Human Being Late

Being late is not something that happens by accident. There are a number of necessary requirements for not arriving on time, and failing to fulfil even one of these may result in showing up within a reasonable hour.

Even without any prior engagements, there are still a number of obstacles to be navigated if the first half an hour of any obligation is to be successfully and unintentionally avoided.

Let’s consider an example, one of my own experiences that demonstrate many of the important considerations for the prospective late-comer.

On the 23rd of August, I was able to arrive a full half-an-hour late for a 45-minute guest lecture. Far more useful than a self-congratulatory ode to such an achievement, I decided, would be an analysis of what exactly allowed me to be so successfully unhurried for such an important obligation.

These are the strategies that allowed me to perform such a daring, successful and unintentional late arrival.


Firstly, missing planned events is made substantially more difficult with a full nights sleep. An 11:25 lecture, for example, may appear to be an 11:25 lecture to the well-rested eye, but only with 2 hours of sleep can it be misread as a 12:20.


Secondly, there is no such thing as being too underprepared. Preparing your bag the night before, selecting tomorrow’s clothes before going to bed, these are all forms of preparation that could seriously inhibit a successful late arrival. Avoid them will undoubtedly make missing your 11:25 that much easier.


Finally, no one ever missed an appointment without a full plate of small and distant obligations that were deemed far more important than they really were. Need to visit the bank before the end of the week? Considering fetching a pair of scissors from a friend’s house on the other end of town? Performing these errands an hour before your lecture will drastically increase your chances of arriving late.

I was able, with the successful application of all these strategies, to arrive late for my 11:25 lecture on the 24th of August. With these skills, you will be able to miss even the most liberally scheduled meetings. Ask my guest lecturer, who despite being a professional and successful person in a field familiar only to those who failed to arrive late to his lecture, managed to be late for his trip to the airport following his 11:25 presentation to the 3rd year Journalism students.

Whether you are a student with minimal restrictions on your time, or a successful professional addressing university students, know this; Being late is only a series of small, considered measures away. So lets review.

Sleep: Cut it out. Getting enough Z’s is a sure fire way to jeopardize your untimely arrival.

Preparation: Don’t do it. Doing something the night before to better prepare for the morning rush will drastically reduce the amount of time it will take to get to lectures.

Prioritisation: Keeping a sense of what obligations need to be addressed first will only result in you getting to all your appointments woefully on time.

I learnt these lessons so you don’t have to. Remember, being late is never a choice. It’s a lifestyle, and with enough resistance to hard work and discipline, you too can turn your comfortable and productive weeks into a continual struggle.


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