Even if you pride yourself on getting everywhere on time, there is a good chance you may be late more often than you care to admit. Even worse, perhaps you’ve already taken some measures to try to be on time more often, but found they haven’t worked as well as you’d hoped.
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As it turns out, there are some big reasons why lateness is a major problem in today’s society. Keep reading to get more details, and more importantly, how to fix the issue through simple but ongoing habits you may not have thought of yet.
Things Often Run Longer Than Expected
How many times have you entered a business meeting that was supposed to last a half-hour, but it really took up an hour or even more? There are many reasons why meetings and other scheduled events last longer than people plan for or hope. For example, some leaders don’t want to get things underway until all the attendees have arrived.
Also, if there are many things to be discussed, or the issues being brought up are quite controversial, conversations not only become heated, but lengthy. Business meetings can also suffer from technical issues like slideshow malfunctions or other media-related woes.
Also, having a question-and-answer time at the end of a meeting can really cause problems if the gathering needs to be a time-sensitive one. It’s always good to listen to feedback when possible, but it can be hard to keep things from getting out of hand.
Fun or casual meetings can also take place across longer stretches of time than originally anticipated. You may get stuck in traffic so that everything kicks off later than you wanted. Sometimes, if the meeting involves getting food or drinks, it’s possible that the ordered items will not arrive from the kitchen or bar promptly, or perhaps the gathering runs long when you discover your companions are really keen to order multiple courses or select dishes that may take a while to prepare.
How To Make Improvements
One way to avoid attending longer-than-expected business meetings is to be honest if you have other obligations that require you to leave the gatherings no later than certain, specified times. Meeting moderators can also be helpful in keeping things on track so people don’t get long-winded or become unwilling to keep things moving forward by addressing other topics.
In regard to social gatherings, try to pick up on cues about the people you are meeting, and plan your schedule accordingly. For example, if you are going on a first date with a person who has expressed interest in trying the four-course dinner menu at a new Italian place, that probably indicates the night won’t be a short one unless the date goes poorly.
Do what you can to create blocks of time in your schedule so you won’t feel rushed during the date, but also won’t have to rush to get there. That’s especially important if you’re traveling during periods that characteristically have heavy traffic.
Unwillingness To Make Necessary Changes
Most people are aware that they will not be on time more often if they don’t start doing things differently. However, problems often occur because people realize they aren’t motivated enough to make such changes.
Earlier, you learned how to try to build time into your schedule if you’re trying to get between events. Some people consider that their transition time but don’t really put much thought into actively improving their schedules.
The reason for that is that some people figure they’d prefer to be late from time to time rather than waking up 15 minutes earlier or leaving for work a half-hour before the usual time to cope with transit traffic.
Things That Might Help
If you find you’re similarly unmotivated to start adopting actionable strategies, think about the far-reaching effects that being late can have. For example, you may find your stomach gets upset because you’re not on time, or you might worry your career is in jeopardy if you’re consistently late to client meetings.
Then, see whether there are some relatively simple things you can do to reduce the chances you’re late. Maybe you’ll decide to take showers in the evenings rather than the mornings so you can sleep a little later.
Perhaps you’ve noticed you’re late because you slow down from boredom when doing things like drying your hair, packing lunch or gathering items for your briefcase. Although these tasks may not be the most exciting, they’re usually necessary.
With that in mind, do what you can to make things more interesting. That may mean listening to music as you go about business or using a Bluetooth headset to talk to a friend while you get things done.
Over time, you may discover you get faster at completing these tasks, so you’re at less of a risk of being late, but hardly making an effort. In turn, you then may feel more motivated to make other, larger moves meant to improve tardiness because you realize big changes can be made when you enforce minor differences in the way you get through life.
Having A Fear Of Disappointing Others
Some people find they’re late too often because they have difficulty declining offers of social activities that come from friends or colleagues. Before they know it, the whole week is full of dinners, coffee dates, cinema screenings and more.
All those obligations may make it more likely for a person to become late because they are simply trying to pack too many things into a span of time that’s much too short.
What You Can Try
Instead of automatically accepting every offer you get because you’re so concerned about others liking you, try to develop a more realistic perspective. Use some of the skills that have already been discussed to have a clearer understanding of the total time each obligation will take. Then, prioritize if needed. For example, you may prefer to hang out with a friend you haven’t seen in three years as opposed to someone you sit next to every day at work.
When you have to turn down offers of additions to your social life, always be as open as possible about your reasons. Furthermore, give as much notice as you can about not being able to attend something. If you need further justification about why it’s sometimes okay to decline things, calculate how much money it might cost if you were to go to every event you get an invitation to. The total will probably be enough to provide the wake-up call that’s needed.
Now that you’re aware of why lateness happens and how you can improve your ways, hopefully you feel better equipped to make positive changes. Remember, good habits take time to adopt, so don’t get prematurely discouraged.