People Always Running Late Are Happier and Healthier

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Running late when you have kids is pretty much par for the course. Getting out the door is like trying to wrangle a family of ferrets, all hopped up on pixie sticks.

Kids. Am I right? They make us late for pretty much everything. I swear, even if we start getting ready for something two hours early, someone will lose a shoe and everything comes to a grinding halt while we search. PS: the lost shoe is always under the bed. Always.

But at least now I know that people who are always running late are both happier and healthier. That’s some solace.

People Always Running Late Are Happier and Healthier

Running Late

People who are chronically running late aren’t terrible humans, even though folks like us might aggravate the people around us to no end. It’s not like my family likes to make a grand entrance wherever we go.

“Okay, kids. Let’s slow it down. We want to be sure everyone at the dinner sees us enter in our finest sweatpants and barely combed hair.”

Nope. If anything, I’d rather slink in completely unnoticed, like a ninja mom.

People who are chronically late are probably multitaskers.

A 2003 study found that folks who are late again and again are likely doing more than one thing at a time. In other news, I could have saved them a bunch of time and trouble because this isn’t news. I can make a pie while drinking wine and eating chocolate all at the same time. It’s called talent… and it’s only dawning on me right now that perhaps the wine and chocolate thing contribute to my lateness sometimes. Go figure.

Always late, ever an optimist.

Fortune 500 consultant Diana Delonzer, author of Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, suggests folks who are often late likely have an enthusiastic, can-do attitude that keeps them calm even when things get hectic. They believe they can get things done quicker, so they can get out the door.

I have no such illusions. I believe I can’t do things quickly enough and that I’ll never get out the door.

If you’re running late, you’re bright and creative.

That’s not all. “You’re smart and open-minded and, subsequently, willing to go out on a limb in your problem solving, too.”

I’m willing to go out on a limb – to find that one lost shoe so we can get out of the house. Thanks, science.

So what should you do if you’re always late?

According to Science Alert, a 2012 study found that asking people to mentally picture a task before they do it can help them be more realistic about its duration.

In other words, think about everything you have to do in order to be on time and plan, as best you can, exactly how long it will take. It’s supposed to help.

I’m thinking about how long it will take me to make supper right now. It will take 5 minutes. (To call pizza delivery.)

Hey, this way I won’t be late!

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33 comments on “People Always Running Late Are Happier and Healthier”

  1. I was tagged with this post due to my chronic lateness. There will always be haters but I choose to be happy, helpful, optimistic and imperfect when it comes to managing time. I’m almost 60 and despite the volumes of data available to perfect me, I remain flawed. Embrace it. God made me the way I am to be for his purpose.

  2. What a joke… people that are always late are very rude inconsiderate of others. I had 3 special needs children plus rana day care (6 extra kids from newborn to 12 yrs old) and I can honestly say I was never late for anything. In fact if I wasn’t there 5 mins before my appt I was late. If I was going to be late I would call and let them know. Everyone else time is just as valuable as mine. So get off your high horse and plan ahead and start getting ready an hour sooner. And where is the study or is this just a bunch of rude inconsiderate people trying to make yourself look and feel good to be so rude and not value others time. What are you teaching your children by always being late and thinking it is cute? Well I know. You are teaching them that they’re the only ones that matter and everyone else time isn’t important to you.

    1. Thank you for proving the point of this article by giving a clear example of its counter – that people who are always on time are far less happy and/or healthy and lack both intelligence and open-mindedness.

  3. This literally made me laugh out loud. Now every time I’m freaking out trying to get out of the door with my two little girls I will laugh instead of scream my face off. OK maybe not every time but at least a few…

  4. Ooooh, this makes me so happy! I was a mom of 3 sons once, too! Those were the days… Finding shoes under beds… Being 30 minutes late… Eating chocolate and cooking pie…. Then I had another son. There is no other shoe. 90 minutes late. And my blood sugar didn’t resolve after the fourth pregnancy, so…. Boohoo! Seriously, though, I love this post! Thank you!

  5. I’m thinking about how much time it would take me to think about how long it would take me to do everything that I would need to do to prevent me from being late. Lol

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    Charlene Thomas

    That’s why I never go anywhere. I’m chronically ill and something always comes up when I attempt to go somewhere. Tired of people thinking I enjoy being late.

  7. I’m sorry- I am having trouble seeing how the content matches or backs up the title…. Is there a link I’m missing to studies that have shown that chronically late people are healthier and happier? I have four kids, and they have four very different personalities that causes various forms of stress when trying to leave the house. We do run late sometimes… usually when I’ve gotten distracted or not continually reminded them that we have X amount of time before we need to leave. (I give them updates as I am keeping an eye on the clock… when they were tiny, of course, there were different expectations, and most of the legwork of getting them dressed, etc, fell to me).  Kids and adults don’t run late when they are mindful of time… and, I’m sorry, during seasons when I’m often running behind, I am absolutely more stressed and decidedly less happy. And I do feel like it’s my fault. I am not the person who sets outfits out the night before. But I do make sure I give myself and my kids an adequate amount of time to get ready, knowing each of their personalities and how much time they will need. I am not a type A person at ALL (in fact, I’m pretty dang scatter-brained by nature), and I’ve had to work HARD to train myself in better habits of readiness and being organized. I do know that if I’m late, especially for things with friends and family, it does send a message that I’m not being very considerate, and they are rightfully frustrated with us. Most of the time when I’m running late I am, in fact, not prioritizing the thing I’m going to over the thing I’m doing in the moment (like online shopping or reading an article, or perusing social media….) Either that, or I’ve just not planned well. Of course, sometimes crazy stuff happens and being late is unavoidable, but if it’s happening all the time, I try to ask myself what’s behind it and examine my habits.  

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    Tara Camerlengo

    I loved reading this! It’s so accurate, and described my character through and through. I have heard before multitasking is in fact an unhealthy habit, so I try to refrain more so now than before hearing it. I, inevitably get side tracked from tasks ALL the time no matter what I try! It could be that my three year old needs help, or he’s having a melt down, he could even venture off to the point that I need to go find him and be sure he safe over my task at hand, my infant son tends to need nursing at some point that I have to stop what I’m doing every time. How can you estimate a ride when you have no idea how “bad” traffic really is?! I personally have too much to do and not enough time! I probably won’t ever understand how anybody can be bored, or not have anything to do.

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    Tamara Lukens

    My dad always said people who are chronically late are selfish people. They think their time is more important than everyone else’s. And they are late because you allow them to be late. That is true. When my children were small, I would put their shoes away and know what they were going to wear the next day, pack their lunch the night before, prepare everything the night before.  There’s too many things out of your control that can cause a person to be late, take care ahead of time the things you can. And leave in plenty of time according to what the traffic is that time of day. I’m a hair dresser. For 44 years I’ve worked by appointments. My chronically late clients….what my dad said was true. And they’re happier because it doesn’t upset them that they’ve  inconvenienced others. 

    1. Uh not true at all. It always manage to happen when you planned ahead and have everything laid out the night before that your 6 year old refuses to wear the outfit you picked out and your 5 year old move the shoes from were you put them but can’t find them now. While the 3 year old is crying because he can’t go anywhere with out his OTHER cat car, and when you finally found the cat car that hiding under the smallest space under the dresser that you smell what could only be a dead animal in your baby’s diaper and have to undress all the layers of clothes (cause it’s winter)  to change said diaper realizing it managed to sleep through on to his clothes. Little or big KIDS make you late. And some of us are merely humans trying to make it thru the day. 

    2. Avatar photo
      Be nice mommies

      @claudine yes!! Thank you! I experience severe dread/anxiety when I’m late – after the dog refuses to come inside from the fenced in yard, the cat vomits in four spots, the baby has a blow out, or your toddler has a meltdown. People need to realize it’s not all about them. My goal isn’t about disrespecting your time. Life happens. Maybe the reason we are happy and healthy is because we have to be….otherwise we would have an emotional breakdown.

    3. I agree with you completely!! Something always ends up happening no matter how much you plan!! It’s not being selfish. And, about the mental breakdown… so true!!! 

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      Connie Long Chapman

      Absolutely.  Life is hard and some deal with it better than others.  I’m always late…,but worth the wait.  Or so I think anyway.  Anyway who wants to be s type A,  tight a-s, uptight, gotta be perfect type. Even when they laugh, if they do, it’s right on time.  I hope they’re put in their casket wrong side up

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      Doreen Tetui

      So true, life some how happens!! Certain things that happen ain’t necessarily intentional

    1. So true!  Basically they breeze in late and a lot of stuff is taken care of because people know they aren’t reliable.   They make everyone else late and screw everyone’s schedule up. 

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      Neither a bitch nor a wee wee

      I think there’s a difference between being late to important time-sensitive events (such as a doctor’s appointment, meeting, luncheon, or parent teacher conference,) and being late for non-time sensitive things (such as an average corporate 8-7 office job, a leisurely ‘noonish’ weekend brunch, or meeting up with friends for drinks). Clearly, if you have a set appointment or meeting it’s important to be on time, or if your work is literally life or death (doctor, nurse, etc.). But, in most life situations people just need to chill out and relax. Ten minutes really doesn’t matter at all unless you are a super anal person who follows a schedule closely even on vacation. And, no one likes that person. Hopefully, you are only concerned about extremely time sensitive appointments and not just daily casual meet-ups or a 10 hour work shift in a non-urgent and non-meeting situation.

    3. With a user name like this, I’m sure the way you live is all about respecting others… relax everybody, relax….

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      Susan Manning

      To all those perfect people out there that call people like me “selfish & somebody already has it taken care of “ be careful how you judge ..first of all you’re not walking in that persons shoes have no idea what goes on behind their closed doors and most important if you took the time to get to know that “person that’s always late “ you would learn to accommodate their so called “rudeness” & adjust ..let them be the One to clean up after the party not decorate ..schedule their appointments so you might can take a 15 minute break yourself ..that’s what my hair dresser does ..30 years of it..So those of us that are always running late ..hold your head up high proud ..we are happy ..we are funny and without humor what a boring life you must lead..wouldn’t change me for nothing in the world & I promise the last thing I am is selfish or rude☮️❤️

    5. Susan…well said, I myself am always late, I piddle and get distracted in other things…aka multi tasking…I learned a long time ago that life’s too short to be in a hurry, so yeah be late and enjoy life while we still can. I’m been late my whole life, not real late, maybe like 5 minutes or so, but my friends and employers just know and they also know I’m the one that will stay the longest, come in when I’m not suppose, do all the stuff that the perfect people think they are to good to do, so yeah I would say I’m the most reliable even if I am always late.

    6. So untrue.  I’ve fought against being late my entire life.  My Mom used to say that I’d be late for my own funeral.  I am organized, I start getting ready early, I’ve cried about being late, I’ve prayed against being late, but I’m still often late.  I start getting ready for even short trips a week or two in advance, and I’m mostly still late, which I deplore.  It just seems that something happens while I’m getting ready, or I simply don’t feel well, and I’m delayed.  The only way I’m not late is if I’m extremely early, which is a waste of time.  I hate wasting people’s time or putting them out of their way.  Please don’t believe the stereotypes bc they’re often untrue.

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    Evelyn E. Gilbert

    It’s almost/literally my article! In the sense that, I’m always late! Taking two hours to get ready!! OMG! I loved this article ❤️.