Confessions of the Chronically Late---Fill In Appropriate Name Here!

Real Estate Agent with Village Real Estate Services, Inc.

 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, 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 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, 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'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.


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Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Marlene, this is good, lateniks are a misunderstood group. Good luck with your program!

Jun 21, 2007 06:53 AM #2
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

I'm one of those odd balls that is always early!  What's wrong with me? Okay, what's right with me?  Haha. I really can't remember being late for an appointment. If I was it was an extraordinary happening or something. If I have to travel downtown I allow for extra time...traffic...and still get there a half hour early. Is this an oddity?

Jun 21, 2007 06:53 AM #3
The Entire Team of Price & Company Professionals
Price & Company Realty - Myrtle Beach, SC
As a fellow late-nik myself, I completely understand the frustration.  I have made great strides in correcting this pattern of behavior in business, but am still working on the personal side.  It's great to know that I'm not alone.  Thanks for the post.
Jun 21, 2007 06:56 AM #4
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Wake Forest, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngs
We just started calling it via our last name which is Trombley plus time. So we say we are on Trombley time. Yes you are right about being late. I do not like it but it really does not bother my husband, he just says as we are driving down the highway would you please call and make up and excuse that you had something to do with real estate. OUCH.
Jun 21, 2007 06:56 AM #5
Ron Pickett
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury - Laguna Beach, CA
REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Laguna Beach
Great post Marlene.  I am usually on time, but, I would say when I am late, it's the Freedom-makers category that probably fits. 
Jun 21, 2007 07:04 AM #6
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Marlene,

Loved you post. I like what Vince Lomardi used to say, if you're only five minutes early, you're late.

Jun 21, 2007 07:16 AM #7
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

I go through stages.  I am obsessive about punctuality until I become overwhelmed.  Nothing seems to matter, then.  I think it is an organizational problem at the core.

One "category" they omitted is those of us with Superman complex or the serial overcommiters; I'd be one of them. 

Jun 21, 2007 07:38 AM #8
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE
A wonderful and informative post Marlene. I think I may be be the Organizational Slacker type though, At least there are days I swear I just can't get together. You are either 5 minutes early or you are 10 minutes late,
Jun 21, 2007 05:58 PM #9
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate

Todd - I agree.  It's the pits.  Fortunately, cell phones at least give you the opportunity to call ahead and explain the problem.  I need to work on "allowing" for normal traffic.

Silvia - Thank you for your encouragement.  Today, I had only one appointment and I was EARLY! I happily sat and got to read my book for a few minutes.

Sally - If being early is a fault, then being late must be a crime!  The only problem that could arise is if you're meeting a're going to have a wait.


Christopher - No you're not alone.  Something I'm most concerned about is treating my family and friends with the same respect as I give to my clients by being on time for them, too.  Sounds like we're working on some of the same issues.  Good luck, Christopher.

Susan - Ouch is right! 

Ron - Wow.  I never would have guessed that one.  Being a former Mariine, I thought discipline was just part of your character.  Hmmm, guess there's a little rebel in each of us.

Lynda - You are so good at always getting places on time.  Thanks for putting up with my old late-nik self and encouraging me in turning over this new leaf---again.

Brian - Superman Complex and Serial Overcommitters are two categories I had not heard of've just nailed my personality type with those titles.  Like you, somethimes I just get overwhelmed and  I get frazzled and show up for some commitments too early and others not at all...that's usually things I''m volunteering to do, not business appointments.  But it's clearly a functin of being over-whelmed due to overcommitment.  Darn, guess I'd better cancel that Superwoman costume I ordered on eBay.

William - Ah, yes.  The organizational slacker.  I can certainly relate to that as well.  I often forget to include the travel time in my schedule or undercalculate the travel time.  That can really make for a lot of added tension.  It's certainly interesting to understand the why so that you can be on guard for it isn't it?


Jun 21, 2007 06:34 PM #10
Kaye Thomas
Real Estate West - Manhattan Beach, CA
e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA

Reminds me of a guy I used to date.. he was always late so I'd tell him the arrival time was earlier.. I thought I was pretty clever  and he started to be good on time .. so I decided to give him the real time.. We had a wedding to go to and he he was very late .. so of course I was a bit out of sorts.. until he looked at me and said... but you always give me an extra half hour...

Late-niks are also very clever..

Jun 22, 2007 05:10 AM #11
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate
Oh Kaye - The operative words in your comment are "guy I used to date"---While that was probably not the single reason for no longer dating, I'll bet it was a contributing factor.  And, yes we late-niks are clever.  I've tried setting my clocks 15 minutes fast.  But, in my head, I  just recalculate the time to the correct why did I bother?  Late-niks can also be too clever for their own good!
Jun 22, 2007 05:23 AM #12
Bob Carney
Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales - Mc Henry, MD
Licensed MD/PA Real Estate Agent
Marlene, great post...I will wait for your Procrastinators-niks 12 step post... I am like Brian Brady..I am obsessed in being punctual... Tardiness is one of my pet peeves.  My good friend is always late when are going somewhere... We watched him one day and it was like he was looking for things to do before we walked out the door.  It was always just one more thing!!
Jun 22, 2007 06:24 AM #13
Rhonda Hay Rawlins
Glastonbury Home Staging - Glastonbury, CT
Where do I sign up Marlene? I would say that I have belonged to each group depending on that situation. In the last year I have had something confirmed about myself that I have suspected for a long time, I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I know that the correct term is ADHD I am not so much of an H. I fall under the highly distractibility category. We have a hard time judging time and either over estimate how much we can get done in a certain period of time or underestimate how long something actually takes to do! I work very hard at this and am much better than when I worked at a job I hated. I worked in a corporate setting for a long time and hated it, I could not sit and focus on detailed kind of work. I creative! Most ADDers are, so this staging life if perfect for me. The name attention deficit is really not accurate because we can hyper focus if something speaks to us or real interests us so finally I feel like I am in balance. Still fine tuning though! Thanks for bringing this issue up. Rhonda
Jun 22, 2007 06:50 AM #14
Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon
I have the opposite problem - I am always too early - but... my husband is always late - and so yes, I read this because of him.
Jun 22, 2007 07:08 AM #15
Katrina Madewell
Charles Rutenberg Rlty- More than 5,000 agents(813) 777-1196 - Tampa, FL
Tampa FL Homes for sale | Tampa Bay - (813) 777-1196
Marlene ~ we are always asked to bring DESSERT! smile....
Jun 22, 2007 10:08 AM #16
Ana Connell
G & C Properties - Burbank, CA
Burbank Real Estate Agent
Great post.....I'm getting much better about this!  I finally figured out that I try to fit too much into my time periods.
Jun 22, 2007 02:02 PM #17
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate

Bob - Thanks for sharing the story about you friend.  It helps reinforce how tardiness is perceived by those who sit and wait the late-niks.  I appreciate your candor.

Rhonda - Wow.  Glad to hear you have a good handle on the why.  That's a great step in the right direction.  And, dooing something you love will make a huge difference for you, too.  Thanks for sharing this.  I know your words will be of great encouragement to others who are still trying to figure it all out.

Thesa - Oh my.  How do you manage to balance that one?  One of must be deferring to the other a lot.

Katrina - It could me much worse.  When they start asking you to bring something totally non-essential or if when you arrive there's a duplicate, you've got real trouble!

Ana - Glad to hear you're working on this, too.  And your improvement gives me hope! 

Jun 22, 2007 05:32 PM #18
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

It always puzzles that a big factor (in our biz, at any rate) is never addressed in these things:  CLIENTS. 

How many times have you been ready to step out the door, on time to arrive at where-ever, when in walks another client ~without an appointment~ and that client insists s/he has to talk to you right that minute about some perceived crisis or another. 

The amount of time needed to just get that person out of your office and rescheduled for a better time can be enough to set your schedule on its ear.

Or how about the client that schedules to meet you at a property at 4:00 PM, and at 4:47 finally calls to tell you they are "running just a little late".  Do you tell the tardy client to take a flying leap?  Or do you call your 5:30 and tell them "we have a problem"?

Jun 23, 2007 03:18 AM #19
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate

Cheryl - I guess I've been very fortunate in having clients who are very prompt in keeping their appointments.  Rarely has anyone called me that they'd be late.  When I have received the call it was close to the time we were supposed to meet and they were legitimately delayed. Since I work mainly from home, I've not had the experience of having someone show up with a cirsis.  I think they way I'd handle it tis to to let them know I'm just on my way out for a schedluled appointment, and offer to call them from my car to listen to their concern.  Assuring them that if we had a scheduled appointment, they would want me to show them the same courtesy in keeping the appointment. 

Thanks for stopping by to read and comment Cheryl.

Jun 23, 2007 05:09 AM #20
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