Occupational Therapist

Hello, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late

“I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.
No time to say hello, good-bye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late
I’m late and when I wave, I lose the time I save.
My fuzzy ears and whiskers took me too much time to shave.
I run and then I hop, hop, hop, I wish that I could fly.
There’s danger if I dare to stop and here’s a reason why:
I’m over-due, I’m in a rabbit stew. Can’t even say good-bye,
Hello, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”
– Alice and Wonderland

Punctuality has never been my strong suit. I am always running late. I’d like to blame my mother (sorry, mom!) who was also always running late, but at this point in my life I think I only have myself to blame. However, I don’t want to be late all the time and have tried many strategies including setting my watch and car clock 10 minutes fast, and setting 3 different alarms to ensure I get up in time. Somehow though, I still end up being late.

A typical morning for me proceeds as follows:
  • Alarm goes off at 7.20 – I really need to be up at 7.30 but I give myself 10 minutes to slowly wake up) 
  • I actually get up at 7.45 – after snoozing the alarm 2 times and then lying in bed searching social media for 15 minutes
  • Now I am running behind. Cue the hectic rush period. I usually only need 15 minutes for make-up and dressing (as I shower at night) and then about 15 minutes to make lunch and get ready for work. 
  • Bringing me to 8.15 which is when I should leave the house to be at work by 8.30 – barring absolutely no traffic or red lights…
  • Somehow I always forget to do something such as letting the dog out, doing a few dishes, or the time it takes to defrost the car and that brings me to 8.30
  • Now I am running late…
As you can see I am fully aware of what I need to do. Set my alarm to 6.45 or 7.00 or prepare some of these tasks the night before, but it won’t happen. When I try to set my alarm to 7.00, I just end up snoozing it to 7.30, rationalizing that I am exhausted and I still have 30 minutes to get up and then the cycle continues..

I went to the google machine before writing this post and determined that people who are chronically late actually have certain personalities. Diana DeLonzor wrote a book called, “Never Be Late Again: 7 cures for the Punctually Challenged” She classified seven different personality types of people who are chronically late. Most people have a combination of the seven types. 
  1. The Deadliner: These people enjoy the rush. They either crave stimulation or rushing is a way of distracting them from boredom. They are unable to accomplish tasks without a looming deadline. 
  2. The Rationalizer: These people have difficulty owning up to their responsibility and blame external factors such as traffic, kids or busy schedules. 
  3. The Indulger: They have difficulty with self-motivation. The tend to procrastinate and lack self-discipline.
  4. The Producer: These people try to get as much done in as little time as possible. They underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete tasks. They don’t like to waste time and time their arrivals to the minute. 
  5. The Rebel: They feel the need to break rules, compete for power, resist authority and attempt to be unique.
  6. The Absent-minded Professor: These people are easily distracted, they have difficulty staying focused on the task at hand.  
  7. The Evader: These people have lower self-esteem and need to control their environments as a result to decrease their anxiety.
I can relate to the feelings of “The Deadliner,” I am not going to jump out of bed at 6.30 if I know I still have 2 hours before work; “The Absent-minded Professor,” I am often heading out the door before remembering to turn the heat down, or grab my lunch bag; “The Producer,” I illogically believe that I can straighten my hair, finish the dishes, pack my bags and take care of the dog in 20 minutes; and “The Rationalizer” traffic is always bad (no but seriously!). So what do I do? How do you stay on time? What are some of your tricks?

This article offers a few recommendations including:
  • reevaluating how long your routines “actually” take – straightening my hair alone takes 20 minutes!
  • remembering why it’s important to be on time – I have time to eat my yogurt before seeing my patients, and it’s more professional
  • learning to enjoy doing nothing with your time – This one I don’t need much practice with…
  • being able to stop budgeting your time to the minute – My alarm is set to 7.20, I should just make it 7 am
  • adding “buffer” time for the unexpected – Like being stuck behind a snow plow and school bus
  • re-scheduling your day knowing you will not be able to get it all done – The dishes can wait and I probably don’t need to make the bed when i’m already 10 minutes late..

I am going to try a few of these suggestions and see how it goes! But for now I have to run, because I am running late…


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