I have a confession: I am always the late person, who is currently in the process of recovery from this chronic disorder, yet still managing to get to work late today and to my embarrassment, repeatedly missing the deadline for submitting this very article. I wish I could tell you this was some writing technique us wordsmiths have adopted, but sadly, no. It is not.
Thankfully though, I know I’m not the only one. We all have that one friend whom we always make sure is informed of a false earlier appointment to make sure they get there on time. Despite how irritating this habit is, I realized that recovery starts with accepting myself and stopping self-blame. However, accepting yourself doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make room for improvement, which in this case, are developing a trait of being timely and reliable, and defeating procrastination. In the process of self-acceptance, I explored the true skin of late-comers, punctually challenged or ‘chronically late insane people’ as called by TED speaker Tim Urban in 2015.
They are not lazy, selfish or rude
It is easy to perceive late people as chaotic, disorganized and sometimes rude, but the claim is not always valid. Many late people are organized and want to keep friends, family, and bosses happy. The punctually-challenged are ashamed of the damage their lateness could do to their relationships, reputations, careers and finances.
They are positive, creative, and multitaskers
The punctually-challenged people have a kind of disconnected sense of time. This is linked to optimism, innovation, and a tendency to multitask both at home and at the office. All of which are, non-arguably positive traits.
They are Type B
Type B personalities, are not as competitive and organized as Type A, but they are more creative, reflective and exploratory. Personality differences could also dictate how we experience the passing of time. An actual social experiment took place to prove that Type B experiences time on a slower rate. They were asked to judge how long it took for a minute to pass, without a clock. Type A estimated that a minute passed in 58 seconds, while Type B assumed it did after 77 seconds. Though seemingly minimal, those 18 seconds can really add up.
They are leaders, entrepreneurs, and visionaries
Being the optimists that they are, they believe they have more time on their hands than they actually do, causing them to move in a somewhat laid-back manner through life. The planning fallacy, the theory often used by psychologists to explain chronic lateness. This theory explains that those people always underestimate how long a task takes, leading them to a life of lateness. However, the positive take on this habit is that they are able to look at the bigger picture rather than the details of everyday life. And this is what leaders, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, artists, and visionaries are meant to do.
Our optimism shouldn’t excuse us from our tardy lifestyles, but we can use it to be nicer to ourselves. You cannot predict the unexpected, but you can prepare for it.