The Connection Magazine The Connection Magazine | Page 16
CHRONICALLY L ATE
ARE YOU CHRONICALLY LATE?
UP ON TIME
BY: GRETCHEN RUBIN
MANY PEOPLE have the habit of
constantly running late — and they drive
themselves, and other people, crazy.
I have the opposite problem — I'm
pathologically early, and often arrive places
too soon. This is annoying, as well, but in a
different way. As I write this, I realize that I
assume that chronic earliness is very rare.
But maybe it's not. Are you chronically
In any event, more people seem bothered
by chronic lateness. Feeling as though
you’re always running 20 minutes behind
schedule is an unhappy feeling. Having to
rush, forgetting things in your haste, dealing
with annoyed people when you arrive…it’s
If you find yourself chronically late, what
steps can you take to be more prompt? That
depends on why you’re late. As my Eighth
Commandment holds, the first step is to
identify the problem — then you can see
more easily what you need to change.
There are many reasons you might be late,
but some are particularly common. Are you
1. You sleep too late?
If you’re so exhausted in the morning that
you sleep until the last possible moment,
it’s time to think about going to sleep earlier.
Many people don’t get enough sleep, and
sleep deprivation is a real drag on your
happiness and health. Try to turn off the light
sooner each night.
2. You try to get one last thing done?
Apparently, this is a common cause of
tardiness. If you always try to answer one
more email or put away one more load of
laundry before you leave, here’s a way to
outwit yourself: take a task that you can
do when you reach your destination and
leave early. Tell yourself that you need that
10 minutes on the other end to read those
brochures or check those figures.
3. You underestimate the
You may tell yourself it takes 20 minutes
to get to work, but if it actually takes 40
minutes, you’re going to be chronically late.
Have you exactly identified the time by
which you need to leave? That’s what worked
for me for getting my kids to school on time.
As I write about in Happier at Home, we have
a precise time that we’re supposed to leave,
so I know if we’re running late, and by how
4. You can’t find your keys/wallet
Nothing is more annoying than searching
for lost objects when you’re running late.
Designate a place in your house for your
key items, and put those things in that spot,
every time. I keep everything important in
my (extremely unfashionable) backpack, and
fortunately a backpack is big enough that it’s
always easy to find.
5. Other people in your house are
Your wife can’t find her phone, your son
can’t find his Spanish book, so you’re late.
As hard as it is to get yourself organized,
it’s even harder to help other people get
organized. Try setting up the “key things”
place in your house. Prod your children to get
their school stuff organized the night before
— and coax the outfit-changing types to
pick their outfits the night before, too. Get
lunches ready. Etc.