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Are you habitually tardy?

There are two kinds of people, those who are usually on time and those who are usually late. When you know someone well, you get used to their conception of time and most often accept it. But waiting for your appointment to arrive while your day is already packed, is just a nuisance.

“According to  this  survey conducted in 2006, 15 to 20 percent of Americans are consistently late. Crunch those numbers, and they add up to nearly $90 billion lost in economic productivity. When dealing with dramatic numbers like that, people have an incentive to fix them. The first question, then, is what type of people are late? Evidently, a lot of it has to do with our own internal clocks.”

Multitasking causes tardiness

Another study performed by Conte looked into reasons why people could be late, taking multitasking as one of many reason. This confirmed the initial thoughts; that people who multitask are often tardy. Again, proving that multitasking is actually never a good idea.

The difference between the tardy and the punctual

Ron Helpman, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist who specialises in late behavior: “There’s no single cause. Chronic lateness is a kind of end-product phenomena. People can have very different sorts of motives and patterns that lead them to be chronically late.”

Reasons why people are late can differ. If someone’s a people pleaser, they may often find it hard to tell their conversation partner that they have to go to another appointment. Someone may be late because they had a rough night due to various reasons and just couldn’t get up. Then there are also the chronic idealists; the people who always assume that they’re  going to be perfectly efficient. Forgetting to factor in the time to walk to the elevator/stairs, parking the car/bike or looking up the address before they go.

No one seems to be late on purpose

The only thing that we can derive from the different types of latecomers, is that they don’t do it on purpose, it just happens. It is, almost never, because they value their own time more important than yours. The habitual tardy people often find their own behaviour as annoying as you do. “They feel misunderstood by people and mischaracterised, then they become resentful of other people,” Helpman says. This can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, as in “you expect me to be late, then I’ll be late.”

Not one solution

As described, there is not one single cause for tardiness, which means that there’s not one single solution. What might help you: “If you are constantly late, you have to figure out why. If it’s distractions, remove them. If it’s being overly polite, toughen up. If it’s optimism, take a cold, hard look at how the world really runs. It’s a person-by-person problem, without a universal remedy.” Helpman says.

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