We all know people who are never on time (or never deliver on time) but why do we continue to be late when there are so many disincentives? One often overlooked factor is the personality type of the individual.
According to a study in the journal of Human Performance, Type A people tend to be punctual and underestimate time e.g. they estimated that a minute passed in 58 seconds. Type B people overestimated a minute by 17 seconds. When the two types are working together that 18 second gap can add up. In addition to misperceiving time, most people underestimate the time it takes to complete a task (regardless of type of task) by 40% according to studies by Roger Buehler, a psychology professor at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.
Research suggests two strategies are most effective in helping you finish on time. First, according to a study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, picturing the task from the perspective of an outside observer helps you make more realistic predictions about how long something will take. Second, breaking down the task into very detailed steps helped individuals make more accurate estimates. Before you commit to a timeframe, just taking a moment to think through what’s involved will improve your estimate and help you manage expectations.
Some individuals may have a medical condition like ADHD, OCD, or depression that impact their ability to deliver or show up on time. They may require treatment that could include therapy for time management. If you work with such an individual don’t attempt to diagnose them. Bring your concerns to the person and if things don’t get resolved bring it to attention of their manager. It’s the manager’s role to help them deliver on time.