By Grace Pacie
I’ve finally worked out how to get to my gym class in good time – I arrive late for the one before!
It’s the only way I can do it. I just can’t be early for anything. I get up at 6 for a 9am class, but I’m still looking for my trainers or feeding the cat 5 minutes after I should have left the house. I never seem to be able to leave home in time. I used to blame the traffic, or the trains, or the bin men who blocked the road, but who am I kidding? As I race through the traffic, I’m overjoyed every time I overtake a learner driver, or a hearse, because I’ve got an excuse that might sound convincing.
So why can’t I be on time, when I really want to be? A better question would be “Why can’t I be early?” This seems to be at the root of my problem – I’m happy with the idea of getting to my class exactly on time, but if I think I’m going to arrive early, I suddenly find reasons to delay leaving home. It happens every time – so why do I do it? My classmates are really friendly and I love to chat to them afterwards, so why not do so before the class as well? And it’s not just my gym class I can’t be early for – it’s everything. It makes sense to be late for the cinema, because the ads and trailers drone on for ages, but why don’t I want to be early for the theatre, when being late means I’ll be kept outside for the first act?
To be fair, I CAN be early for important events – job interviews, client meetings, court appearances etc. I manage to arrive before the coffin at funerals, and I’ve only once had to race the bride down the aisle at a wedding – and that honestly wasn’t my fault!
I thought I was alone with this problem, but when I’ve started to mention it to friends, I find that I’m not the only one. In fact, I’ve found research which says 20% of people struggle with punctuality – we’re born that way.
Now I realise how common the problem is, I’ve started to look for solutions. I’ve found some simple tricks which work like magic, and I’ve captured 20 tried and tested ideas in my new book “LATE! The Timebender’s guide to why we are late and how we can change.” These days I’m always on time for my gym class, because I now pick up a classmate on the way. I usually get to her house 5 mins later than planned, but we still arrive at the gym in good time. I’ll never change myself into an early bird, but I’ve found lots of ways to stop myself being late!
Late! is available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon and good bookshops. The audiobook will be available December 2020.
Grace G. Pacie runs a Facebook Group for people who struggle with lateness:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/not.late.but.timebending
“Great fun to read, ranges over lots of fascinating topics, and packed full of practical tips for people who struggle to be on time – or for those who work or live with them. So much more inspiring than typical time management books and the tips on how to use deadlines and manage distractions are spot on! Catherine Stothart, Leadership Coach and Author of “How to Get On with Anyone”