Friday, May 7, 2010


I believe that a lot of people in today’s modern world suffer from “The On-Time Syndrome” which creates unnecessary stress in their life. This is not a scientific term – so save the Google search. It’s my own little phrase and I think people can develop the syndrome at a young age. Individuals who get overly anxious about always being on time might have the On-Time Syndrome. Concerned that you, a friend or family member might have it? Read on….

As Americans we live in a culture that values being “On Time”. And the consequences of not being on time can be huge.

If you’re a student, there is this annoying bell that broadcasts to the whole school that you are late to class. And schools have these systems to show you that being late is not a good thing – demerits, detentions, strikes (or maybe your school has another snazzy name for their discipline system).

And the consequences don’t end as we enter adulthood. There are whole sections of Employee Handbooks dedicated to “Attendance Policies”. If an employee is continually late it could “result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment”.

But maybe you move up the corporate ladder and don’t have to worry about these policies because you are in charge. So being late is no problem because you’re the Big Boss? Right…Wrong! Try showing up late to a meeting with a potential client who is going to invest big dollars in your company…..the client will probably move on to another company that values their time.

And the importance of being on time does not end in the school and business world. Think about how many flowers are sold in the world every day to guys who need to apologize to their girlfriend or wife for being late….

Now think about how you FEEL when you are running late and worrying about the consequences. Your pulse quickens, your mind races, you start to sweat, the muscles in your neck tense. This is STRESS. And frequent or prolonged stress has tons of negative consequences (

If you get overly anxious about always being on time, I’m sorry to inform you of this… but you might have the On-Time Syndrome!

So how do you overcome this syndrome and enjoy less stress?

• If you are running late and there is nothing you can do about it, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you or the others involved will remember your tardiness 6 months or a year from now. Once you realize that the long-term effects are not huge, you can chill and not get so stress out. If the long-term effects are huge, know that you have the ability to get through the consequences and your life will be ok.

• Have confidence in your abilities to win over the annoyed individual(s) who are waiting for you with your charm and people skills.

• Don’t be an optimist when estimating how much travel time you will need or how much you can fit in. Take a look at your schedule each day and decide which events you can’t be late to – and then leave plenty of time to get to those events. Then take a mental note of the events where people won’t even notice if you are late (you can leave less of a buffer for these events).

• If you’re conscientious about always being on time and it is stressing you out, be late once and while if it will not hinder your success or relationships. If you have the reputation of always being on time, maybe you need to lower both your expectations and the expectations of others. You can actually change your Rep and be more like some of your Type B friends (who everyone loves even if they are late once and a while).

We live in a competitive world where there is not enough time in the day to get everything done that we need to (let alone what we want to) – which can result in us running late. But as stated above we also live in a country where being on time is important in our school, social and business environments. And some of us are more inclined to be conscientious about being on time than others. These 3 factors create a collision course for the On-Time Syndrome and the stress is not worth it. So I encourage you to find a balance between being punctual and not stressing out by following the advice above.

If you are a teenager or college student and want to avoid ever coming down with the On-Time Syndrome, I encourage you to connect with a LIFE REVOLUTION Coach. He or she can assist you with developing some time management strategies that can help you naturally be on time, more of the time.

Clark Souers

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