We all know that one friend who is always late, no matter what! They’ll still be late even if they are completely free hours before a meeting.
I have been this person, and I know my friends have been complaining a lot.
However, after I met others who are ‘latebugs’ themselves I realized how frustrating it can be for the people who are waiting.
But I know that these individuals are not intentionally late to irritate others. So why are some individual always late?
This the psychology behind people who are always late:
According to psychologists, this characteristic comes as a result of 3 personality traits. The problem is one, or a mix of these 3!
1. Too Much Multitasking
They are juggling with too much things all at once and this prevents them from being aware of the time. According to a study, multitasking makes it harder for someone to have metacognition (the awareness of your own thought processes).
Without metacognition it is much harder to become aware of the time and whether or not you will be late.
2. Mistuned Internal Clock
Chronic lateness mostly occurs in individuals who don’t have reliable inner clocks. They are not very good in something called Time-Based Prospective Memory, which is a function of memory triggered by a time cue (like watching a TV show at 9pm).
These individuals don’t have that inner alert that it’s time for something they need to do.
3. “Type B” Personality
These people are the “laid back type”. They underestimate the passing of time. These individuals can’t be very accurate in telling the right time without looking at the clock and sometimes they have wrong assumptions (they think only 5 minutes have passed while in reality 15 minutes have passed).
Type B individuals always assume less time has passed than it did when trying to measure out a minute on their own and that’s why they are often late.
What can you do if you are the one who is always late?
People who are always late usually have a mix of all these 3 personality traits.
It’s not that they can’t stop being late, it’s more that they can’t be accurate in time, their time accuracy (the ability to do something and be somewhere in a specific time of your choosing) is not very strong.
They can be really early as much as they can be late, but because being early demands a little more effort considering the factor of time passing on its own, they are late.
Their character is built in a way that it’s hard for them to be accurate in time.
However, there are things that can be done to strengthen your time accuracy. This is what helped me:
1. Reduce multitasking;
2. Watch the seconds pass of 1 minute every day;
3. Do something every day at the exact time;
4. Check time more often;
5. Practice mindfulness;
6. Try to be early when you need to meet with someone;
7. Respect others and their time, see that making them wait is wasting their time and energy;
8. Don’t overschedule your day;
9. Use triggers to inform you about the time and whether there is something you need to do;
Source: Huffington Post;