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Why I’m Always Late and How to Fix This: Tales of the Chronically Late

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Lately, there has been a surge of articles promoting how people that are always late are <insert a positive trait here>.

 

Apparently, being late is now seen as a symbol of success, creativity, health etc.

 

Always late articles

I, for one, am someone that is always late, chronically late. Be it classes, work, or gatherings, you name it.

 

But I am not proud of this. And this is the main motivation of this article today.

 

This might be quite a deviation from the usual posts you might see from DGG Resume.

 

If you haven’t already read them, we also have:
Resume tips
Interview strategies
Networking tips

 

But I feel that this is definitely a topic that has to be addressed, both for me personally and other people that face similar troubles.

 

This is not only related to our careers, but it is important for our personal development as well.

 

This is the story of my lateness. Let’s start!

 

People with Over-optimism (towards punctuality)

Over-optimism towards punctuality  is a key reason why people always turn up late.

 

In some cases, over-optimism can be a good trait to have. It can help tide you over rough times and provide you with the motivation needed. But not in this case.

 

When we are over-optimistic, we might always look towards the best case scenario. But this is no excuse for lateness.

 

Take for instance, a typical work day:

 

Stages of lateness

I may have checked Google Maps and found that it takes 45 min from my house to work by public transport.

 

Thus, I try to leave 50 min earlier than the meeting time. I still give myself a 5 min buffer!

 

In the morning as I wake up, I might find myself tossing around in bed for an extra 5 min.

‘I have a 5 min buffer anyway, right!’

 

I might end up being delayed for another 2 min due to a slight stomachache.

‘No worries, Google Maps tend to overestimate the time taken, so I’ll be fine!’

 

As I reach the bus stop, I might just miss the bus I need to take. The next bus comes in 6 min.

‘Okay, now I might be a little late, but just by a bit! Who knows, the office time might be slightly slower too!’

 

It all adds up

This brings me to this next point.

 

When we find that we get slightly delayed we think ‘Oh a 2 minute delay is no big deal’.

 

And perhaps waiting a few min longer for the bus is alright.

 

But we can suddenly find ourselves being much later than expected!

 

Why is this so? This is because, it all adds up.

Every little delay might seem miniscule. However one small delay might lead to another activity being delayed, and they can all snowball into something much longer.

 

This is similar to what the Murphy’s law indicates: What can go wrong will go wrong.

 

Turning your clock early

So what can we do to mitigate this problem? Having tried different methods, this is my favorite:

 

Simply adjust your clock’s time 5-10 earlier than usual!

 

This method might sound too simplistic to be effective.

 

You might be thinking: ‘Won’t you already know that your clock is faster? How would it help?’

 

I believe that there is a psychological influence that is behind this.

 

As you adjust the clock’s time, you consciously know that you have adjusted it to become 5-10 minutes earlier.

 

However, as you check the time, subconsciously the time shown on the clock acts as an anchor that makes you believe that the time shown is the accurate one. As days go on, you might even forget that you have adjusted the time in the first place!

 

This adjustment creates a real buffer of 5-10 minutes for you. Instead of just trying to wake up 5 minutes early, your entire body clock is now 5 minutes early!

 

If all goes well, you can reach your destination earlier and get settled down.

In case of any small delays, you will still be punctual! Seems like a win-win to me!

 

The early bird gets the worm. Why not try to adjust our lifestyles to become the early bird?

 

This is the story of my lateness. Let’s hope it ends here!

 

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