African Time: Getting late to an event is something that is frowned upon by every serious minded person but that is something a lot of Africans, particularly Nigerians have come to take as part of their lives. It is unfortunate that ‘African Time’ has become so ingrained in our culture that we no longer care about the effects it has on us.
Tardiness affects us all in a lot of ways. From the financial implications to perception, it has taken quite a lot from the African continent as a whole. It is thus important that everyone especially employers and event organisers do all they can to put into effect a lateness policy that can help to prevent the situation from escalating and reduce any financial burden that may be incurred as a result of lateness.
Loss of Productivity
Whether it’s getting late to work or to a party, there is an apparent loss of productivity by doing so. An employed person that is supposed to be at work by 8 AM but resumes by 10 AM is contributing to a loss of productivity. Arriving late at a party also throws the schedule of the event off and will usually hinder productivity at a higher level than the latecomers can realise.
Employees that arrive late at work will usually disrupt the normal flow of work especially if it is a time-sensitive area they handle. Employees that are in charge of opening the office at a specific time but arrive late may cause the company to lose customers if they are not there as at when needed. Multiple incidents of poor customer service will affect the reputation of the company and discourage other potential customers. More so, people that attend events scheduled for a particular time but which kicks off late are usually unhappy because they may have another appointment to keep by the time the event kicks off.
Because a lot of people are already accustomed to arriving late at events, it affects the morale of other people that arrive early at events. If it is at a workplace, there’s a possibility that employees that arrive early will feel dissatisfied and angry making them feel unfair about the situation. This may result in reduced morale especially if they have to cover for the late person at work.
How To Overcome African Timing
While it may seem like a tough call to keep to time and avoid getting late to work or events, you can transform yourself from a chronic latecomer to a punctual person. Learn to make deadlines non-negotiable by starting with something that is easily attainable such as setting your alarm early and stopping yourself from hitting the snooze button.
If you find it difficult to commit to such a small inconvenience, then you’re not ready to let go of your African Timing. Experiment by getting to an event on time just once to have a taste of what it feels like. If you feel proud of yourself, you’re on the way to getting better.
Adjust your Time
For 2 weeks, write down the task you set out to do and the time you believe it will take for you to finish the tasks. Time yourself as you go through your list of activities such as taking a bath, eating, wearing your clothes and getting to work or the event. Write out the estimated time it took you to complete these tasks. This is essential as a lot of people set unrealistic time frames in their minds.
Be Happy With Waiting
If you’re scared of arriving early, you may want to plan something that will keep you busy while you wait. Take a magazine along with you or surf the internet with your phone. Try and make whatever activity you plan to do as compelling and specific as possible so that you’d have extra motivation to arrive early.
Don’t Plan To Be On Time
The problem with having an African Time mindset is that you probably aim to arrive at exactly the time the event will kick off which doesn’t leave any room for contingencies such as traffic. It’s best not to take chances and arrive at least 20 minutes before the commencement of an event.