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

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always-late-header

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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4 Personal Takeaways From My First Internship

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Internships.

To some, they might be a necessary rite of passage to fill up their resumes for better job prospects.

To others, they are a good way to gain some valuable working experience in their ideal industries.

 

But not all internships are made equal.

It can range from being dreadful (see: photocopying documents, making coffee), to meaningful (see: leading projects, learning skills), and somewhere in between.

This can also be illustrated by the Internship Experience Spectrum:

 

the internship experience spectrum

 

Today, I will be providing glimpses of my first internship experience.

While doing so, I will share some of my personal takeaways from it. Hope this inspires some good old memories of your first internship as well!

 

Some background information: I did my first internship when I was about 22 years old, in a small events management firm. My main responsibilities were to assist with event planning and execution.

 

1. Importance of Training and Development

 

When I first joined the company, I expected to immediately start getting down to work and learning on the job.

 

Instead, we had the whole of our first week dedicated to learning events-related skills and information, such as the process of planning and executing an event, the people and logistics needed etc.

We were also given novel quizzes to complete.  We had to find the answers by consulting with different staff members from various teams of the company.

 

This training equipped us with relevant and necessary knowledge needed to better perform in our internships.

 

This also helped us to better understand the company and the industry, and more importantly, helped us break the ice with our fellow colleagues as well.

 

As a first-time intern, this emphasis on training and development was much needed.  I also appreciated being given opportunities to learn from the start, and not being thrown into the fire right away.

 

 

2. Strong Team and Organisational Culture

 

On my first day of work, I dressed in my best office working attire, trying to leave a good impression on my colleagues.

Little did I expect my outfit to make me feel out of place.

 

good impression

 

Everyone in the office dressed casually: some in T-shirts and jeans, while others had their outfits matching their own personal sense of style.

This was perhaps a reflection of the company culture.

 

The company had a very casual and easy-going kind of culture. Many of us interns sought to learn and grow, while the colleagues were very willing to impart their knowledge.

There was little sense of hierarchy, with everyone sitting around each other in one big office space.

 

I found that this was absolutely essential, especially in a company doing events management. Colleagues often had to work together to ensure smooth running of events.

 

A strong team culture can only help to make things easier for everyone.

 

 

3. Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

 

Throughout the internship, I was getting my hands dirty and was involved knee-deep in many of the events we organised.

 

Some of the most memorable ones include:

  • Leading team-building activities to participants at least 10 years older than me
  • Climbing on tall ladders to tie banners to tentages
  • Sleeping over at an event site to safeguard the event logistics

 

These were things that I would have never even dreamt of doing before this internship.

 

Aside from the above, the internship also granted me with great autonomy in the planning of many events.

I was also involved in pitching ideas, giving briefings, as well as planning and executing critical processes for different event.

 

These additional responsibilities, big and small, definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone and made me more confident in my own abilities.

 

 

4. Giving Your All In Everything You Do

 

One of the biggest revelations from my first internship was this:

 

revelation

 

In school, what’s the worst that could happen when you screw up a class?

You would do badly and maybe fail the test, but life goes on, no big deal. You know that the difference between a pass and a fail is maybe some scolding and nagging from your parents, and perhaps just some extra classes.

 

But in my first internship, what’s the worst that could happen if you screw up an event?

Consider this: Tens of thousands of the clients’ money is at stake. The participation of the many different stakeholders at the event is at stake. The company’s hard-earned brand image and reputation is at stake.

 

So, REALLY BAD things could happen.

It was truly Do or Die.

 

The stakes were high. I truly had to give it my all and make the events successful, no matter what.

Be it running errands late at night, working overtime or long hours, these were all necessary to ensure that all events ran smoothly and successfully.

 

Giving my 100% was no longer an option, but a necessity.

 

This attitude I learned also had a positive impact on me in my other endeavors after the internship.

 

 

As you might have realized, the lessons I’ve gained in my first internship were in the most intangible form: organizational culture, self-development and more.

 

Yet these intangible lessons learnt tend to also turn out to be the most valuable lessons in life.

 

The internship equipped me with valuable experiences, to become a better leader and a stronger person.

 

Hopefully this blogpost has inspired you to reflect on your past internship(s) and work experience(s) as well.

You too can discover your own learning points and takeaways!

 

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