Tardy for the Party

I have a confession.

I am a person who is late to everything with very few exceptions.

I wasn’t always like this. I was once a person who showed up 15 minutes early to everything. I was that kid in high school who did projects a week in advance. I arrived at school before the sun rose. I was on crack or something, I don’t know. I would just run around and be efficient at everything.

So, yeah, something happened in the last couple of years. I used to wake up at 5:30 ready to get the day started. Now, I just snooze, snooze, snooze. I spend my days running around 15 minutes late for everything. Like today for example, I had an interview at 10 a.m. I planned on arriving at 9:45 because I know that’s the standard in the professional world. I had lunch plans about 20 minutes away at 11 a.m. Then, I had to be at work at 1 p.m. to prep for a 2 p.m. meeting. Then, I had a 4 p.m. orientation for a program I’m a part of for one of my student advisees. This is what my day looked like in reality:

  • Wake up at 8 a.m., shower and eat breakfast
  • 8:45 – Give Jesse good-bye kiss, go upstairs and get ready
  • 8:46 – 9:50: WHAT WAS I DOING HERE THAT TOOK SO LONG? (It should have been blow-dry hair, make-up, dress which is generally a 30-minute task)
  • Arrive at my interview at 10 a.m. on.the.dot.
  • My interviewer is 25 minutes late: I farted around on my phone and texted my lunch date about my impending tardiness.
  • 10:30: Have interview, schmooze, talk about myself, try not to look at watch and realize my lunch date is going on without me.
  • 11:15: Leave, call friend, friend is now running 30 minutes late. She’ll meet me 10 minutes after I’m there.
  • 11:16: Consider canceling lunch. Friend is on her way. Can’t cancel. Think to myself “Lunch won’t take that long…”
  • 11:20: Get stuck behind a STOPPED train. Swear at the time gods. Turn the car around.
  • 11:23: Go the wrong way on the highway. Swear at the sense-of-direction gods.
  • 11:25: Back on track.
  • 11:26: Send e-mail to job. Explain situation. Say I’ll be there 30 minutes before meeting.
  • 11:45: Arrive at restaurant.
  • Noon: Friend arrives
  • 1:18: Get a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Thank the gods of caffeine and smite the gods of time.
  • 1:20: Walk back to car (At this point I would have been 5 minutes early for my 2 p.m. meeting)
  • 1:21: Friend asks for ride back to car
  • 1:40: TIME VORTEX. We chatted too long parked behind her car.
  • 1:41: Trust my phone instead of my sense of direction. Get on wrong highway AGAIN. Think about crashing my car so I can start the day over.
  • 1:43: Just decide I’ll figure it out myself. Take the long way but at least I know where I’m going, no thanks to the gods of technology, time, punctuality, temperature, getting old people off the roads, green lights, and turn signals.
  • 1:45: Call work, say I’ll be 15 minutes late. They are nice and understanding. I feel bad for being such a mess.

When I finally arrived home and took off my blasted heels, I sat down to write this blog post. That was at 7:30. It’s now 10:32 and I am only halfway done. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY TIME?

Answer: Making Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna, doing 5 loads of laundry, doing the 30 day shred, petting Patronus, beginning my Family Systems project, making pictures for this post, greeting Jesse when he gets home from his man meeting, eating lasagna, folding 5 loads of laundry, remembering I was writing a post, and now I’m back in the game.

So, I thought I’d consult the experts about my penchant for being late and get myself back on the time track.

 Notice the time when I did my screen capture.

I found this article written by a psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow. I thought, “Seems reputable enough.”

According to Dr. Keith, the following are reasons most people are late.

  1. They are anxious – Ablow states that I may be late because there is discomfort where I’m going and I am secretly dreading going to that location. My mind does these ninja tricks on me and makes me late so I spend less time being uncomfortable or stressed.
  2. They are showing who’s in power – Ablow hypothesizes next that I want the people I’m going to meet to know that I do not value their time and they must wait on me in order for me to assert my dominance over their day.
  3. They need to know they are loved – Maybe I was left or punished for my tardiness in the past? This could be my adult version of coping because if people wait for me, then they must really care.

Additionally, lateness can signal other disorders:

  1. Depression
  2. Attention Deficit Disorder
  3. Substance abuse

So given this long winded post that took me much longer to construct than is ever reasonable, let’s consider the evidence, the research, and our expert’s opinion:

  1. My day was a mess. Lots of poor time budgeting, denial about how long things take, and inability to fit it all in. I think I’d also put a significant amount of blame on the word “putzing”. I just putzed, putzed, putzed this morning and then I buzzed, buzzed, buzzed once I got off track.
  2. Anxious?: Doubtful. I was excited for my interview, excited to see my friend, and looking forward to getting my meeting over and done with.
  3. Power hungry?: I don’t think so. I generally feel very guilty when I’m late and beat myself up about it for most of the day.
  4. Need to know I’m loved?: Possibly, but the people who wait for me generally aren’t my loved ones or people who I would say I need affirmation from. If anything I feel like I am more likely to be on time for my loved ones.
  5. That leaves depression, ADD, or substance abuse. I’m pretty peppy and I haven’t ingested anything considered a drug except caffeine today. By process of elimination and by example of my later evening, I believe I have my answer.

I just stop paying attention. I’m not really ADD, but I just get so damn distracted from “living in the moment” I suppose. I need to just start channeling high school Jen and get a handle on my lateness. It’s going to take focus, commitment, and a lot less putzing.


What do you think/feel about timeliness? Is it a quality you value?

Seriously, how long is this post? If you’re reading this you deserve a gold medal. *high five* for you.


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Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Mind
Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

About Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a mental health counselor newly residing in Seattle, Washington. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection as the cornerstone of my professional ideology, along with the healing possibilities of puppies, a good glass of red wine, the smell of a new book, and the importance of travel.

  • http://bumfuzzledjane.blogspot.com/ sarah bolandi

    say whaaaa?! You are ALWAYs on time when you’re hanging with me! must be a priority thing :)