“Sorry, I’m late” How many times do we say this?
Let’s face it we all get late for various situations – To do tasks, attend meetings, make calls, send emails, dinner with friends, pay your bills or the best one late for your marriage or a date.
So how do you stop being late to everything?
According to this article being late at work ‘costs the economy £9 billion every year. More than half (56%) of all employees admit failing to attend meetings and other work events on time at least once a week, it claimed. That was in 2012, imagine the economics in today’s time. Almost a quarter of workers (23%) said they perform badly in meetings after arriving late, while nearly half (48%) said this adversely affected the performance of their colleagues.
Another puzzling theory is that being late has to do something with a specific country or culture and has its own bizarre reasons behind it. This infographic shows how countries value being late. How true it is and if it really happens we will leave that for you to judge & comment on.
Now coming back to the being late. We have categorised behavioural patterns.
Pick the one that you can relate to.
Timekeepers are just on time because they just hate being late or make people wait. This group might be the favourites as they plan and execute everything right in time. Timekeepers are organised, productive, efficient which makes them great at time and task management. Timekeepers are very well aware of the consequences for being late and how it impacts on personality, relationships, reputations, careers and finances.
Now we come to the interesting part. Latecomers term is not about being late to reach a premise or event, it’s also about being late to complete a task or activity. There are many genuine, unexpected circumstances that get us late, which are acceptable, but the problem starts when these reasons turn into silly excuses, that’s when it impacts not just you but every person, task that’s associated with you. What was the last reason or excuse you gave for being late? We won’t list those silly excuses because everyone knows them. Let’s understand the psychological and emotional reasons behind being late and how to overcome them.
Fear of Failure
You are working on a report, presentation, business case or doing any other task. There’s a thought bothering you all the time about what your client, manager, colleagues will say about the result or outcome will they appreciate or criticize. Sometimes too much attention to thinking put us in the wrong spot.You are stuck and unable to decide or take action. If you are spending too much time than required it keeps you occupied and creates anxiety or fear which eventually gets you late with the actual deadline. Being too hard or critical of your abilities doesn’t help. The first step being to be on time is to make sure you estimate enough time for the task, be generous in estimating and allocating time for your task i.e planning, creation, final touches. This timing trick can save you last minute stress, anxiety and unnecessary thinking helping you deliver exactly what you wanted just on time.
A procrastinator is a person who delays tasks, work, actions or activities that should be done in a timely manner. Delaying or postponing tasks, actions can put you and your projects at standstill increasing the time pressure, stress levels and chances of error. Procrastination varies from people, work, situations. It has been helpful to some people and in other cases it’s backfired. Strategic procrastination can work for some and not all. According to this article Bill Clinton, Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright, Victor Hugo, Margaret Atwood, Douglas Adams, Naomi Campbell, and Mariah Carey are all known for waiting until the last minute to do things. It worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else. If there is something not working out, take a break for sometime doing things that make you happy and get back to what you were doing with fresh new energy and perspective. It’s important to track time for procrastinating activities so that you don’t drift away and waste time. This will increase your chance of completing tasks on time without any delays.
Underestimating time for tasks always puts you behind schedule making you late again. This time because you could not estimate the time for a particular task. We all give deadlines to complete a task and when time’s up we realize we have eaten more than we can chew. If you realize you are not delivering on time on many occasions then start calculating time spent on those tasks at multiple instances. Find out which activity or action in a particular task is time consuming or difficult to do, it’s always helpful to do the easy part first and spend more time cracking the rest of the task. This is just one of the ways to not underestimate time. You can also apply Julie Morgenstern’s Four Ds approach to Delete, Delay, Diminish or Delegate tasks. There will be failures but you have to keep trying, tracking and improving your attempts just like athletes.
Share your experiences on how you started being late or on time?