October 17, 2015

The Habit of Being on Time

I am one of those people.

I like to be on time or, better yet, early to everything I have to go to.

I have not always been able to be on time due to the occasional unforeseen and/or unexpected circumstances but as far as I am able to control the situation I am on time.  

The key to being on time to commitments, classes, events and such is a stack of other habits I have put into place.  

My List of Habits for Punctuality

1.  I get things ready the night before when I have to be out the door first thing in the morning.  I have, what Flylady calls, a launch pad area where I put bags and things that have to go out the door with me.  

2.  I assess the time it takes to get to places and then add at least 10 minutes to that.  There are apps now that can tell you if there is traffic on your way or other road issues like construction or bad weather.  Give yourself plenty of time so you are not putting yourself and your family in harm's way by being in a big hurry.

3.  I often move the departure time up.  If I need to be somewhere at 6:30 I tell everyone I have to leave by 6:00 instead of 6:15 so no one is pushing the boundary too closely.

4.  I do other prep work like making breakfast items or packing things for lunch the night before.  I spend weekends prepping some meals that can be cooked or reheated quickly during the week so we can be out the door for things like scouts, band, lessons, etc... with a good meal in our stomachs.

5.  I keep my laundry caught up so that we are not looking for something at the last minute only to find that it is dirty and unwearable when we need it.

6.  Keep in mind how long it takes to do something so you know how much time you need to get ready.  I know it takes me about 10 minutes to go through the process of showering and dressing to shoes.  It takes me about 10 - 15 more minutes to do the makeup and hair on Sundays. So, I plan on at least half an hour to get ready in the mornings but give myself a 10 minute buffer just in case.

7.  Don't get distracted.... by your phone, computer, television, reading, etc.  You can always check your e-mail or Facebook once you get to where you are going and are waiting.  Keep that book in your bag or throw it in on the way out the door so you can enjoy a few minutes with it without being rushed.

8.  Everything lives on the calendar as soon as I am made aware of it.  I check the calendar at night before bedtime and again first thing in the morning.  As soon as I am made aware of something I write it down immediately.  

9.  I follow the "early to bed and early to rise" principle.  This is always the plan when I have to be out of the house early.  It takes me about 30 minutes to really be moving well in the morning so I start a half hour before I need to be on the move.  

10.  I keep a current contact list in case I need to notify people we are going to be late.  The band director, the lady I work for, a friend I am meeting... they all get an instant text or call if there is a glitch on the way out the door.  This just happened this week with my husband's car having a flat tire as they were preparing to head to early band rehearsal.  We were able to text the director immediately and let him know the kids were going to be a few minutes late.  We switched vehicles and revamped our plan for the day.  Things do come up and sometimes you are late but have a contingency plan when possible and work ahead of schedule just in case.  

One thing I have learned...

My husband and I are very different in how we approach time management and punctuality.  He has a "one more thing" rule and I have to admit that he is often late to things because of this but it does not bother him to be late like it does me.  He pushes the time on every task he does.  He is always trying to fit one more thing in between getting ready to leave and getting somewhere.

I don't think he would be happy following my rule... the "hurry up and wait" rule.   He doesn't see the need for free time when he can pack more productivity into the crevices of his day.  He fills his time with very little time to spare and does not like to be early or have to wait.  He will if it happens but it is not his favorite.

I, on the other hand, have absolutely no issue showing up early and sitting and waiting on something or someone.  I always have a book, a bullet journal, or something else to keep me busy during that time of waiting.  

If you really think about it we have the same idea in mind because we want to be proactive or productive with our time.  The only difference is that I will show up early and then wait but he wants to work up to the last possible minute and then get there a few minutes late.  

This has caused a little stress for us but I can only control me... so I do.  This is truly a personality thing with us.  We have to live with other people... at home... at work... at church.  Be flexible with others.  Again, you can only control you in the end.  Do your best to be courteous of other people's time and extend grace to those around you when they don't follow your personal rules for you.  

Do you struggle to get places on time?

Have you ever forgotten to be somewhere due to lack of planning?

Do you have a system for being on time?

Further Reading on Time Management:


  1. I'm the same way. I hate being late or waiting on other people because they are late. I always add extra to our departure time. One thing I did early as a mom was to train my children to "load up" - go straight to the van and buckle in - when I tell them. That way when I climb in the van we are ready to roll.

    1. I can honestly say I don't miss the "buckling everyone in" phase. LOL That made me so tired!

  2. In this, we are soul sisters. True, I only have me to manage, but I'm always early, always prepared and always have a book with me. Actually, I've been trying to work a bit on not being early, if only because my best friend is starting to be late...as in we said nine or shortly thereafter for the start of craft day at my house, and she showed up at 10:30. I may have to reevaluate that friendship, LOL.

    1. You are hilarious.... that is awfully late, though... LOL

  3. These are great rules! I, too, tend to plan my time down to the minute. I have lists and lists of lists. Your final point, however, really resonates with me: We can control ourselves, but we can't control others efforts to respect our time, processes, or priorities. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Thank you, Sara. I am glad something I said was helpful. I am so glad you stopped by. :)