Sorry, I’m Late

Those of you who know me in the real world (not just online) know that I am chronically late. I swear, no matter how hard I try, I cannot be on time.

LateIt upsets other people and rightfully so. The spouse and I squabble about me running late constantly.  And I can remember the one time I was early to something. It was a race that I thought started at 8:00am. Turns out it started at 8:30am. I actually wrote about how odd I felt being early. Eerie feeling.

But, for what it’s worth to all of you who have checked your watch repeatedly and tapped your feet waiting for me, I’m sorry. I really don’t mean to be inconsiderate. I respect you and your time. I appreciate your patience.

I have never, ever been late and expected the other person not to be upset. I’ve never strolled in casually and carelessly … it’s always a sprint through the parking lot, smearing makeup on while I’m driving, or trying-to-get-in-one-last-email-before-I-leave-tripping-over-the-dog-on-my-way-out-the-door panic.

And I hate it.

I hate the anxiety and guilty feelings that come with being consistently tardy. I hate that other people don’t think I’m reliable. It drives me crazy when someone says, “Well, I didn’t really expect you to be here on time.” It’s fair. I deserve it, but I hate it.

And I want to change.

This morning, I read an article that gave me a glimpse into why I am always running 5-15 minutes behind. Reading the descriptions of the typical late person was like looking into a mirror.

Per a study by management consultant, Diane DeLonzor, “Late people tended to procrastinate more, demonstrated trouble with self-control (were more prone to habits such as overeating, drinking too much, gambling and impulse shopping), showed an affinity for thrill-seeking and displayed ADD-like symptoms-restlessness, trouble focusing and attention issues.” (Source.)

Uh… mmm-kay. I see several attributes I can claim as mine. But, I’m not really like this right? And then she hit me with the categories that late people fall into:

The Producer needs to get as much done in as little time as possible. She feels better about herself when she’s checking things off a massive to-do list. Producers tend to engage in “magical thinking,” consistently underestimating the amount of time their tasks will take. They hate wasting time, so they schedule themselves to make use of every minute of the day.”

Uh-oh. That’s me. That’s SO me, it’s embarrassing. The words ‘consistently underestimating the amount of time their tasks will take’ kind of cut me deep. Why’d she have to go there? Then, she goes on to say that just because I got to work in 12 minutes flat five years ago, does not mean it takes 12 minutes to get to work. And that texting I’m “five minutes behind!” does not mean I can squeeze in one more activity before I walk out of the door.

Ohmygoodness, lady! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!

I have been psycho-analyzed by a Yahoo article. I feel exposed. I feel like every person in the world who reads that article is going to think of me. They might as well have put my picture in it. Oh, the shame! The deep, deep shame.

Admitting it is half the battle, right? At least, it’s the first step.

What’s the second step?

The article ended with a list of things I can do to improve my late behavior. And now that I’m riddled with what feels like public humiliation, I am feeling pretty determined to get this issue under control and kick my ‘Producer’ personality (combined with a little of the Deadliner) to the curb.

In addition to her list (I’m going to buy her book, like, today), I’m wondering what you do to be on time? I’d love it if you’d share your get-there-five-minutes-early tricks in the comments below to help my sorry self. I’ll be sure to try them all!

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7 thoughts on “Sorry, I’m Late

  1. Sounds like an intelligent article……would love to read it myself. I’m not always late, but do wait to the last minute to be on time. A bit of a procrastinator is what I always called it! That “once I made it in 12 minute” remark struck home with me. I base most things on the minimal amount of time. If you can, please forward me the link……:)

  2. change your mindset. its polite to be early, and you wont stress, so consider yourself late if you wont arrive 15 minutes early, and over time you’ll adjust:)

  3. Sooo it took me 3 weeks to finish reading the Yahoo article as well as this blog post (which was linked by someone on twitter that day) because the anxiety I felt just READING about this problem was off the charts. I relate to everything you said. I hate that my punctuality is a well-worn joke with everyone I know. Hate it. And yet… I’m positive it takes me 9 minutes to get to work or my daughter’s school.
    Good luck with your efforts – I’m going to give it my all too.

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