While most of us think of ourselves as considerate people, there are some things we all do that we don’t realize are inconsiderate such as habitually running late.
Don’t fool yourself; chronically running late causes stress, and sometimes distress to others and is a process of habitually creating chaos and self-induced anxiety.
Dependability is crucial to keeping healthy relationships, because it is a form of doing what you say you are going to do, or keeping your word.
Example: You make a lunch date with a friend and then you arrive 20 minutes late. Your friend sits waiting in the café feeling confused because she thinks there was a miscommunication. Of course, when you arrive you apologize and make your excuses, but the next time you are late your friend feels begins to feel disrespected, and will begin to lose respect for you. This behavior slowly erodes your relationships.
Common excuses for punctuality disorder
- I don’t want to “interrupt the flow” of what is going on, such as a great conversation, in order to be somewhere else I need to be.
- I loathe arriving early and having “nothing to do.”
- I forget to plan how much time it takes to get somewhere.
- People really don’t mind if I’m late--only people with control issues, so it’s their problem.
- I misplace my keys or wallet daily.
- I chronically overbook myself.
- I am very spiritual and concerned with higher things.
What you may be unaware of...
You have probably lost friends and business over this issue and are not aware of it.
Running late can be a passive-aggressive way of controlling those around you.
If you cause your spouse to be late with you, you are embarrassing him/her by causing them to be late too.
You may have a fear of success and running late is a form of self-sabotage.
Techniques to break the habit
- Commit to arriving everywhere ten minutes early.
- Set all your clocks to the exact time. Don’t play games with the clock. (Has it helped so far?)
- Bring something interesting to read so while you wait you are happy.
- Use your wristwatch alarm to alert you when it is time to get ready to go.
- Stop at an ATM and also fill your gas tank on your way home so you never have to stop for gas or cash on your way to an appointment.
- Keep your wallet and keys in exactly the same place at home and at work.