Chances are, if you're reading this, you either suffer from this affliction or know someone who does. Okay, true confessions time. I'm late. I'm late a lot. I don't like it and I want to do something about it. That's the first step in the twelve step program, isn't it? Realizing that you have a problem...so, I figure it should apply to this behavioral aberration, too. I'm writing to ask for your help...Will you help to hold me accountable? I no longer want to be last to arrive for any event. I no longer want to be looking in the rear view mirror for the Christmas light bar on a police car behind me. I no longer want to be applying make-up or hoping the car air conditioner will finish drying my damp hair. It's just not fun to be late. It's not fun to know that you are keeping people you care about waiting. I've been working on being early for appointments with clients, now it's time to work on extending the same courtesy to the people closest to me...my friends and family.
This morning, on the Today Show, they featured a segment on being late. Well, I missed it (you're not surprised by that are you?) because I was writing a blog on something else I saw on the Today Show that I just had to share: Amazing Success Story - Great Britain's Newest Superstar.
So, I went up to the Today Show website and checked out what they had to say about this malady.
Dr. Gail Saltz,TODAYShow.com contributor says that for there's hope for the chronically late. She says the key is to know why we're tardy so we can make changes to be on time. She associates being chronically late as a personality type. Here are some of the "late-nik" characteristics she identified:
Risk-takers: These people are addicted to the thrill of leaving for their appointed destination only when they absolutely must. They don't mind taking the risk of being late, because they don't want to risk being early and waiting for others. This may be because deep-down they fear feeling rejected, if they wind up waiting for others.
Freedom-makers: Those who felt trapped by authority as children often grow up to be "late-niks," who use lateness to feel free. Their intense wish not to be controlled by others may be at the root of their lateness. Or they may have a rebellious nature that essentially tells others: "You will not tell me how to run my life and when I have to be somewhere."
Organization-slackers: Another reason someone may be late is poor organizational skills. They have difficulty planning out a realistic schedule and calculating how long each of their tasks will take and how long it will take them to get to their appointments on time. These people generally have poor organizational skills, though they may be very intelligent.
Trouble-avoiders: These people, unconsciously or even consciously, wish to avoid the people they are supposed to meet or the place where they are going. This may be the reason for their lateness. In these situations, lateness may be a form of passive-aggressive behavior. Since they're angry that they must go to an appointment, they make others wait for them. These late-niks may not even be aware of their anger.
Dr. Saltz's prescription for the chronically late:
1) Decide you really want to start being on time.
2) Figure out which "late-nik" personality you have.
3) Understand the underlying reasons why you are late.
4) Recognize your tendency to be tardy and tell yourself why you think you be late. (Some of the reasons you may hear in your head are: "I want to take a risk and leave at the last possible moment." "I don't want to be controlled, so I won't make an effort to be on time." "I constantly misjudge the amount of time needed to get tasks done, so I don't leave enough time to get to my appointments." "I would like to avoid the person I'm meeting, so that's why I'm late.")
5) Make a conscious decision to deal with your possible motivations for being late.
6) Make a concerted effort to be on time. Then, build an extra 15 minutes into your schedule. Bring a book, so you won't mind being early.
Dr. Gail Saltz's bottom line: Punctuality demonstrates a sense of responsibility. Being on time will impress others and make them feel valued.
Well there you have it, a 6 step program for the chronically late. Wow, we're already saving time...it's only half as many steps as a 12 step program!
Okay, I'm ready to begin. Hello, My name is Marlene and I am a late-nik. Well, it's a start---progress not perfection.