Tag Archive: chronic lateness

Are You Always Late?

You might only be 5 minutes late, but late is late.  Period!  If you are among the punctually challenged, you’re not by yourself.  15-20% of people in the United States are challenged with getting from point A to point B on time and it affects all types of people.  Lateness is not limited to one set of people, workers or even levels of education.

What happens when you’re late?  Let’s say you’re 20 minutes late to a meeting.  Depending upon the role you play in the group that’s meeting, and whether or not those waiting on you have a good sense of how to handle meetings, the meeting may not start until after you get there.  Once you walk in 20 minutes late, there are usually the greetings, small talk and other things that take place instead of the meeting agenda.  That 20 minute delay then turns into a 30 minute delay and things at that point are way off track, ending with either the meeting agenda not being completely covered or with those in attendance leaving the meeting late, having a domino effect on their day and those around them. Not only does chronic tardiness affect others, it’s not all that great for your reputation and it can cost you greatly in the work environment.  It will do everything from annoy peers to causing the loss of a job because of tardiness.  It can also impact your self esteem and shows a lack of respect for others.

If you’re struggling with chronic lateness, and you’re ready for a solution, there are some things that have to come into play before you can change this negative habit you have to come to terms with it, give up your excuses and admit that you have a problem.  Realistically speaking, it’s going to take time to change your behavior.  At least 21 days.  That’s the amount of time they say it takes for the brain to engage in a new habit, but it can take a little longer.  You may start out excited and get off to a good start, but then at some point you crash and burn and start to go back to your old habits.  Give yourself time and be patient with yourself.  Create the right attitude; know what your priorities are and what’s important to you.  If you’re really serious about making the shift, punctuality and dependability should be at the top of your list.

Additionally, time management isn’t something that will help you get out of this bad habit because chronic lateness is not just caused by being disorganized.  There’s a payoff that you’re getting.  You might not think so, but somewhere in the mix, there is a way that you’re benefiting from your behavior.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t continue to do it.  Take a closer look to see what your payoff is.  It’s key to changing your behavior.

If chronic lateness is a challenge for you, join me live for my March Time & Space Radio broadcast, I’m Late, I’m Late.  It takes place on March 13th.  If you happen to be reading this after the fact, click the link to listen to the recording.  I’ll be sharing information on chronic lateness and its impact, motivations and habits, the real reasons for it, solutions and why time management won’t necessarily work.


If you’re someone who’s always late and are looking to break the habit, the very first thing that you have to do is to acknowledge that there is a problem.  This means getting real with yourself and wrapping your head around the fact that beneath the problem there are other things lurking.  You might have the attitude that there’s nothing wrong with being a few minutes late (forget the fact that you’re late for everything and impacting others in the process) or you might always rationalize your tardiness.  If you really want to make this change, the first step is changing your attitude about your chronic lateness.

If you find that you are late because you’re one of those people who likes the excitement of the last minute rush, it’s time to stop that madness.  Let go of the last minute rush and find something else that will stimulate or motivate you.  More importantly, look at why you create situations that give you that rush that you seem to be craving.

If you’re forgetting or missing appointments, forget details and you jump from one task before it’s complete to another, you’re easily sidetracked.  Start by getting focused.  for instance, instead of jumping into another task before you’ve finished the initial one, make it a point to focus on only the initial task until it’s done, then move on to the next.  Continue to practice maintaining your focus on one thing at a time.

Additionally, get organized!  Get those appointments and meetings that you’re late for or missing into a calendar that’s part of a time management system that fits your personality.  Add to your calendar the things that you do on a regular basis and group like activities into one block of time.  Plan what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it and prioritize your daily lists.

None of these solutions is a quick fix, they each take commitment and time.  You have to remember that it takes time and effort to get into new habits, not to mention patience and perseverance.  Determine what the best course of action is and get to work, allowing yourself the time it’s going to take to shift gears.

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