Reluctance to Change Activities - Deepstash

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Beat the clock: the surprising psychology behind being perpetually late

Reluctance to Change Activities

Being late is a symptom of the reluctance to change gear, where you don't want the current activity to end and start a new one. People like to be absorbed and lost in doing something, and abruptly stopping to do something else can be annoying for some.

It generally takes an external force, like someone waiting for us to make us change our gear and get moving.

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Chronically Late People
Chronically Late People

While dealing with a chronically late friend or acquaintance, one tends to assume as though the person has disrespected us by not valuing our time. This may not be true.

People who are frequently late can also be optimists or creative individuals who have presence of mind and can think on their feet.

The Three Behavioral Patterns of People That Are Late

Being habitually late has been pointed towards three main categories of behaviour:

  1. Being under the impression that they can multitask and function optimally under pressure.
  2. Being thrilled or fascinated by the constant stream of distractions and trying to participate in the next bright and shiny thing that comes in front of them.
  3. Being unaware of the actual time or not being able to calculate or experience time in the normal way.
Handling The Chronically Late
  1. Become autonomous and act independently in your plans.
  2. Don’t depend on others for travel arrangements.
  3. Do not give others your ticket to a concert or movie.
  4. Take a book with you to get absorbed into while you wait, much better than fidgeting with your smartphone.
  5. Call them once a certain lateness threshold has been crossed.
  6. Make your feelings known but do not criticize them.
  7. Re-evaluate what is there to gain from the relation and what you lose if you let go of the same.
Chronically Late People
Chronically Late People

Being habitually and chronically late for work or any other appointment is a kind of insanity, according to Tim Urban, who classifies such people (comprising 15 to 20 percent of the population as per a 2006 survey) as Chronically Late Insane People (CLIP).

The reason for this kind of behaviour can be misplaced optimism or a wrapped sense of time, but it is a common trap, which most people can relate to.

Cultivating Punctuality

Being late is a chronic habit and shifting towards punctuality can take weeks or even months, as the person has to break down a pattern (of being late) and build a new one.

One has to train their mind to the new normal of being on time by thinking and planning ahead, proactively.

Running Late: Breaking The Habit

The amount of energy it takes to rush into things and trying to reach frantically on time, and then to repent afterwards, can be harnessed and channelled into working towards being punctual.

Being accountable towards one’s tardiness, when the consequences like the loss of a job, or a major client, can spur a person into breaking the internal denial about their lateness being something tolerable by others.