lateness tardiness
Health,  Mindfulness,  Self Development,  self-care

Time-Challenged People and Lateness: What’s the Story?

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This is the first part of a series on Time Auditing Your Life.

Lateness is an issue that can negatively affect your education, your relationships, and even your career. Being tardy poses big problems at the office, where you risk missing out on money, breeding resentment amongst coworkers, and perhaps even jeopardizing your job security.

Not to mention, tardiness lowers productivity and puts a financial burden on businesses as well as society overall.

Here’s an example of how:

You’re running late. If you’re the type who’s never late—just play along, for now, you can pretend that you’ve stepped into the shoes of a proverbial procrastinator just for today. So, you’re running late again. By the time you rush out the door, you are already shifting your car into reverse before putting on your seatbelt. You hope there are no cars coming down your road. If there are, you are waiting, ready to blast out in a mad rush toward your destination.

Your driving style is less than ideal as you have exactly as many minutes as it takes to get there until you’re due at the office. Even though you know how to get there, you put the address in your GPS, hoping to see if there are any unexpected travel conditions on your route. And then, just as you are about to take your first sip of coffee, you see the red glow of brake lights spreading out in front of you.

There is a huge traffic jam and you will be completely absolutely and utterly late for work today. Some days, you make it in by the skin of your teeth, but on days like this, you are late.

Why? …Because you didn’t leave any room for error.

What Is Lateness?

Lateness may have a multitude of causes but commonly occurs because you’ve waited until the last minute – aka procrastinated. Maybe you have even underestimated how long it takes to get ready or you’ve added a couple more things to your already full plate (they just couldn’t wait until later).

Some people forget to add in time to transition. For example, the time that it takes to get from your house into your car, from your car to your destination, or the time it may take to warm up or clear your car of snow in the winter.

The department of transportation encourages all travelers to give themselves an extra 5 minutes when taking to the road. Take 5, stay alive is the initiative that gives people room for life to happen with no added stress or rushing necessary.

Another caveat of lateness is that research shows the meaning varies. Surprisingly enough, people’s viewpoints on tardiness vary.

For example, some people think that walking in after the start time counts as being late. Whereas others believe in a certain grace period of about 5 minutes for people to enter. Others consider facilitators’ unpreparedness as lateness. (Teamstage, 2022).

What About Early People?

So now that we understand the factors surrounding lateness, let’s explore the qualities of people who are on time or early. Being on time is actually quite challenging to do. You are trying to control every factor leading up to the probability that you will arrive somewhere or start something within a 60-second time frame. Hence, this is why some people are early.

Arriving somewhere between its start time and 15 minutes prior to that time will give you a good window to allot for ‘life happens’ factors.

The Perks of being early include:

Not having to rush. Rushing increases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which accumulate in the bloodstream over time. When these stress hormones remain active, they can lead to negative health effects. These include high blood pressure and heart disease, retained fat, hormonal imbalances, as well as strain on the nervous and digestive systems.

Respecting your and other people’s time. When we are on time or early, it sends the message that what we are doing is important. We show up for our planned activity with enthusiasm, if not at least a sense of responsibility.

Gaining extra free time. When you arrive early, you give yourself the added bonus of found time. You can use these minutes to do whatever it is your heart desires. Perhaps this frees up some possibilities for you, like listening to your favorite song, calling a friend, or stopping for that special cup of coffee.

Expecting the unexpected. You never know what’s going to happen when you arrive early somewhere, but it usually will be something good. For example, you may get moved into the earlier appointment window and be on your way sooner, or meet someone interesting whom you wouldn’t have otherwise had time for a conversation with.

Think about the last time you were early, and what fun, yet unexpected, things happened.


Teamstage. (2022). Meeting Statistics: Effectiveness, Virtual Conferencing, and More in 2022. Retrieved from

Loving Life — The Reboot!


Time-Challenged People and Lateness: What\'s the Story?

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