How do you perceive time? Does have anything to do with your personality? Let’s take a journey down how individuals perceive time and what it says about them.

Time perception

The individual’s attitude to time differs because, the perception to time, though different, confers on every individual some qualities or characteristics. The way an individual treat time develops out of his experiences, background, genetic make-up and attitude to life. The individual may be one who is strict with time and does not waste time at all. Another may be one who is never punctual. He may be a latecomer and no matter the experiences he had because of this problem, he continues to come late. The carefree time preceptor, however, does not look at time as a consumable item for he follows where time moves him. These categories of people have peculiar ways of behaviour and manner of communication arising from their perception of time. The various categories under review consist of the following:-

i The “punctualist”

The punctualist is known through the fact that one can set one’s time by their actions. If the say that they will be at a place or do something at a particular time, they will always keep to time. They are the category of people who are said to be dead on time. They keep to time and deadline if there are no extraneous circumstances beyond their capacity.The punctualists are likely to be individuals who experienced independence and self-sufficiency early in life. They are forced to lean on themselves and their Creator; so, they tend to be strict with themselves and others. They are disciplinarians with a great amount of self-discipline and very time conscious in all things. They tend to be workaholic.

The punctualists control time rather than allow time to control them. This they are able to do because of their self-discipline. They are astute planners with a lot of foresight and greater attention to details. They maximise time and hate those who waste time. In planning, they think of obstacles on their way and make allowance for such. As one bent towards conservatism, their words are their bond. When they trust, they trust but when they cannot trust a person again they lose the trust in such people totally. The punctualists tend to be fixed in their perceptions, beliefs and convictions. People look upon them as being inflexible, rigid or highly principled. The easiest way of picking them out is knowing what they do if they are late for appointment. In case one gives them appointment and the person who gives the appointment is late, they are always fretful, restless and worried while waiting. The punctualists are not afraid of taking contrary positions. They are able to be alone rather than follow majority to carry out what they think is wrong. In communicating with others, their diction, writing and speaking are precise, concise, exact and formal. They are sharp-witted and they use a lot of restrained non-verbal cues. In interpersonal relationship with punctualists, one is expected to keep to their time schedule most especially if they give deadlines. In case one of them is one’s superior at work, one is expected to come earlier than they do and carry out whatever they say. If one disagrees, one should try not to point it out at the time because the more you try to do so the greater and more obstinate the punctualist becomes. The overall philosophy of the punctualist can be summarised as “Time waits for no one,” “whatever you can do, do it now” or ‘punctuality is the soul of business’.


(ii) The latecomer

The latecomer does not control time but time controls him. It is rare for him to keep to time. He does not apologise if he wastes time or he does not keep an appointment. When he comes in after being late he behaves as if all is well. He waits for things to happen rather than make them happen. He is not as self- disciplined as the punctualist. He looks at time as something that is there for use. In his language use, the latecomer is not as exact as the punctualist. He is a flexible individual and he rarely takes a stand, as the punctualist will do. He is not rigid and fixed in his perceptions, beliefs or convictions. He lacks the ability to maximize time like the punctualist. He rarely puts himself forward for leadership but when he is a leader; he finds it difficult to discipline those below him. He has got more warmth than the punctualist and is not aloof in dealing with others. His philosophy of life is “God’s time is the best”. He is laid back and relaxed when dealing with issues. In speaking or writing, the latecomer lacks the ability to use exact words; rather he is involved in rigmarole and going round the issue. This is also reflected in his decision taking and making style.


(iii) The carefree individual

The carefree individual’s perception to time is like that of a “reed in a tide”. Time takes him to where time likes. He has no fixed position on issues. He does not plan at all. He only does what he feels like doing at a particular time. Life to him is without a fixed pattern and everything goes in his dealing with others and himself. He may be successful because opportunities do come to him and he maximizes them any time they come. If he accumulates wealth or materials, these are dissipated when he is no more around because he lacks attachment to what he owns. There is also the possibility that he has no plan or even a will stating what he wants done concerning such property. The carefree does not follow an exact way of speaking or writing. He uses any style that appeals to him. He is less of a formal dresser and very unpredictable in whatever he wants to do. His philosophy of life is “what will be will be”.

In dealing with people, one needs to understand that the above compartmentalisations are not rigid. Every individual has a part in him and crises, situations or traumatic experience can change the time perception of any individual. For example, the carefree time preceptor may become a strict punctualist if through experience, he is not able to achieve his ambition or goal and he can trace such to his carefree attitude to time. The knowledge of the above helps the individual to plan how to deal with any of the groups above. It also helps one to cope with friends, colleagues or peers who fall into one of the categories above. This helps interpersonal relationship a lot.

Whatever your time perception, it works with your time orientation.  What’s your TIME ORIENTATION?


One thought on “your time.

  1. Time is so precious that one must not allow a second waste. Knowing what time is all about will help an individual to take advantage of it at every point in time when needed. For instance, a punctualist will never condole a time waster but, a late comer will always appreciate someone like himself, while a care free person will not mind whatever happens at a particular point in time. My own philosophy of time is “tick says the clock, what you have do do quick”.


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