The Cost of Being Late

Most of us feel that it’s important to be on time for work, school and other engagements, but there are some people that have a hard time making it all work.  Since the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result” I thought it might be useful to shed some light on something more tangible with regard to being late, the cost. 

I believe that if you can actually see the costs associated with tardiness it might be a stronger motivation for making some minor life-hacks to become a timelier person. 


Being late when travelling can be extremely expensive.  Imagine that you’re headed to the airport and are running late for your flight.  You’ll be tempted to drive like you’re in the Indy 500 to make sure you make your flight.  If you’re lucky enough not to get a speeding ticket you’ll probably have to park in the closer hourly section once you arrive.  Additionally, if you miss your flight you could have to pay additional fees for rescheduling or moving other connecting flights.  It can definitely create a huge mess.


The effects of tardiness with your finances are typically pretty obvious, but it wouldn’t be right for me to leave them out.  Not only do most companies charge you for being late, but one of the worst cases is that many credit cards will increase your interest rate on top of charging you late fees.  It pays to make sure your finances are addressed in a timely manner.


Aside from the fact that you might be fired if you’re frequently late for work, managers are less likely to promote someone who is frequently late.  Many employers will track your tardiness over a period of time and may eventually terminate you for it.  You might be lucky enough to  scoot by for a time, but eventually it will catch up with you.


As if the items above aren’t terrible enough, you should also keep in mind the personal costs.  First, it can create added stress for you and the people around you.  Second, it begins to eat at your reputation.  People that are chronically late are typically viewed as having less integrity that their timely peers.  Remember that you are what other people think you are so guard your reputation!

Late Personality Types

Dr.  DeLonzor, the author of “Never Be Late Again”, knows her subject, because she was once chronically late, too.  She places the chronically late into seven categories:

The rationalizer has a hard time acknowledging responsibility for lateness and tends to blame outside circumstances.

The producer wants to squeeze as much into every minute as possible; they are always busy.

The deadliner subconsciously enjoys the last-minute sprint to the finish line; they feel more alive when running out of time.

The indulger exercises less self-control; tends to procrastinate.

The rebel resists authority and everyday rules; might run late as a form of control.

The absent-minded professor is easily distracted, forgetful and caught up in their own introspection.

The evader feels anxiety about his or her environment and tries to control it; their own needs or routine come before being on time.

Ways to decrease chances of tardiness

Keeping the personality types above in mind in would require much more space to delve into many suggestions for how to alter your life, but I would be pretty rude to sit here and whine about people being late without providing some suggestions for how to make it better.  

·         Don’t check e-mail / voicemail right before you need to leave – This one is pretty simple, but many people still want to check their messages near their exit time.  If you’re leaving in the next hour avoid checking.

·         Set your clocks ahead by random amounts – If you can set 3 or 4 clocks ahead by 5 to 15 minutes each you’ll always leave early.  After a while you’ll learn what the “real” time is and that’s your signal to readjust the clocks again. 

·         Fill your gas at ¼ tank –If you’re having issues being on time then you don’t want to risk needing to fill up on the way to an important appointment.  If you make sure to fill up every time you reach a ¼ tank of gas you’ll never have this happen to you.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article.  Please leave your comments and ideas for other ways that we pay for being late.