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A Continuous Learning Support & Training Material

People Rushing To Work

Why You Are Never On Time

For most of us, we usually announce our arrivals at the work place, business meetings, dinner with friends or a date with these three little words

“Sorry, I’m late”.

Not hesitating to follow up with phrases like “It was the traffic”, “It was my partners fault”, “I had a lot of chores to get done”. We all run late to appointments occasionally but it becomes a problem when it happens a lot too often. Habitual lateness does not pose troublesome for ourselves only but also for those who rely on us. It might be time you reassessed how much control you have over your punctuality if you find yourself among those who are never early to an appointment.

Many people struggle with running their life with clockwork precision while keeping up with their very busy schedules. There was a time in my life when I too used to be punctually challenged. Arriving late to appointments was my hallmark despite having set dozen alarms with irritating ringtones, skipping breakfast and rushing through various task just to be able to make it on time. An episode of self  beating, dreading my arrival and thinking up a viable excuse to give to a room full of rolling eyes was what followed next, usually during the car journey. Nonetheless, I end up apologizing with what used to be my three little favorite word as well, “sorry I’m late” and this led to me feeling awful after every appointment. It felt like the whole universe was against me since all what I thought was my best efforts to avert this persistent habitual lateness was proving futile.

Actually, whole countries of people have this problem as I am sure this might sound familiar to you. The punctually challenged are often painfully aware of ability of their actions to undermine relations, harm reputations and careers. For me, cutting remarks evolved in stern talking-to from my boss. The silver lining of that though was how is made me take a step back to realize my toxic habits for what they were.

“Being late” has different meanings around different parts of the world. In Some countries such as England, japan and Switzerland, being “on time” may be considered late. In most Mediterranean countries however, being 30 minutes late is the accepted norm and showing up within two hours of an appointment or even the same the of the appoint is considered on time in some West African countries. But certainly in business, arriving five to ten minutes before the appointment shows those around you that you are prepared and efficient.

Are the Consequences Worth It?

While some people are almost always never late to an appointment, others never seem to make it in time for anything at all. Usually, it’s by an infuriating five, 10 or 15 minutes – not so late that they miss the appointment entirely, but late enough to irritate anyone who’s been left waiting. Your tardiness can impact your business or workplace in a number of ways, including your company’s ability to meet customer needs and achieve optimal productivity.

No one wants to deal with unreliable people in the least. Being late a little too often than not results in damaged relationships with other people. We all might have acquaintances who are always late, explaining their behavior by different situations and factors. This kind of lifestyle only causes one to loose respect with the people he or she is acquainted with.

On top of it all, being late is always stressful. Even if you have been in the business of being late for a very long time, it is always nerve racking to walk in to people whose time you have wasted by being late. Communication is hampered as both parties are anxious. No one likes to be in such situations and hence they would rather stay clear of your company and acquaintance if possible rather subject themselves to your tardiness. In all, being late does not seem to be worth it in any aspect of our lives.

And the there come the question “Why Am I Late?”

Is it cultural expectations – that arriving too early might make me seem overbearing or an innate natural tendency to always lag behind an appointed time no matter how hard I try to be on time. How come there is always that one extra thing to do before leaving for an appointment? These are some of the questions  that runs through our heads when we think about why we are always late. For me, it was frustrating to pin point the major factor for my tardiness but finding answers to this question was an important step to fixing this problem I had.

For most people, it  may be planning fallacy – which is when people simply fail to accurately judge how long it will take to prepare for an appointment or how much time would be spent on the journey. For others, it may be multitasking, overextending themselves by scheduling too many appointments around the same period of time. The ability of some people to realize that it is impossible to be at two places at the same time and hence plan fewer things, further apart is what ends them up being late everywhere.

Finding and accepting, and working on the reason(s) why you are always late is the first step to change.


7 Top Tips to Avoid lateness

  1. A clock and watch are timepieces that you must invest in. Your daily routines must be timed. This includes setting an alarm without setting snooze options as this will cause you to loose track of time once you fall back asleep, and timing all your daily activities. You’d be surprised how much time you’d be able to redeem in order to be on time for other appointments.
  2. It is important to plan your day but remember to avoid overextending yourself by scheduling too many appointments around the same period of time. Scheduling too many appointments at the same time sets you up to be late. Make sure to schedule ample time between appointments in order to travel between appointment locations without rushing and running the risk of being late.
  3. Always keep extra funds on you at all times. This allows take necessary action when your regular transport or vehicle becomes unavailable for any reason. Try to fill your tank on weekdays or free days in order to avert situations where you are stranded without gas.
  4. Avoid giving yourself excuses for being late. It may look as if it’s just a couple of minutes but giving yourself these excuses ends up being an encouragement to the already existing tardiness.
  5. Household duties and responsibilities that are done in the mornings should be minimized as much as possible. Cloths for the day should be laid out the previous night, as well as any activities than can be done ahead of time before the morning.
  6. Leave home early. This might seem pretty obvious but it is the best way to avoid being late and yet the most overlooked. You should have a cushion time of half an hour before you actual work time.
  7. Late night parties or sleeping late on working nights are habits that should be done away with. It so happens that a leading cause of lateness is oversleeping. Under-sleeping also reduces your productivity and efficiency. So sleep early on working nights in order to start your day well.

Next Steps

Saying “Sorry I’m late” does not help compensate for your tardiness or time lost. Actions, is said speaks  louder than words. Never being on time speaks volumes about your value and your seriousness concerning the job to your employers and acquaintances. There might be genuine reasons why you might be late once in a while but you do not want to make it a habit. Taking positive steps,  identifying the root causes for  your tardiness and following the steps outlined above would set you on the right path of ridding off tardiness. you would  feel more confident and relaxed in facing any task outlined before you.

Do you have a challenge of being punctual, or have you recovered from tardiness? Do leave a comment of your thoughts in the comment section below.

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