How to Perfect your Punctuality
25th February 2014
“I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!”
So said the White Rabbit, and millions of people around the world.
With more and more things battling for our precious time it’s no wonder one in five people in a US study admitted to being chronically late. But with 24 usable hours in each and every day, not to mention a whole world of gadgetry at our fingertips, is “sorry, I’m running late” still a valid excuse?
The research, carried out at San Francisco State University, was led by Diana DeLonzor, and she says lateness is not a sign that time is not valued, but is related to personality characteristics. Interestingly, she suggests that anxiety about lateness or a thrill-seeking nature of cutting it fine determine whether we are punctual people or hurried humans.
“Some people are drawn to the adrenaline rush of that last-minute sprint to the finish line, while others receive an ego boost from over-scheduling and filling each moment with activity,” Ms DeLonzor explains.
Having investigated chronic lateness through research studies and personal interviews with both late and timely people, Ms DeLonzor put pen to paper for her latest book Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged.
In it she explains that our relationship with time starts at an early age and becomes ingrained.
“Looking back, you were probably late or early all of your life – its part physiological and part psychological,” the author writes. “Most chronically late people truly dislike being late, but it’s a surprisingly difficult habit to overcome.”
Her advice? Try to emulate the top traits that those who are punctual often display.
Late people are “magical thinkers” – if they once did a journey in 20 minutes they forget that most of the time it takes 30 minutes. Timely people are more realistic about how long it will take.
Test your sense of time by writing down how long you think it takes you to shower, dress and eat breakfast in the morning, then track the actual time spent on these activities each day for a week. You may be surprised.
Add in a buffer
Punctual people are, in fact, usually early. They know that being late will stress them out so they add in some leeway in case of delays, and often arrive ahead of time.
Always aim to be somewhere 10 or 15 minutes before you actually need to be. Something as simple as waiting for the traffic lights to change at several junctions in a row can slow you down.
Organise your life
There are many we things we do automatically, day in and day out, and this structure is key to keeping good time. You know that you have to brush your teeth, have a coffee, check Twitter and so on in the morning and you factor in time for these activities without thinking about it.
Carry over this habit into other areas of your life by planning ahead and giving your days a clearer structure.
Date: 25th February 2014 | Category: Productivity