time management

The 7 Types of Late People: How to Stop Being Late and Start Getting Places On Time

September 4, 2018

Reading Time: 7 minutes


This is going to be rich coming from me. I used to be late ALL the time. My running late became a running joke among my friends, except it wasn’t funny.

I’m a huge proponent of being selfish with your time. Guarding the white space on your calendar. Making time for yourself and what matters most to you.  Being stingy with your yesses with the realization that every “yes” has an equal and opposite “no” attached to it.

But – being late is rude. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it. It sucks. And it doesn’t feel good to rush into a crowded restaurant and frantically plop down in a bistro chair as your friend (once again) breathes a hungry, deflated sigh and says, “No, it’s ok – it’s totally fine. Let’s just order.”

And it’s not like you WANT to be late and disappoint people, it just happens… often… and you always feel a little embarrassed about it and sometimes it casts a cloud over the whole meeting/lunch/date/evening when your friends have just about had enough.

So how to fix it?


That right, according to research by author Diana DeLonzor, there are seven types of late people. Give them a read through and see which type jumps out as your running late soulmate:

The Rationalizer is perpetually late, but doesn’t believe she has a problem. It’s never her fault – always traffic, or a train, or something else.

The Producer has way to much on her plate and is always trying to squeeze “just one more thing” into her massive to-do list. You’re trying to jam in as much as possible into your days, but are shocked when you arrive places 15 minute late.

The Deadliner, aka procrastinator, always waits until the last minute and thrives under pressure. Sometimes you hit your mark, sometimes you don’t.

The Indulger is a snooze-button queen, and an expert lollygagger and time-waster. This time-wasting often takes the form of “busy work” – you know, that stuff that feels productive, but is really kind of pointless?

The Absent Minded just forgets… everything. When and where things are happening, where she put her wallet and don’t even get her started on her car keys.

The Rebel can be on time if she wants to, but chooses to be late as an act of resistance to authority.

The Anxious suffers from low self-esteem, possibly even anxiety and depression. To combat your negative feelings and apprehension, you obsess over perfection and create delays to avoid leaving.

Awareness is the first step toward change, so being honest with yourself about why you’re late will put you on the fast track to fixing the problem.

Chances are, you’ve got a smattering of qualities from each of these types. And that ok – but it’s time to own it.

Me personally?

I’ve been a Rationalizer – until I owned up to the fact that everyone else had to drive through the same traffic I did, and yet somehow they were all on time without magic Harry Potter time turners to make it happen.

I’ve been a notorious Producer – scheduling way too much for myself and inducing major disappointment when I (A) couldn’t get it all done and (B) couldn’t get anywhere on time.

Definitely had some Deadliner tendencies too. Work assignments would take longer than I thought they would and I’d blow through soft deadlines and barely make the hard ones.

And until I started keeping my keys clipped to the inside of my handbag, I suffered lateness due to being Absent Minded.

Oh and don’t get me started on the Indulger snooze-button addiction. “Just 9 more minutes….”



  • Admit you have a problem, and that – for the most part – you’re in control of your time.

  • Start being realistic about how long things actually take – like getting dressed in the morning, drive time to and from places, work assignments, and the list goes on an on.


  • Commit to fewer things. Really – you have too much on your plate, and I’ll bet that everything is suffering a little bit (or a lotta bit) as a result.

  • Whittle down your to-do list.

  • Be realistic – really realistic – about what you can fit in a given block of time.


  • Find new ways to create the pressure you need to get things done.

  • Schedule something you look forward to right before your deadline, so that you’re driven to finish the thing you’re putting off before you’re allowed to do the fun thing.


  • Be strategic about how you choose to indulge, and create rewards for yourself.

  • Getting out of bed after hitting snooze only once (instead of 5 times), can mean more time lingering over a latte after you get to work early.


  • Find a calendar system you love, and use it. I use a combination of Google Calendar, a daily paper planner and Trello to manage my to-dos and appointments.

  • Take advantage of alarms and reminders so you don’t forget about appointments and events.

  • Create a drop spot at home where you keep all of those things you look for when you’re frantic – like your keys, wallet and sunglasses. Our drop spot is a pretty divided serving tray near our garage door.


  • Be honest with yourself and figure out why you’re rebelling.

  • Whether it’s irritation at a friend, animosity to your boss or unhappiness about your job or commitments – face your issues head on and resolve them.


  • If your social anxiety is straight up debilitating, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help.

  • Identify your logjams – those points in your day that you get tripped up on perfectionism or avoidance, and find ways to plan for them in advance.

Chances are you’re a mix of a few of the above – so here are two roadmaps to knocking out two of the most common lateness black holes: getting dressed and out the door in the morning and drive time.


  • Put it on Paper: Think through your morning routine and actually write it down. Start with the time you wake up, and end with the time you actually start work. Build in start times for each part of your morning routine.

  • Analyze: Looking at your estimated morning routine timed out on paper will very likely uncover the fact that you’re just not allocating enough time to each piece of your morning puzzle.

  • Test it Out: If, based on your list, you should have enough time to fit everything in – take your handwritten morning schedule through an actual morning and see how that works out for you.  You might discover that the 10 minute shower you wrote down is more like a 17 minute shower. And that getting dressed takes 15 minutes instead of 5 because you couldn’t find the left shoe that goes with those pants.

  • Adjust: At this point you’ve got two options:

  1. Wake up earlier

  2. Trim down your routine

If you opt for the latter,
What can you do the night before? Things like… 

  • picking out your clothes

  • finding BOTH of your shoes

  • Putting your keys by the door

  • making your lunch

  • picking out your kid’s clothes

  • putting your work stuff in your car

  • washing your hair and rocking dry shampoo [My favorite dry shampoos: 1, 2, 3]

What can you shorten?

  • Are your showers taking 20 minutes because you’re just standing there and letting the water hit you while you avoid starting the day? Or do you hover in front of the coffee pot for 10 minutes pondering the meaning of life because you don’t even want to get in the shower? Consider using a mantra. When I notice that I’m lollygagging or wasting time, I say the phrase “Default to Action” in my head and keep moving.

  • Can you combine any parts of your hair and/or beauty routine by picking products that pull double duty? A foundation + SPF? Tinted moisturizer? A mascara that also curls your lashes? A stain that works on lips, cheeks and eyes?

  • Consider an at-home workout instead of driving to and from the gym. A lot of my friends are loving Beach Body workouts for their workout anywhere convenience and 30-minute time commitment.

  • Chronic snoozer? 5-4-3-2-1 Blast yourself out of bed after you check out The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, or just watch her TEDxSF Talk.


Ah – traffic. As I mentioned above, I seriously used to use traffic as a reason for being late. Until someone curtly reminded me after I blew into a meeting a tornado – “I live in your neighborhood, I got here 10 minutes ago.”

Cue the red faced embarrassment.

My problem clearly was not “traffic.” It was simply not giving myself enough time.

Here’s how I fixed it:

  1. Use the “Arrive By” feature in Google Maps to calculate estimated drive time. This gives you a clearer picture of how traffic will affect your drive time at that specific point in the day. Mapping drive time at 10PM will typically yield a much different result than mapping drive time when you need to be on the road during rush hour.

  2. Add 5-10 minutes to the Google Maps estimate. Weird things can happen on the road, and it’s never fun (and always a little awkward) to walk into an event as it’s starting. Give yourself a few extra minutes to find a parking spot, get your bearings or freshen up.

  3. Add your drive time to your calendar like an appointment. Give it a special color code. I do this at the beginning of every week during my Sunday planning session. Treating drive time like a calendar appointment has been the biggest game changer. By adding my drive time to my Google Calendar, I get an alert before it’s time to leave and I don’t make the mistake of accidentally adding a meeting or another event, or starting a new project right before I need to leave.

  4. If you’re a paper planner only kinda girl, use alarms on your phone to give yourself a Ten Minutes til Leave Time warning, and then a TIME TO GO warning. Seriously. Set both. If you only set an alarm when it’s time to leave, it’ll sneak up on you and you’ll frantically run around for 10 more minutes before you leave.

  5. If actually planning out your drive time sounds absolutely crazy and insane and downright impossible based on your current schedule – then it sounds like you’ve got too much on your plate… or you need to trim down your current routines.


Take it from this reformed (and still sometimes occasional) late person: those first few times you’re early are really fun. The look of surprise on the faces of your friends. The calm feeling of arriving somewhere without the heart rate of an Olympic sprinter. It’s actually really nice – and you can use the extra time as a mini-reward.

  • Toss a book in your bag, or download a short podcast or Audible book to tide you over while you wait.

  • Read the news or an email like The Skimm to see what’s happening in the world.

  • Scroll through Instagram and catch up on social media “news.”

  • Before you know it, you won’t be “the late one” anymore and gosh darn it, it’s going to feel good.


  • What type of late person am I?

  • How can I tweak my morning routine to get places on time?

  • Do I have too many commitments or too much on my plate?

  • Am I being realistic about drive time or blaming my lateness on “traffic?”


  • After you identify what type (or types) of late-person you are, commit to choosing one new strategy this week to combat lateness. Let us know your type in the comments and what you’re going to try!

  • Audit your morning routine and make sure you’re being realistic about time.

  • Add drive time to your calendar this week.

  • Ask a friend to be your on-time accountability partner.

  • Decide what your “early person” activity will be: find a book or download a podcast.

What will it take you to get from chaos to calm?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey Anna! I'm looking for an episode about...

Hey Anna! I'm looking for an episode about...