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What is my major malfunction? - MegaZone's Safety Valve
The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
zonereyrie
zonereyrie
What is my major malfunction?
Why the hell am I always late for things? I don't *want* to be late. I don't think it is funny, even if I do joke about it. I don't enjoy being an asshole. I don't like pissing off my friends, or having a reputation for always being late. I don't really care for the jokes about how it must be the end of the world when I'm not the last one to a gathering - but the fact is that the jokes are only told because it *is* weird when I'm not. People just *expect* me to be late. Friends budget for the 'Zoner being late' factor, and they shouldn't have to.

Why do I continually try to sabotage myself like this? I'll plan to leave early, and I'm still late. I know when I have to be somewhere, and how long it will take, and I walk out the door late enough that I'll have to speed all the way to have any *hope* of being on time. And I'm usually late.

And then I get a nice new job, and I come in late. No excuse, no reason. I don't even know *why* I was late! My alarms went off, I got up, I didn't turn on the TV or the computer (other than to sync my Visor - no login, no web, nada - on, press sync, walk away, come back later, off). But I was still very late. It is like I just zombified for a while and lost 30 minutes somewhere.

Now I've started my day all pissed off, with myself, and stressed out.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

I am: angry angry

6 STDOUT || STDIN
Comments
From: jehanna Date: November 25th, 2002 07:56 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
*hugs*

I'm sorry. I had no idea the kidding bothered you. Now that I know, I certainly won't again.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 25th, 2002 08:10 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Thanks. The joking doesn't bother me so much in and of itself. What bothers me is that people have a reason to joke in the first place - it bothers me that I'm late. And I'm sure people think I just don't care if I'm a prick. But I *do* care and I get really, really pissed off with myself all the time because of this assinine habit. Most of the time I can't explain what made me late. It seems like even if I leave early I find a way to be late. I have *no* sense of time. Having a Visor and setting alarms, etc, has helped - a lot - but not completely.

I'm just venting a bit because I just started this job, and I like it, and they like me, and I don't need to be doing shit like showing up 45 minutes late without a reason. And I certainly don't need to add stress to my own life, or to the lives of people I care about. It isn't fair to you when I'm late for dinner, etc.

It is one of my self-destructive habits that I haven't overcome yet. So it bugs me.
kviri From: kviri Date: November 25th, 2002 11:21 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Well... let's see. Here are some thoughts on the matter, from the point of view of someone who lived with you for 2+ years (and was usually too aggravated when this topic became relevant to examine it rationally at the time).

Every morning for a week or so, keep close track of time... and make sure the times you take note of are the real times. Take note of when you leave the bedroom, not when you shut off the alarm. Take note of when you go into the bathroom, when you get into the shower, when you get out of the shower, and when you leave the bathroom. Etc. Every step. Make a new file in your Visor if you have to, so that you'll remember them, and know at the end of the week which were the "normal" times and which were the anomalies.

I really think this is an important one, because many times, you'll say that "it only takes me /NUMBER minutes to /DOSOMETHING", and I'll know you believe it, but also know that you're wrong. (Case in point... sleeping in the room next to the bathroom meant that I was usually awakened by people going in the bathroom, and it was easy to tell when they came out. And since I could see the alarm clock from my bed, I think had a clearer idea of the time you spent in there than you did.)

I also know my own tendencies in this regard... one day, I'll finish a task in some unusually short amount of time, and that will be the time I remember. "Hey, I got from my workplace to WPI in 45 minutes during rush hour," I'll think. But I'll neglect to consider that traffic was obscenely light that day, and that I didn't have to stop for gas, and that I hit every light between 290 and WPI... and then I'll be confused the next time when it takes me an hour (or longer). I think there's a natural tendency for people's estimates to degrade in accuracy over time if they don't periodically make a point of "recalibrating" often enough to get an accurate sampling.

(And while you're at it, make a point of noting your worst-case times, too... and go by them when punctuality is most important.)

That's a medium-to-long-term approach (and applies to more than just job stuff). Short term...

Job: Try looking for bits of your "morning ritual" that you can move to the preceding night. Choose and set out your clothes before you go to bed. Put all of your workstuff that doesn't need to be recharged in one spot, right next to the door. Also, if there's anything that you find yourself just sitting and waiting for in the morning (Visor sync?), make a point of kicking it off right before you go to do something else (showering?). And make sure that your alarm clock is actually in sync with the actual time (or, at least, no further off than you think it is). They're little improvements, but they add up, just like the little delays do.

Dinner & Such: If it's an afternoon/evening engagement on a weekend day (and thus the first thing you have to do that day), set a time well before the event (leave yourself at LEAST an extra hour) by which you need to be ready to head out the door, and force yourself to stick to it. I'm not talking about having every last chore finished... I just mean making sure that every chore relating to the event is finished. Get dressed, pull your stuff together, print the directions, whatever... and then do whatever else needs doing that day. That way, if you have to punt something because you're running late, you're at least not punting the thing that you're running late for. And if it's anywhere far away, research the Holy Trinity of travel delays: Bad Weather, Accidents, and Confusing Routes. (Weather.com, SmarTraveler, and MapQuest are your friends, but only if you consult them more than a half hour ahead of time.)
bouncingleaf From: bouncingleaf Date: November 25th, 2002 09:09 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yup. I've been known to completely beat the crap out of myself emotionally for being late to stuff, so I can identify with this.

Partly for me it was what women call "the superwoman trap" (I bet there's an equivalent phenomenon for guys though). This is the belief that I can really do Everything, and in No Time At All. That if I have a half hour to get ready, I'm going to be able to shower, get dressed, check email, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and find my stuff for whatever I'm going to in that time. I know now that I just can't do that; that in a half hour I can shower, dress, and go, without all the rest. Even if email will take "just a minute," even if brushing my teeth takes hardly any time at all.


What's helped me:
- Doing Less. Letting go of the need to accomplish N things in the next hour, or in the time between now and when I leave.
- Having a list of what I need in order to be ready for (work, school, whatever). This way when I'm groggy in the morning, I just go down the list. Once I've got everything done, I leave with no further delay.
- Overestimating the time it takes to get places or do stuff. People look at me funny when I tell them I'm leaving an hour and a half to get somewhere they think is only an hour away. Tough :) I'm not a girly-girl, I don't put on makeup, I don't style my hair, I don't fuss with my clothes... but I still leave myself an hour to get ready for anything. Also: I try to avoid the trap of overestimating and then thinking "ah good, now I have time to [log in, balance my checkbook, wash dishes, etc]"
- I count out, or time, how long it takes to do things. I race myself. I see if I can take a shower in 5 minutes, or put my socks on by the count of ten, or whatever. This has helped me in two ways: it helps me get a realistic sense of how longs thing take me ("okay, I can't do this in any less than 10 minutes") and it helps me get a sense of how quickly things *can* go ("hmm, if I rush I really can get this done in 5 and not 15.")
- Anything else I can do to get that sense of how long things Really take me.
- A sense that I hate rushing, and refuse to have that kind of stress in my life.
- Avoiding anything where I know I lose track of time, unless I have hours to spare. For me I've learned that talking with my roommate, being online, and playing games all fall into this category.
- Avoiding anything that doesn't get me towards my goal of leaving. This means doing dishes, cleaning my room, folding laundry, scrubbing the bathtub... no matter how useful.

What has NOT helped me:
- Pretending that something starts a half hour earlier than it does. I still have in my mind the "real deadline" and I find I'm still operating on that.
- Changing my clocks.
- Beating myself up about it.
- A sense that I hate aggravating people I care about. While this is true, and while I've been ashamed to be late and inconvenience friends or family (especially family; I have big hang ups about timeliness and my family recognizing me as a responsible adult), I don't find that it gets me to modify my behavior, unfortunately. Maybe the stress of having upset a friend (who may not even let me know they are upset) isn't as immediate a deterrent after an hour in the car as the stress of rushing through my morning and trying to hurry traffic.
- Wearing a watch, oddly. I carry a cell phone; when I want to know the time, it's there. I guess NOT wearing a watch has maybe helped in that I think "It's close to 3, I should go" instead of "I've got 8 minutes before 3, that's enough time to..."

YMMV, of course, and for all I know you've tried all this.

gizmoek From: gizmoek Date: November 25th, 2002 10:27 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
:( *hug* you just need to get into a good routine and force yourself to get some sleep at night. don't worry.
autumnesquirrel From: autumnesquirrel Date: November 25th, 2002 11:05 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah. What she said. Getting enough sleep is a good thing. If I don't get enough sleep or don't sleep well huge chunks of my day tend to be taken up by me starting into space trying to process things. Each new activity takes some sort of active focus to get started and as soon as something is done I space out again. This is why I don't get up before 6 unless I absolutely have to. Anything much before 6 and I'm not leaving the house any sooner than I would have getting up at 6 unless I really push because of how hard it is to focus on the things that need to get done.
6 STDOUT || STDIN