it all, we suppose.
The ever-controversial Fugees singer often runs late, but a recent performance in Atlanta took the cake. Hill showed up over two hours late to her concert, and was stopped less than an hour into the performance due to a neighborhood noise curfew. She blamed her tardiness on “the artistic process.”
Concert organizers issued refunds to fans, and declined to say whether Ms. Hill was paid for her short show.
He might be one of the most recognizable fashion designers in the world, but apparently Mr. Jacobs doesn’t own a watch. Sources say that he’s notoriously late, and once started his own fashion show two entire hours behind schedule.
As we’ve just read, although many claim that it’s preferable to arrive somewhere late (rather than right on time), this isn’t always true.
You’re not alone
If you’re one of those people who falls into the “chronically tardy” camp, you are not alone. And you’re not (always) at fault! But a little courtesy for those of us who value a punctual arrival can go a long way.
Try and embrace your laid-back ways while paying a bit of attention to the clock, and you’ll go far!