Recent studies suggest that the reason you’re always late goes far beyond not waking up in time or taking too long to get dressed. There may be psychological reasons you can never get to where you’re going on time – which means you can finally retire that good ol’ CP time excuse.
Management consultant and author of “Never Be Late Again,” Diana DeLonzor admitted that before writing her book she was always late. Like many of us she could give herself extra time to get ready and even plan things out ahead of time to make sure she beat the clock, but nothing ever worked.
“It didn’t matter what time I got up,” she said. “I could get up at six and still be late for work at nine.”
While we often laugh off the fact that we are late, sometimes it can even get in the way of our personal relationships and professional life. In DeLonzor’s case, her husband was always upset with her for being late, she got into a lot of trouble at work, and even friendships started to crumble apart because she just simply couldn’t make it anywhere on time.
From the outside looking in, many people assume that if someone is late it’s because they were careless about the time, lazing around as if they had nowhere to go, or just didn’t care about being on time in the first place. The truth is, many of the people who are always running behind genuinely feel awful about it but they just can’t seem to overcome their lateness.
The study that Diana led may finally have the answer as to why it’s nearly impossible for some people to simply be on time.
The study included over 200 people and of those 200 people about 17 percent of them were chronically late. Researches discovered that several patterns formed that were prohibiting these test subjects from being on time.
According to the test results, those who were always late also tended to procrastinate a lot, lacked self control, enjoyed thrill seeking, and even displaying some minor ADD like symptoms.
Of course, procrastinating and thrill seeking isn’t much of an excuse for being late. Your boss probably wouldn’t appreciate it if you looked him or her square in the eye and said “Hey, I got here an hour late because I decided to take a shower at the last minute.”
A further look into the study, however, reveals that procrastination and even the lack of self control may have stemmed from other psychological issues.
“People who are chronically late are often wrestling with anxiety, distraction, ambivalence or other internal psychological states,” said Pauline Wallin, a psychologist in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
While the psychological traits behind chronically late people are all similar, DeLonzor revealed that there are actually different types of late people – the most common of which are the deadliners, the producers, and the absent-minded professors.
If you believe that you work best under pressure and can’t really find much motivation to get things done unless there is a sure fire reason as to why you should do it… you’re probably a procrastinator. Oops, I mean deadliner.
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Anyway, deadliners are the people who don’t tend to actually take the task at hand as seriously until more pressure is added to the situation. This group tends to get a thrill out of racing against the clock to get things scratched off that daunting to-do list and will often put off work until the last minute for that very purpose.
Once again, that’s probably not too great of an explanation for your boss if you get called into the office for being late once again.
The next group has been coined the producers – but we’re going to call them the flexers. That’s right. In case you aren’t familiar with the term a person who “flexes” likes to show off or exaggerate things which can often cause them to lie to themselves. In this case, they are lying to themselves about how much they can cram into one day because in their minds there isn’t a to do list too long for them to handle.
DeLonzor explains that the producers a.k.a flexers try to get as much done in as little time as possible but often underestimate how much time the task will ultimately take them.
So what happens is: you wake up at 9 a.m knowing you have to be somewhere at noon. You decide that you’d rather go ahead and clean the house now to get it out the way and assume you’ll be finished in about 20 minutes. Flex #1. Then you tell yourself that it will only take five minutes to curl your hair. Flex #2. Of course you have to do your makeup and since you swear to yourself that you don’t wear that much make up you guess it will only take a minute or two. Oooowe look at those muscles!
So if this is you, the best thing to do is to just be honest with yourself and realize that perhaps you can’t do as much in one day as you thought you could and allow yourself more time to complete tasks efficiently… and be on time.
Another popular type of late person is the absent-minded professor. It’s pretty much self explanatory. You’re the person who has what we call the “squirrel” syndrome. You know how there is that one friend who can be driving along having a full blown conversation with you and suddenly they become overly excited and distracted by a random squirrel off to the side of the street? Yea… squirrel syndrome.
You get so distracted that just trying to make your way out the door and to the car is a challenge and eventually you just completely lose track of time, your keys, your wallet, your phone, where you were going in the first place, why you were going, what you need to bring and… there goes that squirrel again.
Other types of late personalities are rationalizers, indulgers, evaders, and rebels.
This isn’t an excuse to be late, but it does help explain why you might be late all the time and figuring out what type of late you are may be exactly what you need to help figure out what you need to do to make sure you finally start arriving on time.