Timekeeping for Leaders SOS

Ok…. you’re late. People say you are always late, but you know different! You know that you are simply trying to be hyper efficient with your time and to cram in as much activities as you possibly can into a limited window of opportunity. You know you’re trying to help as many people as you can and simply can’t say no. The result? You do not complete everything on your ‘to do’ list,  and you are frustrated and ….late…poor timekeeping!


How do you compensate? Some people jump into a taxi to get them near enough halfway to where they should have been 30 minutes ago… and then bark on about the traffic. Others ring and simply cancel saying that something urgent has cropped up. Others simply accept their unfortunate reputation for being disorganised and just… ‘fess up’… so I’m going to ‘fess up’… my blog is one week late!

It would have been so easy to simply do what I see many do which is to slip in quietly into the meeting room and hope no one notices that their arrival is 45 minutes after the start time. Yes, I could have simply posted a post with some uplifting anecdote hoping no one noticed the blog should have been out last Wednesday and today is a beeping week later. But no, I’ve decided to put it out there and talk about the perils and difficulties of time management.

Timekeeping for leaders is essential! © Darko Kovacevic Dreamstime Stock Photos



Why, oh why are some people much better at managing their time than others? Is there a correlation with time management and money management? If you know of any such study I beg you to share it as I suspect there is. I know people who are poor at managing resources no matter what these are: time, money, energy, property etc..and others are masters at it. Now, if you are always on time, please please do not switch off from my musings on this subject. YOU are the key to getting some of us out of this cycle by simply sharing what you do and how you do it. Please do leave a comment, and if you are happy, I might just interview you to share your pearls of wisdom with this wonderful audience.

Is being persistently  late really due to sloppy manners, poor personal organisation, selfishness or is there some other profound reasons why people are always late? I’m specifically thinking about those who are habitually late in any area of their lives, not  the ones who are late now and again.

So who and what the heck is responsible for my tardiness then, that’s what I want to know?! I penned this blog as I sat on the underground tube and there staring back at me in the reflection of the window was the very culprit…. me! So how can I change this?



At different points over the next few weeks, I’m going to be dissecting the ‘late’ issue and looking at strategies for better timekeeping and personal management. I will begin now with understanding the root of the problem. Most health care workers are encouraged to not just treat the patients’  symptoms  but to get right down to the root cause. Here’s a few considerations to help us understand the root causes of lateness …according to Vi:

  1. Your personal value of time – some are happy to while away the time and day, and meander through their tasks. They really can not see the big deal in being 5-10 minutes late.  I knew a bride who was at least two hours late for her wedding. The guests were anxious  and thought the groom had been jilted. Then they became furious when they realised she was still turning up,  but was just ‘running late’.  Can you imagine the fun and games when she did arrive? To the other extreme, others are regimented and refuse to waste a moment. A colleague mentioned to me recently that he would prefer to be 45 minutes early than five minutes late. Others would rather use those 45 minutes to do something else albeit risking arriving 5-10 minutes later.
    Timekeeping for leaders starts early!
    © Oleg Zyablikov  Dreamstime Stock Photos

    Recognising your own values on time management will help to understand your behaviour and determine if and where there needs to be a change.  Your own value of time is vey likely to affect how you use it and view it.

  2. Your cultural background  –  I have witnessed that some countries and some cultures view timekeeping and the use of time very differently. Subconsciously, this may impact one’s behaviour and attitude.
  3. Your desire for the task– I have to admit when I do not want to do something or go somewhere I will struggle to get there on time! One of the highlights of our year  at church is the 31st December watchnight service. If you are not there one hour early, it’s very unlikely that you will get a seat. Am I ever late for that? Not on your Nellie! I tend to be two hours early i.e. at the previous service! However….if I am wearied by something (see it more as a duty or not edifying or fun), or really not interested, its an absolute struggle to get there at all, yet alone on time! My desire for a task directly impacts on my timekeeping abilities.
  4. Your assessment of time – this is a biggie. Some people can not accurately assess time. They think it will take 30 minutes but realistically it will take 1 hour and 30 minutes! There is a game I tend to play when I have to undertake a household chore I really do not want to. It also helps with my timekeeping. I will set a timer, a set of rules, and then try to outbeat the clock without breaking those rules. This is a great way of getting through boring household tasks, but more importantly, it shows me how quick time disappears.  I realise that I often grossly underestimate time.
  5. Your health and wellbeing – If you are physically exhausted, struggling with some kind of health issue, be it physical, emotional or spiritual then it will be hard to swiftly move from ‘a’ to ‘b’, or to find the energy to get anywhere on time! It you are well rested and full of energy, your timekeeping is likely to be improved.

I am sure you can think of many other root causes to why someone is always late. An article in The Mail online suggested it could be to do with your personality type.  The Psychology of Lateness states it can be  a form of passive aggression (WHAT??!).

Please do leave some comments to share your thoughts.  So, next week, I will share with you some tips on tackling the 5 key areas outlined above. Speak to you then….and I won’t be late…ok?!

Much love


According to Vi

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