I will be the first to admit that I am the friend that is always last to the dinner reservation, the student that barges into class minutes after it started, the one that is late no matter how important the event is. I constantly get yelled at by authority figures for being late and sometimes even by my own friends. In result of my issue of always being late I decided to look further into the reasons why i’m always late because no matter how hard I try, I still find myself being late.
The correct term for someone who is always late is a chronically late person. The word chronic makes lateness sound like a disease or something and that’s because health issues can be the result of certain individual’s lateness. Diana DeLonzer, the author of Never Be Late, conducted a study at San Francisco State University involving chronic lateness and found that of the two-hundred and twenty-five people in the study, seventeen percent of them were chronically late. The seventeen percent who were found to be chronically late, “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 like restlessness, trouble focusing and attention issues” (Schupak, Amanda). DeLonzer’s study results give a clear insight into the many factors that attribute into a person being chronically late. In addition to DeLonzer’s findings, Pauline Wallin a psychologist in Camp Hill, PA, has found that a major cause of lateness is anxiety. Similarly to Wallin’s conclusion, Psychologist Linda Sapadin, PhD, also agrees that anxiety can cause lateness, “There’s a fear factor in which people are anxious about going at all or about getting there too early and having nothing to do” (Sapadin, Linda). I can definitely see how anxiety could trigger lateness especially when considering if someone has low confidence they could be anxious to be seen by other people or just to be in public outside of the comfort of their own home.
After learning about the multitude of issues a person can have to cause their lateness I wanted to know how one would go about solving their issue of constantly being late. DeLonzer recommends looking deeper into the reasons one is late. In the image below DeLonzer lists and describes seven of the most common types of late people.
Identifying the causes of why one is late is the first step and it’s big one because it leads to discovering the underlying causes of one’s lateness. The causes can also help one uncover what type of late person they are from the list above. Once one is able to recognize themselves as a late person they can come to realize how much one underestimates how long a task will take to do. This is formally known as a Planning fallacy which is when one underestimates how long a task will take. Experts say that is said to be one of the most difficult behavioral patterns to change. A way to change this is by “Relearning to tell time”, a strategy developed by DeLonzer to improve one’s perception of time. Relearning to tell time is the first step in DeLonzer’s three step plan to overcome lateness. These three steps are listed and described in the image below.
If you are a person who is constantly late and wants to change your ways, don’t fret, there is clearly tons of ways to crush this bad habit. To all the other late people who see no hope for changing their ways this article about how late people are more optimistic may make you feel better about yourself. Lastly, Famous English Humorist Edward Verral Lucas did once say, “People who show up late for things are always so much more cheerful than the people who have to wait for them” (Lucas, Edward).