“We need to be on the road by 9:00 a.m.,” Rita reminded me. It was Father’s Day so we planned a trip to Southeast Kansas.
Grabbing a few extra minutes, we sat on the patio sipping Sumatra coffee. With our recent schedule we soaked up the moment.
The spring flowers danced pink, yellow, purple, and shades of green throughout our backyard paradise. Japanese Koi glided through the crystal clear water. The stream wandered and tumbled down the waterfall soothing the mind, body, and spirit. Perhaps you can appreciate why “running late” was so easy.
We prepared Sunday lunch – pulled pork, fresh beets, potatoes and carrots along with a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, and onion topped with mozzarella cheese – in honor of our dads. Dessert on the farm is a tradition, so Rita made gluten-free chocolate cupcakes; the only thing left was crowning them with a dip of Borden’s Home Style Vanilla ice cream.
Racing north on Highway 75 we enjoyed conversation, the scenery, and light traffic. I pushed our speed beyond the prescribed limit to make up for our lateness. We were 10-miles from our destination, about to show up on-time…
That car made a U-turn flashing red and blue lights. Immediately, I slowed to pull over and wait for his arrival.
I reflected on the story while we limped those last few miles to Independence…
- My first question: What’s he doing out here on Sunday morning?
- Who’s to blame here…?
“No one but myself; what a waste of money and time.”
- What happened, what’s the truth in the Story?
“I didn’t plan ahead. I didn’t leave on time to be on time, so I pushed the limits and it cost me.”
- What did it cost me?
Cash and unnecessary stress, and we were still late!
- Last but not least … what’s this about?
What’s Your Excuse for Not Being On-Time?
Diana Delonzor is a former “card-carrying member of the “Punctually Challenged.” She conducts research on tardiness and writes about it in her book, Never Be Late Again.
Here are seven different kinds of late people she has identified.
- The Deadliner – likes the adrenaline rush of pressure and the stress of the last minute
- The Producer – over-schedules the day thinking, “I can do ALL of this and still get there on time.”
- The Absent Minded Professor – traveling from point A to B includes multiple scenic turnouts of unimportant activities and distractions
- The Rebel – yep, they actually enjoy being late, knowing people are waiting for them
- The Rationalizer – blame it on external factors … the traffic
- The Indulger – lacks self-control; I just don’t feel like going
- The Evader – keeps trying to perfect something before leaving for the appointment
Reflection, not judgment
Chronic lateness is a habit, so let’s start here. If you’re serious about changing your behavior, take your journal and wrestle with these questions and the four stages of change:
What do you want? Why do you want to break the being late habit?
Review Delonzor’s list of drivers. As you think about your Story, what drives your behavior? What must change? How can you support your new habit?
Be prepared to go the distance, the old habit has history.
What will life be like once you have a breakthrough? When you have time to spare before your appointment?
Paying for Being Late
All my effort to make up for a late start disappeared while we sat waiting.
The Kansas State Trooper was a very nice man. But, he had a ticket to write.
Perhaps you know the conversation … there’s really nothing to do but be polite, smile, and say: “Yes, sir.” And yes, mail that check to the State of Kansas.
Here’s to preparing for your punctuality,
PS: Improving performance is what happens in Next Generation Leaders team-based coaching. If you’d like to see more details of how we develop self-managed teams and leaders, see the team-based coaching page.