How to Never Be Late Again

Curing chronic lateness takes a specific type of soul-searching

Allie Volpe
Forge
Published in
5 min readNov 9, 2018

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Illustration: IR_Stone/Getty

If I have ever sent you a text saying, “Running a little late but on my way!” at the exact time we were supposed to meet, chances are I’m still in bed. In a towel. Fresh out of the shower.

I don’t try to be tardy, contrary to popular belief among my friends. The problem is that I like to complete as many tasks as possible before I leave the house, and I tend to underestimate how long those tasks will take. Deep down, I know I don’t have time to clean the whole apartment or get to inbox zero — but if I don’t do it now, I’ll ruminate over it all night. Against my better judgment, I keep checking off to-do list items until the last possible second.

Psychologist Linda Sapadin, who specializes in helping people beat their procrastination habits, would call me an “overdoer.” It’s one of the six lateness personality types outlined in her book It’s About Time! The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them. The overdoer’s plate is typically filled, and they can always find something to occupy any downtime. But, Sapadin says, they don’t know when to say “let me put this away” versus “let me finish reading this whole newspaper.” Basically, I’m terrible at deprioritizing unimportant busy work, and it totally derails my day.

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Allie Volpe
Forge
Writer for

Writes about lifestyle, trends, and pop psychology for The Atlantic, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Washington Post, and more.