We all arrived late for a meeting, at least in one occasion. But there are people who can be classified as “chronic latecomers”, because are always late. If you're one of them here's a good new: the lack of punctuality may be related to creativity and optimism. In fact, a study conducted at the San Diego State University revealed that people who are always late tend to be more creative.
The type B personality is located at the base of latecoming
In fact, few studies have been done about latecoming. However, a recent study examined 181 workers in New York trying to understand the causes of their delay. These psychologists have found that people who arrive late share a common factor: a type B personality.
That is, they are people who do not usually run from side to side as if their biological clock goes faster than the rest of mortals, but prefer to take their time, and we rarely see them tense or anxious. These people really enjoy their free time and peace of mind, they don’t have the need to fill their days with more activities and be extremely productive.
And exactly this tranquility is what allows them to take the necessary time to analyze problems and find better solutions, so they also tend to be more creative than others. In fact, they are people who are not overwhelmed by little things, they do not care about details but are able to focus on the big picture, which greatly expands their universe of possibilities and allows them find ingenious solutions to problems.
In practice, the fact of being late to appointments is conditioned by the characteristics of the personality, which, in turn, are the same causing that some people are more creative than others.
A distorted perception of time
Beyond personality characteristics, it also seems that people who arrive late are not able to accurately gauge the time passing. In practice, they always feel having more time available or that will end up activities faster, so they tend to be late.
In fact, it turned out that for who has a type A personality one minute passes in 58 seconds, while people with a Type B personality estimate that a minute passes in 77 seconds. This indicates a 17 seconds difference, which added to several hours, can cause a significant delay in their daily lives. In practice, it is as if their biological clock was slower.
Tips for latecomers
Although the delay is related to creativity, the truth is that in many cultures the delay is perceived as a lack of respect for those who wait. In fact, being late often triggers a negative cycle. First, the person who is late conveys a negative image because the delay is considered synonymous of disorganization and lack of professionalism. As a result, the person loses credibility.
Moreover, delays affect negatively the encounter with the other person, generating a feeling of anger that is not good for the relationship, both personal and professional. Therefore, it is better to learn to be punctual. Here are some tips to succeed:
1. Get organized. Some people arrive late for lack of organization. When it’s time to go out they don’t find the keys or the mobile phone, so they lose a few precious minutes. Therefore, the first step to be on time is to be organized, both at home and at work. It will also be useful to keep a diary to help you plan your days.
2. Find out where you lose time. Often our bad habits are what make us being late. To retrieve the time you need to identify those habits that become blacks holes through which time vanishes. At this point you only have to make sure that those bad habits disappear, replacing them with better habits.
3. Schedule a margin of error. Some people are late because they always go against the clock. But you should always keep in mind that you might encounter a traffic jam or the meeting could last longer than expected. Therefore, you should always plan a margin of 15-20 minutes. If you arrive early you can use these minutes to relax and prepare for the meeting.
4. Get used to wear a watch. If you have problems to arrange the time required for each activity, the best way for not being late is to look at the clock from time to time. Another possibility is to activate the alarm on your phone.
5. Valorise time. In fact, time is the only valuable asset we have. Therefore, it is best not to waste it and do not let others wasting it for our fault. Valuing time in perspective will allow you become aware of the importance of punctuality.
Sources:Conte, J. M. et. Al. (2001) Individual Differences in Attentional Strategies in Multitasking Situations. Human Performance; 14(4): 339-358.Conte, J. M. et. Al. (2001) Incremental Validity of Time Urgency and Other Type A Subcomponents in Predicting Behavioral and Health Criteria. Journal of Applied Social Psychology; 31(8): 1727-1748.
If you’re always late you are a creative person
4/ 5Oleh Jennifer Delgado