Discover the Real Reasons Why You Are Perpetually Late and How to Fix Them

We all experienced those bad days, when you get a flat tire right before an important meeting. You finally show up, wide-eyed and out of breath, and as you apologize for your tardiness, you realize that you forgot your presentation documents on the kitchen table and your mobile phone is out of battery.

Being late can happen to all of us. After all, life is full of unforeseen events and, sometimes, you just have to get through the bad days. 

However, for some people, being late is a habit. Whether they mean to or not, all events point to one constant: they are chronically late.  

If you are one of those people who cannot seem to get to their appointments on time, no matter what, read on. This habit can be much more harmful than it appears.

Why Being Perpetually Late Is More Harmful Than You Think

In addition to appearing wildly unprofessional and disorganized, being late generally makes the people waiting feel disrespected. Punctual people also tend to categorize latecomers as self-centered or even passive-aggressive; not the best way to appear in a professional context. 

Beside the poor professional appearance, being chronically late can also have unhealthy psychological effects on the person, including anxiety, high levels of stress, low self-confidence (since they feel like they need to make up for being late all the time) and ambivalence about the future. 

So, if tardiness can cause so many negative effects, why do some people continue to be consistently late? 

2 Main Reasons Why You Are Consistently Late and How to Fix Them

#1 You Are Too Busy Multitasking

If you are filling up your schedule with multiple series of tasks, you are a multitasker. The problem with multitasking is that, when tasks pile up, it becomes difficult to organize your priorities and stay productive. This results in a loss of control over your time and abilities. Soon, the weight of your commitments becomes difficult to bear, and, as a result, you tend to be late everywhere you go.


Stop multitasking! Instead, learn how to prioritize high-return activities and eliminate time-wasters. While you are completing an important task, give it your full attention and then move on to the next. By accomplishing your high-priority tasks, you will regain much more control over your schedule and have time to be on time!

#2 You Fail to Accurately Predict How Long It Takes to Get Things Done

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We all have that friend who leaves the house 15 minutes before their appointment, even though it takes 25 minutes to get there. 

It’s not so much because this type of late person is unable to read time. It’s just that they are too optimistic in their estimate of how long it will take to get from point A to point B. People with poor planning skills fail to take past experiences into account and forget to anticipate external factors such as traffic patterns or weather conditions in the equation.

This inability to plan accordingly does not only apply to their commute time, but often carries into other aspects of their personal and professional lives, turning them into chronic latecomers.


Consciously control your workload and commitments by learning how to predict task completion times appropriately. Here’s how: 

  • Jot down estimates of how long you think tasks will take. To help you at first, you can make predictions based on past experiences. Factor-in external elements that might be out of your control. Because you tend to be too optimistic about time related issues, add 5 or even 10 minutes to your predictions at first.
  • Once the task is complete, write down how long it actually took to complete the task (a timekeeping-app can help you with this).
  • Use the actual time for completion in future scheduling.

Learning How to Prioritize Your Time

Being organized and on time is possible, regardless of your current habits.

Sure, there are many reasons why you can be late. However, if not arriving on time for your appointments has become a habit, there might be two very simple culprits: you are either multitasking too much or are unable to plan your schedule accordingly. 

Either way, considering enrolling in a time and priorities management course might be right for you.