You may recognize that phrase as the title to a 2012 movie starring Melanie Lynskey and Blythe Danner (mother of Gwyneth Paltrow). You may also recognize it as the title of a Phil Collins album that featured the songs “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “You Can’t Hurry Love.” In the sports world, it’s sort of a catch phrase to describe players or coaches that never stay in one place more than one or two seasons. It’s also the phrase that leapt to my mind when I was writing the post “Be A Pro” and discussing being on time as one of the attributes of the good professional.

I saw something funny online with the most common and uncommon excuses for being late. The common ones were traffic, oversleeping, bad weather, and forgetting something. The uncommon ones were being too cold, the dog ate my work schedule 🙂 , my coffee was too hot, and driving to the wrong location. Now that we’ve had a nice little chuckle, let’s dive into being late and what it means.

Why are some people always late? Adoree Durayappah-Harrison MAPP of Psychology Today theorized it’s because they don’t want to be early. It can be conscious or subconscious. The motivation is that being too early is impolite or awkward, or an inefficient use of time if you have to sit around waiting for everyone else to arrive. What other people think is a major factor here – you might suspect others are judging you (whether they are or not), that you obviously have no life other than what’s about to take place, and if the event is a date, you will appear desperate.

So what do you do?

Make being early more valuable. If you think being too early to meetings is a waste of time, consider what Dell Computers CEO Michael Dell once said. “I try to get to meetings a bit early so I can see what the mood of the team is and have an opportunity to interact informally before we get down to serious business.” If you are regularly tempted to do one last thing before you leave – fold one more load of laundry, look at one more email, etc. – save one of those tasks that you can do remotely (like check the email) to do when you arrive early at your destination.

Strengthen your routine. If you’re regularly late because you over-sleep, set an earlier, hard deadline for getting to sleep. If you are always running behind because you can’t find your keys/sunglasses/phone/wallet, establish a designated place to keep them and always put them there so you know where they are. This “important items” location could also be used for others in your household if they are also prone to being unorganized.

Notice that “Get up earlier” wasn’t mentioned here. That is a favorite of those who naturally get up early, but night owls detest it. Consider Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: “I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.” It’s not so much about starting your day earlier as much as it is starting your day early enough to arrive at your first obligation slightly early instead of regularly being late.

Delegate. If you’re a business owner that struggles to be on time, are there things on your to-do list you can hand off? A Virtual Assistant can take care of your essential administrative tasks so you can deliver even more outstanding results to your customers and clients. (Click here to see what services you can hand off, and Contact us to see how we can work together).

So you see, it is possible to conquer that habit of regularly being late without totally abandoning your life as you know it. Use a few simple adjustments so that you don’t have to keep saying, “Sorry I’m late.”