Chronic Lateness

Time Management is a topic of discussion in a variety of different professions and industries. The Wall Street Journal recently tackled the topic of lateness in their article “We Know Why You’re Always Late” (

The article discusses the chronically late. “One main explanation for their behavior is deceptively simple, psychologists say: People simply underestimate how long a task will take.” I find the use of the word simple over simplistic.

Justin Kruger, a social psychologist and professor in the marketing department at NYU’s Stern School of Business comments, “There are all sorts of disincentives and punishments for being late, and the paradox is we’re late even when those punishments and consequences exist.” The ability to accurately estimate how long a task will take to complete is a complex Executive Function skill. As with all EF skills, when it all comes together, it looks so simple. For some, awareness of the need to estimate the time involved coupled with the accuracy of this estimate is intuitive. However this skill requires modeling, direct instruction and cues for most.

Time Estimation is a component of the “T” in GOSTRONG (TIMING) and is an essential step in successful planning and the execution of goal directed behavior. As adults, we should share our inner dialogue regarding our Time Estimations with children.

“I’m thinking it will take us 15 minutes to drive to your game.
If you need to be there at 2:00, we should leave at 2:15.”

“I’m planning on this project taking 3 days of class time.
Since we are beginning on Tuesday, we will be finished by Thursday.”

We should also be routinely asking for estimates. Practice with any skill is essential to accomplishment and Time Estimation is no different. The more opportunity we provide children to practice, the better.

How do the other letters in GOSTRONG address chronic lateness? Look for upcoming blogs on this topic.