Scientific reasons why being late for an important date can be great

Nicola arrived into this world on December 24 as she intended to go on... late.'

Friday, 12th October 2018, 4:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th October 2018, 7:34 am
Anyone else get a lot of these sent to the inbox?

The opening line of a speech given by Mr Jaques in celebration of his eldest child’s 21st year – what he failed to add is technically I was on time for Christmas, which to me evens the score.

The excuses for my tardiness over the years have become as legendary as the issue with time-keeping itself.

Barely a week runs without some clever spark tagging or sending me some meme or gif relating to my punctuality disorder.

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The most recent was, “When that one friend who’s always late arrives on time...” with mouths agasp, one of the favourites was a T-shirt adorned with ‘running late is my cardio.’

Another, a clock a friend suggested I put up in my kitchen, which simply read ‘I am late’ around the clock face.

There’s a whole lingo for those like myself who are partial to running five mostly 20 minutes behind any given appointment or life event.

Some will be familiar with “I’ll be with you in two minutes” translated and understood as “I’m just getting in the shower.”

The text that reads “I’m setting off now” aka once dressed, have had a cup of tea, run a few household errands, found the keys, made a phone call and maybe stopped off en-route for petrol.

Being perpetually late is not something you take particular joy in or claim to be proud of; I’m now on the receiving end of my own dad’s frustrations growing up, driven to distraction by those dreaded extra five minutes on the morning school run.

In my close circle, I am the white rabbit of the friendship group, “Nicola time” is a thing – “We’ll see you at 7.30” they know, I know, the table is booked for 8pm.

But as it happens, if the studies are right, it’s good news for those with us with difficulties in time management, we are actually winning at life.

If it’s science who can argue with that?

“Tardiness is a common trait of people who are successful, creative, and optimistic.”

Scientists put it down to high levels of optimism and a positive outlook which leads the brain to believe the ‘late person’ has more time on their hands than they actually do.

And according to researchers at Harvard Medical School, “research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.”

So I’m likely to live longer too.

It is also proven ‘creative types’ perceive time differently, a study on ‘type A’ and ‘type B’ people whereby they were made to guess how long they thought a minute was: ‘type A’ averaged guesses of 58 seconds, whereas ‘type B’ answered 77 seconds.

That gives me a whole extra 17 seconds for every minute in my day, making use of it in a productive way is a column for another day...

So while it might be a standing joke in the office each day as to the estimated time of arrival between the hours of 9 and 10am you can count on me to turn up with a smile on my face... well most days anyway.