The Benefits of Being Late

I have to admit that I’m habitually late. For the most part, I do all right in getting to work on time (or almost on time!), but I’m one of those guys who seems to always be at least a few minutes behind when there’s a wedding to go to, a party, or a family gathering.

This has honestly always bothered me. I’ve worked hard to build up habits that will get me where I need to be on time and to drop those bad habits that get in the way of timeliness. I’ve met with some success over the years, but the underlying issue of tardiness has stuck with me.

I’m getting a little introspective here, but I believe all this may be due to some inner rebellion against society. Call it my own little revolution against the man. I just want to do my own thing without having to worry about some arbitrary set of rules imposed by someone else.

This sounds a bit childish, I’m sure. Like most people, I definitely see the value in being on time. It’s essential to be on time or early to a job interview. There are also other situations where it’s vital to be on time (like, catching a plane). Being habitually late is generally considered a sign that a person isn’t dependable, too. This can be a difficult label to overcome once it’s applied.

There is also a bright side to being late, though. It occurred to me recently that many times when I’ve been late, there has definitely been a reason. I’m almost always doing something that is valuable to me, something that is, in that moment, far more important than whatever it is I might be rushing out to do. In fact, there’s a huge opportunity cost in stressing yourself to always be on time.

Thinking back, there have been many times I’ve taken just a few extra moments to enjoy that last sip of excellent coffee, a few more words of conversation with a loved one or a good friend, another long hug and “I love you” from one of my children, or a few minutes more of closeness with someone I love. How can you place a value on these precious moments?

These are the times that will be most important to you when you look back on your life. No one is going to eulogize you and say how great you were because you were always on time. No one will wipe away a tear and comment on your excellent punctuality. However, many will remember those precious few moments that you spent with them, doing something you love with someone you love.

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13 Responses to The Benefits of Being Late

  1. Srednarb says:

    Lol, honestly here in the philippines that is one of the very big problem, it is nature of people here and honestly this is one of the most number 1 reason why they are terminated in their jobs….

  2. There are two sides to this issue. On one hand you are right, if you never “stop to smell the roses” you life will be one long grind.

    On the other hand if you have no disciple, you are not likely to accomplish much. If their are some accomplishments that are particularly important to you for your own personal fulfillment, then a lack of discipline is going to be counter productive.

  3. I sometimes have the same issue for certain meetings or when taking public transportation. Adding more time to your meeting gaps I find to be helpful. Lately, I have this problem in replying to simple emails as I get too many!

  4. Gadgets News says:

    To be honest I ma very punctual. I finish my work on time, I leav home for offive on time and get back on time even in parties I appear on time also.

  5. Mercola says:

    I was about to say that being habitually late is a bad habit, but after reading the last two paragraphs I guess there’s more important things to worry about than punctuality.

  6. I’m getting a little introspective here, but I believe all this may be due to some inner rebellion against society. Call it my own little revolution against the man. I just want to do my own thing without having to worry about some arbitrary set of rules imposed by someone else.

    This sounds a bit childish, I’m sure. Like most people, I definitely see the value in being on time. It’s essential to be on time or early to a job interview. There are also other situations where it’s vital to be on time (like, catching a plane). Being habitually late is generally considered a sign that a person isn’t dependable, too. This can be a difficult label to overcome once it’s applied.

  7. Ian Brodie says:

    I think there’s a difference between “being late for yourself” – where the only person who suffers is you (e.g. you miss the start of a TV programme, you miss your train or whatever – and “being late for others” – where other people feel the impact. For example: being late for meetings, your family missing a train because you were late, etc.

    Being “late for yourself” hurts no one but yourself. Being “late for others” is rather inconsiderate. You’re valuing your extra sip of coffee over wasting others time, or making them miss things they want.

    Ian

  8. Organic says:

    I used to hate being late but now I’m not so worried. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not worth stressing about.

  9. I once worked with a person who was always seemed to be late for meetings. Many times we would be invited to the same meetings and I would arrive on time, if not a bit early and he would be late. Since they were generally meetings that were wanted by the other attendees, they were rarely canceled. And no he wasn’t late because he took those extra minutes to ‘smell the roses’. It was more an ego trip that he was able to make them wait.

    While waiting I would regularity hear complaints and comments about his behavior. This motivated me to try to never be late for a meeting. I joke at time that if I’m not 15 minutes early I actually already late.

    Besides you can always have that extra few minutes to enjoy nature, savor a sip of coffee or lunch, just by a good time management system and not scheduling back to back to back meetings.

  10. mmo says:

    Love the part about opportunity cost and what you’re doing in the moment is valuable to you..never really thought about it like that.

  11. Joan Cook says:

    Many people have a difficult time finding the motivation to get things done. The biggest misconception is that motivation will simply fall from the sky and everything will be swell. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. You need to be proactive!

    Nice post!

    🙂

  12. Sabac says:

    You are not alone who is living life in this way because majority of bloggers follow the same pattern even unwillingly. Perhaps people around us already know now and they never react on this. Infact they have accepted me with this exception already.

  13. Leo says:

    My wife is always late…which also makes me late….I hate being late….

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