Summary of Causes of Chronic Lateness



Chronically late people typically:

    • don’t plan or take a casual “grab bag” approach to planning.

    When it comes to estimating how long they will need, they are idealists who:

    • forget to budget time for one or more preparation and/or transit tasks;
    • never factor in common waits, delays and interruptions;
    • believe that they are more efficient than they really are;
    • fixate on their very best times;
    • and in some cases, make totally unrealistic underestimates that suit their needs and wants.

They may not plan carefully and may under-budget time because they are right-brain dominant creatives who:

    • rather than using left-brain based language and numbers to objectively and logically analyze the world, rely on right-brain networks of personal sensory and emotional associations;
    • like to be spontaneous;
    • think about situations by imagining them, which makes planning more tedious and makes them react more emotionally to the prospect of delays and lateness. This makes them even less analytical and may ultimately lead them to suppress memories of lateness.

They may under-budget time because they are:

    efficiency shouldists who rigidly believe that things should go like clockwork and that they themselves should always be perfectly efficient;
    task-value shouldists who believe that tasks that they consider less valuable should take less time to do; or
    mastery seekers who believe that they can find a way to make things work perfectly.




Some people knowingly risk lateness when they plan.

Waiting Avoiders risk lateness because they would sooner be late than wait.

Prioritizers consider other things to be more important than being exactly on time.

Sprinters look forward to beating the odds by arriving on time in spite of leaving at the last minute. Or they may have felt this in the past but now lack self-discipline.



Chronically late people may go off-plan due to:

Competing Motives:

Indulgers can’t say no to, and can’t let go of, pleasurable off-plan activities. They also find it difficult to curtail pleasurable on-plan tasks.

Achievers go off-plan because they look forward to completing off-plan tasks.

People Pleasers go off-track as a result of the negative feelings they feel when they consider not doing things that others want.

Sleepers’ morning fatigue makes them silence the alarm and go back to sleep.

Preparation Avoiders, Transit Avoiders and Destination Avoiders drag their feet when they think about what’s to come. They may decide to postpone departure.

Speeders overestimate how much time they can save by speeding up tasks.

Justers repeatedly delay getting on-plan by short increments of time.

Attention Problems:

Immersives’ attention becomes so tightly focused on what they are doing, that they forget about the time, the plan and the goal of being on time.

Flitters lose track of the time, plan and goal because they are easily distracted.

Drifters are late because their attention is difficult to engage. Only when they are almost certain to be late does the fear of lateness get them focused on preparation.



Consequence avoiders are only motivated to be on time in situations where they expect that there will be negative repercussions.

The Consequence Immune believe that there won’t be repercussions for lateness.

The Consequence Insensitive know that there will be repercussions for lateness but aren’t worried about them.

The Consequence Resigned don’t believe that they are capable of being on time or they expect failure and rejection even if they are on time, making the idea of trying to prevent lateness seem pointless.



Power Games:

Masters feel superior when they imagine others willingly waiting for them.

Top dogs feel dominant when they imagine others resenting their lateness but feeling powerless do anything about it.

Rebels lateness serves as an empowering demonstration of their independence.

Servants keep those in power waiting in order to make them feel as disempowered as they usually do.

Victims are motivated by anger at people who they feel have wronged them.

The Love-Entitled Tardy expect others to react to their lateness in a way that makes them feel valued and cared about.

Love-Testers are late to find out whether others care about them.

Attention Seekers find any attention to be better than being just another face in the crowd.

Instrumental Self-saboteurs use lateness to provoke consequences they want to happen but don’t want to take responsibility for.

Preemptive Self-saboteurs look forward to ending the fear of rejection by getting it over with. They feel empowered by taking matters into their own hands. They prefer being rejected for being late over being rejected for who they are.

Self-handicappers look forward to succeeding in spite of lateness. They also know that if they do happen to fail they can blame it on lateness.

Next: Becoming Punctual