Why You're Always Running Late and How to Fix It

Are you choosing to be late? 

If you’re finding yourself continuously arriving literally 10 minutes late to your 8 a.m. psych class every day, believe it or not, you’re choosing to be late.  Some experts say that this has much to do with your personality type, which can fall into one of two different categories: the rebel and the “crisis-maker.”  Rebels are the types who are resisting and just don’t want to do what other people expect them to do.  The “crisis-makers” are those who need that burst of adrenaline to really get moving and find motivation by being under the gun.  Either way, if these psychological factors are making you late, try finding a different motivation to help you get out of the door on time.  Try challenging yourself to get to class (or wherever you have to go) one minute earlier than the day before until you can get there exactly on time.  If you can do it for a whole week, reward yourself with a small treat like getting a latte and croissant from your favorite bakery on Friday morning.

Do you have trouble saying ‘no’? 

Your roommate wants you to watch a YouTube video (which turns into three).  You think you can squeeze in one more load of laundry before you leave the house.  You just need to answer those last two e-mails that have been sitting in your inbox.  If this sounds like you, then you are not alone in having a problem with saying “no”, not only to others, but also to yourself.  You may be the best estimator when it comes to budgeting your time, but when someone asks you to do something that your schedule doesn’t allow, it’s okay to tell them (or yourself) the truth.  So the next time your friend wants you to proofread her thesis for the tenth time before you meet your roommate for lunch, have a few phrases on hand such as, “I’d love to, but I’m on deadline” or “I’ll be back in half an hour.  I’d be happy to look at it then.”  Even when you’re trying to squeeze in something for yourself (like doing one more load of whites), as much as you’d like to check it off your to-do list, just remind yourself that you can make time to do it when you return. "If you really want to beat this, the minute you think of squeezing in one more thing before you leave, just don't do it,” says Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management From the Inside Out.  “Stop yourself in your tracks, grab your bag and walk out the door."

Do you have anxiety? 

When you’re feeling particularly anxious about something, it’s only natural to procrastinate and avoid doing it.  Sure, you’re nervous about that bio final, but even if that’s the case, you don’t want to show up late for it because of your nerves.  According to Dr. Keith Ablow, psychiatrist and commentator for Fox News, “If people are on their way to something where they feel apprehensive or stressed, the mind’s circuitry often avoids the area of discomfort.”  As a result, you start to lose track of time and are consequently late. If you have a tendency to show up late for things that you’re feeling anxious or worried about, try taking preventative measures such as making time for relaxation before you have to head out the door (even if this just means allowing yourself enough time to get to your testing room a good 15 minutes early or enough time to buy a coffee to relax with beforehand).