Tardiness habit...any advice?


#1

So, I have a very bad habit of being late to pretty much everything. :blush: Usually it's only 4-5 minutes late, but sometimes it's more like 15-20 minutes, or more. Even when I lived at home I was late for school about half the time, I've been late for school and job interviews, as well as many other things. It feels like I'm always in a rush to get through the door barely on time. Most of this happens in the morning, and I admit I am just not a morning person, I hope to eventually find a job where I can wake up late, even if I have to get off work late too.

However, as of now, in the middle of medical training, obviously waking up early and being on time is important. Yes, I know people will say "but I have to wait 15-20 minutes to see my doctor, I thought that was okay for doctors to be late!" Well, it may be true for doctors in practice, but not in training.

I just don't know what to do. I've tried setting multiple alarms, but I keep thinking "oh I'll just snooze another couple of minutes". And sometimes I'm late not because I was sleeping, but because I was working on a task and I kept thinking "well I'll just write one more page", or I'll go out to lunch, do some window shopping, which turns into real shopping, and I wind up late because of that.

Can anyone give me advice? Other than, move to Italy (or some other country where lateness is socially acceptable)?


#2

On a soiritual level try praying for the intercession of Saint Benedict of Nursia - a quick read should tell you why- he was extremely disciplined.


#3

I wake up minutes before the alarm goes off. You do realize your conscience has a clock and knows things that you don't?

Train yourself like I have trained myself, and you will be there on time.


#4

Here is what I have learned about lateness.

I used to be a big time tardy rat. My husband follows Lombardi Time-- "if you aren't at least 15 minutes early, you're already late." Thankfully it's rubbing off, as I tend to get to things at least 5-10 minutes early.

Sometimes lateness is about avoidance. I noticed that when things were not so great at work, I would be late. When I dread going somewhere, I tended to be late. Now, I just show up a little early and get over the awful feelings.

Getting enough sleep is SOOO important! I've had friends give me a really hard time when I would go to bed in a timely manner because they wanted to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, whereas I needed to be at work. I currently work weekends and have to leave at least 35-40 minutes early if I intend to be on time within 5 minutes because of my commute. And I need to be out the door by 7:20 am. Which means the night before, I needed to be in bed by 10 pm. For some people this is too much and I just say "too bad." If I want to be late, I don't go to bed on time and I don't get out of bed until 7 am.

What I have noticed does NOT work is setting clocks ahead. It gives you a false perception of time and false security! I used to do that when I was younger and I always knew that I had "enough time" and would end up late anyway. So I just set the times a couple minutes early-- no more than 5 minutes if that-- and learned to do things the night before in order to accommodate. My husband doesn't understand it, but I will prepare things the night before so I am ready to just grab and go the next day. I personally do not like to take a lot of time getting ready, because that causes me to be late as well.

In my case I have just learned that I need to get the proper amount of sleep so I have enough time to get where I need to go in the morning. If I have to have my lunch, backpack, clothes, etc. ready the night before that's what I do as well.


#5

[quote="spunjalebi, post:4, topic:221181"]

Sometimes lateness is about avoidance. I noticed that when things were not so great at work, I would be late. When I dread going somewhere, I tended to be late. Now, I just show up a little early and get over the awful feelings..

[/quote]

Yes,Spunjalebi, this could be the problem some of us need think about. Could it be a sy
mptom of passive aggression?:hmmm: peace, Carlan


#6

It also can be attention deficit or some other problem that makes it hard for a person to realistically judge time. If it persists, might be worth trying a therapist to see if there is an underlying problem.


#7

Move to Miami; if you're less than 15 minutes late, people consider you early. :D

I used to have this problem, but I moved my clocks and watch forward by ten minutes and it works. Yes, that sounds silly, but I'm hardly ever late anymore.


#8

Try to think about the fact that what you are doing doesn't effect just you. It is rude to all those people who have to wait for you. Why is their time less valuable than yours? Or in the case of a class, you are a distraction to all the other students, who are paying attention until the door opens, and then all eyes are on you. It is disrespectful to teachers, bosses, coworkers friends and family.

It is a pet peeve of mine, as my in laws are ALWAYS 30-40 minutes late. There have been times when they have walked into a party or celebration and found that we are already seated and eating our meals. I refuse to let the food get cold because they are so rude. The kicker is, they live 20 minutes away, so if they are 40 minutes late, they left their house 20 minutes AFTER they were supposed to be here!!!

Anyway, back on topic, I would say, if you like to sleep in (and I am a sleep lover too!), make sure you set everything up at night -- have the coffee-maker set up, ready to push the button, have your lunch made, your clothes pressed, wash your hair the night before, etc etc. That way, you can leave yourself a few minutes extra to sleep. Setting your alarm too early isn't good - the more times you think you can press the snooze, the less likely you'll be to just get up. Perhaps a second alarm across the room, set for the latest possible REASONABLE time, so you have to get out of the bed to turn it off.

I admit, when I was in my 20's, I had a bit of a problem being slightly tardy (5-10 minutes late 1-2 times a week), but I had a boss who really set me straight. She did me a favor by saying right out, "If you can get here at 10 past 9, you can get here at 9. If you are 10 minutes late once a week, it means you are leaving your house 15 minutes too late every day. Even if it's only 1 out of 5 times that the traffic is heavier, you need to leave earlier EVERY day. Don't let people look at you and think you are a slacker, just because you want to stay in bed for 10 more lousy minutes!"


#9

This book I'm reading on organization (it's primarily space/stuff, but also includes a time-management chapter "Conquering the Clock") has some advice.

First: What's working? Is there anything that you are consistently on time for?

Second: What's not working? (what specifically are problems that arise from not being on time and/or overscheduled)

Third: What items are most essential for you?

Fourth: Why do you want to get organized?

Fifth: What's causing the problem?
Some of the common ones--"more stuff than storage space" (you're simply trying to fit more things in than you have time for), "need to retreat" (you're trying to distract yourself from something big and serious by being "too busy"), "conquistador of chaos" (getting a charge out of 'conquering the impossible' ... at least, when you do sorta :p ), "unclear goals and priorities".

There's a lot more on the how to organize once you get through that sort of thing, and I think the book is really good in terms of offering principles of organization that you then use to organize yourself according to the answers in those above 5 general questions to ask yourself (whether you're organizing your time or your stuff). The book is called Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern and she also has a book entitled Time Management from the Inside Out but I haven't read it and don't know if it's quite as good as the one I've got (I also got another of hers that, despite sounding like it'd be the perfect book for someone like me who is in the middle of major transitions proved to just not "resonate" for me and it's not that helpful, so I hesitate to recommend a title that I haven't personally read but perhaps you can hit up a bookstore or library and see if they've got copies on the shelves to page through).


#10

If the problem is waking up on time, try to go to bed earlier and do things to ensure you're getting "deep" sleep, like keeping the room dark and eliminating distractions. (I don't even like digital clocks with lit-up numbers.)

If the problem is general tardiness, my best advice is to plan on being to every appointment 30 minutes early (until you break yourself of the habit, then plan on 15 minutes early). I carry the book I'm reading everywhere I go so I'm never bored when I arrive early.

Regarding your future as a doctor--imagine how DELIGHTED your patients would be if you were the ONE doctor in the world who would actually be ON TIME! You would have patients for life, they would tell all their friends about how respectful you are of their time, and your patients would be in a better mood throughout the appointment.


#11

This sounds like an excellent book to me! I think I need to get it for myself :wink: Toe, if it’s any consolation, I tend to have the same “problem.” But like the above seems to show, “lateness” may be a common symptom, but the “disease” (cause) may not be the same for all people (like my medical reference? lol).

In my case I’m often early for class (something I enjoy) - but I recall loathing my last job and struggling to arrive on time. I know in my case, lateness is often the result of total DREAD on my part of having to face something I really don’t look forward to. One thing that would help, when dealing with something I really didn’t like doing but had to do (as in the job) would be to have SOMETHING to look forward to that I did associate it with. For instance, I really didn’t like my job at the time, but I love coffee :D…so I wouldn’t allow myself that coffee until I was up and out the door and THEN I’d get it, and be on my way and on time for work…because the desire for the coffee pushed me out the door. Sometimes I think these techniques work.

I also like this “shooting for 30 minutes early” idea…gonna have to try that myself…


#12

There's some really great advice in this thread.

What works for me is to think about and calendar in event starting times that are 15 minutes early.

More important than that, though, is the preparation others have written about. I think it's crucial to make preparation a priority. If you pick out clothing or do anything else at the last minute, it's one of the best ways to be late because "Things always take longer than people think they will." (I heard that quote in a movie. Cannot remember which one, but I think the line was spoken by a character played by Clint Eastwood, and it's always stuck with me because it's so true!)

Good luck with this!


#13

What is funny about this topic is that some cultures consider lateness a typical thing. There’s something called “CP Time.” Kudos if you know what that means:p


#14

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:1, topic:221181"]
So, I have a very bad habit of being late to pretty much everything.

. . .

Can anyone give me advice? Other than, move to Italy (or some other country where lateness is socially acceptable)?

[/quote]

you could move down here where lateness is almost expected, we don not run on CST or CDT, but on Valley Time

Like any habit the solution is first to find out why you do it--passive aggressiveness is one explanation that has been forwarded, a need to exert control over circumstances or to resist controls set by others--and deal with the issue.

The second step is to replace the bad habit with a good or at least neutral habit. Try making an effort to get places 20 minutes early (if you are usually 20 minutes late), that works with my DIL because we just tell her the event is scheduled an hour earlier (she missed her own graduation and was an hour late for her wedding.)


#15

[quote="spunjalebi, post:13, topic:221181"]
There's something called "CP Time." Kudos if you know what that means:p

[/quote]

I had to google this because I did not know what it means. Google says it means "colored people time." Is that really what you meant it to mean? Why on earth would you say something like this? Why would you say "kudos" to someone who is fully educated on racial stereotypes?


#16

[quote="Rosa_Centifolia, post:7, topic:221181"]
Move to Miami; if you're less than 15 minutes late, people consider you early. :D

I used to have this problem, but I moved my clocks and watch forward by ten minutes and it works. Yes, that sounds silly, but I'm hardly ever late anymore.

[/quote]

How very true - I used to live in South Florida and when I arrived in "military time" most other people's lack of promptness used to drive me bonkers but it taught me to relax and enjoy life.


#17

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:15, topic:221181"]
I had to google this because I did not know what it means. Google says it means "colored people time." Is that really what you meant it to mean? Why on earth would you say something like this? Why would you say "kudos" to someone who is fully educated on racial stereotypes?

[/quote]

Sorry you can't get a joke:rolleyes: For the record, there's a good reason why it's a stereotype because it's true, and I am speaking from experience.


#18

[quote="spunjalebi, post:17, topic:221181"]
Sorry you can't get a joke:rolleyes: For the record, there's a good reason why it's a stereotype because it's true, and I am speaking from experience.

[/quote]

Yep,Chui & Curry Catholic, we must be very,very careful in jumping to conclusions.:)Peace, Carlan


#19

You would think I would at least be allowed to poke fun of myself:shrug:


#20

Thanks for all the advice!

I think that a major reason is that I don't like to wait, myself. Now, I know I'm being a hypocrite, since I'm making others wait for me by being late. But, I get bored very easily just sitting around with nothing to do. So, I always aim to be exactly on time, not late but not early either. I guess that's the problem, even with the morning issue, if I set my alarm a little earlier and aim to be where I need to be ten to fifteen minutes early, then I would be early if everything went as planned, and if not, I'd be on time.

Augusta Sans, the problem with bringing a book to read while waiting, is that I actually really like to read, so I'd probably get caught up in the book and wind up late when it comes to actually starting to work, or try to secretly read the book if it's something like a conference or lecture...but maybe I should bring a boring textbook, or a catalog, or maybe a cookbook, something that I wouldn't mind interrupting to get to what I really need to be doing.

I think there are definitely also times when I am being passive-aggressive. Once, in senior year of high school I had an opportunity to do an independent research project, which I really didn't want to do, but my advisor thought it was a great idea. So I agreed to a meeting with the person who was offering the opportunity...yet was late enough that I knew that this would likely ensure I wouldn't get it.

Again, thanks!


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