I’m Always Late

I’m always late to meetings and that is a problem.

In the past, I was never late for meetings – a product of being raised by a single mother with one rule inherited from her Scottish Marine fire chief father: respect.

At the heart of that notion of respect was being on time. I can recall the first time I was late to baseball practice and the coach called home. Both my mother and grandfather explained to me how this was a sign of disrespect and a tone of “I’m better/more important”.

But to be quite honest, I have no idea how to stop being late so I’m making it my New Year’s Resolution – a sure way to guarantee I’m still late I imagine.


Even though I have no idea how to stop being late now that it has become a habit, here are some strategies I’m going to attempt:

  • recognize that leaving a meeting early is much more respectable than showing up late
  • do not overbook or double-book myself in hopes that I can somehow make two meetings – I’m not that important!
  • allot 15 minutes for off-site travel time and 10 minutes for onsite.
  • target an arrival of 5 minutes in advance of the meeting in order to
  • during travel time, there will always be someone that you run into that wishes to discuss something with you. Ask them to walk with you.
  • when meetings are booked back to back, let the meeting facilitator know that I’ll be leaving with 10 minutes left in the meeting to attend another one. This is a common issue. With calendars, we do busy searches that show opens slots but rarely do we look to see what the person is doing right before the meeting.
  • respond “maybe” or “no” to meetings when too many variables are in place to ensure timely arrival. After responding, contact the facilitator(s) about the problems in hopes that they will a) tell me whether my attendance is vital or b) recognize the issue, explain my attendance is needed, and express to the group why I’ll be late. This is another common issue especially with multiple site locations that require travel.

Any other suggestions? How do you stay on time?

Yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about this because it bothers me. My lateness is not intentionally disrespectful but it is nonetheless.

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