Being late stresses me out, and it has always driven me crazy when others are late. My significant other is chronically late to the point that he has his own time called “Lotito time.” When we have an appointment, I have learned to tell him it starts 15 minutes prior to the actual time. The reasons he states for his tardiness include underestimating travel time and meeting durations and trying to get just one more task done before leaving. According to a recent article I read, these reasons are very common.
In my younger years I was never late for anything. However, in recent years, I have slipped a bit. It might be because my life is so much more hectic today than it was years ago (and that’s when I had three young kids and was working full-time!). It seems that now I’m constantly trying to squeeze more and more into my day. I often have back to back meetings. I am a planner by nature, so I try to anticipate travel or meeting delays, but sometimes too many meetings in a day run long.
For those of you that are constantly rushing around and arriving late to meetings or events, the following list from positivelypositive.com might help you to figure out why:
1. Are you sleeping in too late? If you are having a hard time waking up, consider an earlier bed time. If you are getting up too late, the rush begins as soon as you get up and you wind up playing catch up all day long. Try getting more rest and rising earlier so that you are starting your day off on time. I have to get up on time since there are just too many things that can go wrong with my morning. I live in a downtown area now so my car is only available by valet. What if he’s backed up? Or what if the garage lift is broken? I’m careful to build in extra time to account for any unexpected delays.
2. Do you find yourself always trying to get one more thing done? Maybe you need to check one more email or schedule one more appointment. Whatever it is, can it wait? What if you left early leaving enough time to do these tasks from your phone once you’ve arrived and have time to spare. I’d much rather arrive early and have time to spare, than be rushing in late.
3. Are you under-estimating your commute time? With all the Michigan construction I think we’ve all been guilty of this. Remember that your phone will estimate the commute time based on miles typically, not traffic. Although there some apps that will warn you of traffic or construction and suggest alternate routes, such as Waze. To be safe, always allow an extra 15-20 minutes to your estimated commute time. It will help you relax, and you’ll be more likely to arrive on time. My commute used to be just 12 minutes, but now that I’ve moved it’s around 35 minutes. I have to leave myself extra time, because if unexpected traffic or construction occurs, I don’t have as many alternate routes as I used to.
4. Are you always looking for your keys, phone, sunglasses, papers, etc.? – The easiest solution for this is to have an identified area in your home, office, or purse for these items. Be consistent in putting the items there every time and you’ll never be looking for them at the last minute. I’ll admit I’m slightly OCD when it comes to this. I have a place for everything so that I always know where it is. I’m the same way at both work and home. My desk is never messy. I honestly don’t understand how people work with messy desks. How do they find anything?
5. Do meetings tend to consistently run long? If this is a repetitive problem in your organization, look into what’s causing it. Is not enough time being scheduled? Is the meeting too often derailed by side conversations that are off-topic? Encourage written agendas and inform staff to stick to them. When I know I have back-to-back meeting I also inform the meeting leader at the beginning that I have a hard stop. This helps to encourage team members to keep the meeting on track. In addition, we require agendas for every meeting here at ASE. We include a time allotment for each item and identify a key person for that topic. We also identify whether it’s an informational, discussion, or tactical item. This helps immensely to keep our meetings on track and on time.
This serves as a good reminder of reasons one could be late and how to mitigate against them. Are you chronically late? Let me know strategies that have worked for you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.