Time fascinates me. Planning my day takes meticulous precision and if anything goes wrong I become a quivering wreck, anxious, jittery,
frustrated, pissed off and then I either resign myself to the situation or remove myself from the situation.
My whole life revolves around time and in my eyes time is NOT flexible. I have been like this for as long as I can remember. I noticed when the same people turned up late more often than on time for school – although in mine and my Sisters case we were always at school ridiculously early because our Father dropped us off on the way to the Station. It was always the same people who were late, disrupting the start of lessons, missing registration but more importantly they were always stressed. For most of them it wasn’t their fault, they obviously relied on Parents to get them to School. (it wasn’t the local School that we all went to) So why did the parents think it was acceptable to stress their Children out like that!
This continued when I left home at 20, I was always at work early so I could have a cup of coffee before I started. I walked to work so didn’t really have to consider traffic problems but I couldn’t bear the rushing around before work, but again I always noticed the stressed colleagues who were persistently late!
When my Children started school that was when I became even more aware of lateness! We would be the ones who had been up since 7 am, the children had sat down for a leisurely breakfast, washed, brushed their teeth, got ready for School. I had got up before hand to get myself sorted for the day. My Husband left the house at 7 am so it was literally just me and the Children and we always got to school on time. I was adamant that my children were not going to start their day in a state of panic or me shouting at them to get ready, brush your teeth, put your shoes on etc. Yet there were the same parents running through the School gates after the bell had gone dragging their half dressed flustered children behind them. Why?
Obviously who are we to judge how people live their lives, we have no idea what is going on in other peoples houses. It’s the stress I find difficult to watch. I have no idea how people can live on high alert all the time. It must be stressful when time is not managed properly. Ultimately, there must be long term health problems for people who live like this all the time.
Having done some research and spoken to several people for their opinions and comments, being late is not done deliberately. It is a real problem inbuilt in peoples brains, minds, emotions and bodies! People who are predominantly on time, will take into account their surroundings and other peoples surroundings. For example; if you have an appointment at 9 am they will automatically think they need to be there at 8.50. They will then take in other factors, what time of the day it is, weather, traffic, do they need petrol, do they need to pick up people on the way to the appointment. The ones who struggle with time will not have thought of any of those factors, they will think they need to be there at 9 am and may not have even factored the time it takes to travel there. Even if they are looking like they may be early they will think they could pop to the shop first! They only need one thing! They will not have thought about the time factor in taking the diversion, the people in the queue at the till before them. This is not a criticism, it is literally not in their thought process.
People who do not struggle with lateness also see time as fixed. It is not flexible, if we are told to be there at a certain time then that is the time we are going to be there, it doesn’t mean leaving the house at that time, it doesn’t mean we have a half hour lee way, it means we have to be where we are supposed to be at that time!
How do you see time in your mind? Do you see it from left to right? ie, 12 midnight being the start of a new day on the far left to 23.59 on your far right? So your whole day is visible. If you do then you are likely to be on time or early. If you see the time literally in front of you, you are only seeing what is happening right now. You cannot see what is going on after that time, time becomes more flexible. if that is how you see time then you are probably someone who struggles to get to places on time
I have to travel to Sproughton for Clients on a regular basis, being there at 9am. On a good day it takes me 20 minutes from my house in Kesgrave. Going through town is out of the question, I would never get there, going the back roads is risky, I would still have to use the roads with heavy traffic, so I do the A12 and A14. The BT roundabout can be heavy. All the junctions on the A14 contain a risk! Copdock junction – touch and go! The Orwell Bridge is the biggest risk, it is either free running or shut. If it’s shut you are completely screwed! Ultimately I double the time it would normally take me to get there. If I am ridiculously early I take that time to go through my appointment diary, or catch up with emails. If I’m really lucky I may even have a game on my Ipad!
Now my children are older and get themselves sorted for school my daughter does not see time in the say way as me! Her friends knock on the door on the way to school. This means that Rosie will then put her shoes on, pack her school bag, brush her teeth, put her shoes on leaving her friends to wait for her, it may only be a few minutes but it is still rude. If we are all going out as a family, I tell her we are going now 5 minutes before we actually have to leave so she is ready to go on time!
This leads me onto the main factor that the majority of us find the most frustrating is; why do you think your time is more important than mine? Why is it acceptable to leave people waiting for you to turn up when we have made the effort to get there on time. WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! That is what infuriates me the most ( I am pressing the keyboard slightly more viciously at this moment!) It IS rude and extremely bad mannered to be late, it does not look good professionally, it is selfish and thoughtless and it could have consequences for everyone else. If I have a client turn up late, it stresses me out, will I then do my job properly? Will the next client then have to wait? Do I cut the time of that late client but charge them less because I haven’t given them a full treatment? IT REALLY STRESSES ME OUT WHEN PEOPLE ARE LATE! Has everyone got that!
There are obviously times when there is absolutely nothing you can do about being late. There was a time a couple of years ago when the children and I sat stationary on the M5 for 5 hours on our way to Devon. The accident 1/4 mile ahead of us involved fire engines, police cars, ambulances, air ambulance, road repairers etc. There was NOTHING we could do except sit there. There was no point getting frustrated or angry about it. After all we were in a much better place than the people involved in the accident 1/4 mile ahead. Times like that there is no point in being worked up about being late (unless you are in Labour!). You just sit tight and accept that everyone else is contemplating doing a wee on the M5 as much as you are!
What it boils down to is trying to empathize with persistently late people without making it OK for them to be late. Or remove them from your life if you can. I have removed a client from my Client list who was always late, no explanation, no apology. It affected me and my other clients. It wasn’t worth it. I have a couple of friends who are always late! They know who they are! It is infuriating and selfish but I love them. I need them in my life, therefore I am happy to put up with their tardiness!
Now i will apologise! I will probably spend the rest of the day being late wherever I go! It will serve me right!