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Updated on July 28, 2013

Have you ever heard that expression: “He' ll be late for his own funeral”? Some people just cannot be on time for anything! Believe me I know, I come from a family where being on time is considered “not fashionable”. They do it on purpose, to make "an entrance" everywhere they go. They actually enjoy being late, because everyone is waiting for them. For years, I was like that too, and it wasn't until I was “thrown” in life, that I started realizing that being late, is not a good thing at all.

Once I stepped out of my parents home, and I had to earn my living, everything changed for me. I wasn't “the daughter of so and so”, I was! I learned to make a name for myself, and to survive in this jungle called life.

My first close encounter with unpunctuality caused me a job, and it hurt me really bad. I was 30 minutes late, because I was too worried trying to look perfect for my interview. By the time I got there everyone was gone, and I went through the most embarrassing moment in my life, when the secretary told me: “Sorry honey, but you need to be on time, or you'll never get a job like this”.

I wanted to dig a hole on the ground and just jump in it!

But my chronic unpunctuality didn't stop there, I found out that not being on time was snatching all kind of opportunities from me, even relationships!

I read a book once Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged by Diana DeLonzor. One of the lines that got my full attention was: “Lateness is a surprisingly difficult thing to overcome, most of the chronically late have been late all of their lives. They’ve lost jobs and friends and yet they can’t seem to change.” It was like this author wrote her book based on my own life!

Being late for me was like a hereditary disease, a life pattern so hard to brake that became an obsession for me. I knew in the bottom of my heart that I had to change, but it was stronger than me. Even when I tried so hard to be on time, something would happen at the last minute, and I was late anyway!

Although some psychologists attribute this behavior to other causes including ADD, the truth is that unpunctuality is more a discipline problem, than anything else.

Not corrected this behavior will turn against your best interests creating around you, the typical reputation of someone who doesn't care about anything, pretty much ...a loser.

For some reason everything rotates around responsibility, and in order to be responsible we need to show it. Being on time is part of it, it tells that you are reliable, and that you do care about others. No question about it!


So how do you correct a lifetime behavior? Here are some steps, which might help you in this journey:

-First, you need to accept this problem as a reality in your life. Like the alcoholics, you have to be willing to change, otherwise, you never will.

-Write in a piece of paper, why do you think you are always late (traffic, too much time getting ready, forgetting things at home at the last minute, lack of planning, anxiety, lack of organization, no motivation, etc.)

- Once you have you list of excuses, write on the side what you can do to correct them, such as: leaving 15 minutes earlier, planning your route to your destination, organizing your TO DO list, or simply timing yourself while getting ready (15 minutes to take a shower, 10 for breakfast, 10 for getting your paper work ready, 5 to make sure you have everything you need, etc.) Set a time when you will be on your way, and check the weather report too, to see if you might have to leave a little bit earlier, to avoid traffic delays.

-Analyze your feelings to understand, why you take so long to get to your destination, or to meet that person waiting for you. Stress, insecurity, and rejection, are sometimes present in your mind when you go to an interview, or even to a date! Clear your mind of any negative thoughts, and think: “Everything is going to be all right”.

- Whatever it happens, do not change your schedule for that day, avoid calling friends or receiving unexpected visitors, when you know you have to be somewhere at certain time. Don't get distracted, and stick to your plan!.

-Don't overwhelm yourself either, planning too much for one day. Remember there is always a tomorrow. Especially if you have a job interview, don't schedule another event right after it, because you might have to stay longer if they decide to hire you. And if it is a date, leave your agenda open! You never know if you might want to stay longer than you thought with that person. Nothing ruins a potential relationship that saying: “I'm sorry, but I have to go now”.

-Get a good night sleep, and set up your alarm! If you go to bed thinking that you have to get up early the next morning, you probably will. In the other hand, if you just stay up all night long, relying on the fact that the alarm clock will wake you up, there is a very good chance that you won't even hear it, or that you, most likely, will slam the clock against the wall, when it finally sounds.

Unpunctuality can be corrected, that is a true statement! I did it, and so can you.

Being on time is rewarding from every point of view: Makes you look good because people considers you a reliable and responsible person, it gives you the opportunity to be noticed, and to talk to the other candidates to check out your competition too. It also allows you to have a brief conversation with the secretaries, so they will remember your name, and your file won't become just one more on the pile.

Finally, if you are into dating, take this in consideration: If you are always late, you are sending the wrong message to that person. You are telling him/her without words, that you are not really interested, and eventually they will dump you. So, be on time! And if the other person is the one being late all the time, believe me, you might be better off without this hassle.

Unpunctuality is a serious problem, and it is as old as the world itself, these are only a couple of thoughts from centuries ago:

Tardiness often robs us opportunity, and the dispatch of our forces”. Niccolo Machiavelli

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”.

William Shakespeare




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    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 4 years ago from Corona, California.

      Hi Lizzie, I know the feeling about people being late. Not me but some people I have known in my life. I am one of those just the opposite. I hate to be late, always have. Most of the time, if something does happen that I am going to be late for something, I would rather just NOT go. Good hub, good subject. Greg