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Why some people are always late…

… and others are very organised. How we process and perceive time is a topic that fascinates many and well as causes a lot of frustration in family, work and friendships. The main reason is that there are two quite different types of people and one does not always have a great deal of understanding of the other.

Let’s unpack this!

  • An In-time person looks at time as if the timeline of the day/week is “under their feet” and they are in the middle of the timeline (with time ‘passing through” them). Usually they are great at being present in the moment, but they often struggle to predict how long an action will take. That’s why they are often late for deadlines, meetings or other events. If you talk to them about something that happened in the past event, they will usually see/feel that this is behind them and would talk about literally ‘looking back’ in time. Something that is in the future is therefore usually in front of them.
  • Through-time peopleinstead look at time as if they have their entire timeline in front of them and the timeline (past to future) runs from their left to their right or the other way around. They are not “on top of” their timeline, but look at it more from the outside and are therefore much better at planning and and being punctual. Very rarely does their time-line “pass through” them.

When it comes to transitions, relocation and big life changes this makes a huge difference. People who see their timeline more from the outside (through time people) are better at planning and taking consistent action, but they forget to tune into the feeling in the moment when a great thing is achieved. The In-time people on the other hand are much better at celebrating and dedicating to something in the moment and “loose track of time” doing something they really enjoy, but they sometimes lack the ability to plan this around other key things in their life and end up rushing around a lot.

I’d encourage you to observe your friends and family this holiday season and see what fits in the most for the people around you. Often one type of person will attract it’s opposite and many of my clients describe the partner they are with to be their opposite when it comes to time, planning and being present.

As you can probably tell by now, there is not one type that is better than the other, but they simply need to manage expectations and relationships quite differently. Which of these time concepts is most in line with how you see yourself?