Whether I am going to a doctor’s appointment or going to see a movie with the family, I always try my best to arrive on time. There is nothing I hate worse than being the last person to arrive. Whenever you arrive late at a buffet, you miss all the good food. When you arrive late to the movie theatre, you miss all the new movie trailers. If you arrive late to church, you have to sit all the way in the back – or worse – the overflow room. I am a punctuality princess now, but I wasn’t always this way. Arriving on time took discipline and a major mindset change.
When I first became a mom almost a decade ago (time flies!) I never arrived anywhere on time. As a new mom, I didn’t know if I should get the baby dressed first, or if I should feed him first, or if I should get myself dressed first and get him ready after. Thinking back now, I honestly don’t know how I made it through that chaotic time in my life. It all seems like a blur now. It took almost an entire year before I started to become efficient in getting us ready to leave the house.
With each child we had, I got a little better, a little faster. Now at almost thirty years old and three kids later, I finally no longer have anxiety about getting us ready and leaving the house with my kids. For a long time, I would stress out every time I knew we had a scheduled appointment to attend.
As my kids got older, it became easier to get them dressed and ready to leave the house. Although we were able to get out of the house faster, I still found myself struggling to make it places on time. At that point in my life, my lateness was not caused by punctuality issues, but because I struggled with depression, crippling stress, and social anxiety. During this time in my life, I didn’t arrive on time for anything because I just didn’t really want to go.
Diagnose the problem behind your punctuality issues.
Some people are always late because they have a discipline problem. Maybe it’s hard for them to get out of the bed in the morning, they are easily distracted, or they are lazy when it comes to setting priorities. Although lateness seems like a small problem to some, sometimes we have to be honest with ourselves. What is really causing me to always be late? When you diagnose the problem behind your punctuality issues, it becomes easier to pinpoint the problem and make better choices.
If you are always late because of anger, stress, or anxiety, you may need to examine your schedule. Never feel obligated to attend anything you don’t want to. It is OK to say “no thank you” to any opportunity that comes your way. Many times I found myself going to things because I was a people-pleaser. I wore myself out by saying YES to everyone and everything. When it comes to mental health, please remember, your needs come first.
Whatever the reason behind your tardiness, it’s time to make a change. Lateness is never accepted, no matter the setting. As you develop your own time management systems, your routines will start to become second nature. Before you know it, you will arrive on time for every appointment, party, and meeting.
5 Tips to Always Arrive on Time
1. Be honest with yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know how long it takes you to get dressed and out the door, as well as the things that get you distracted and off track. Give yourself enough time to get ready without rushing.
When planning my day, I give myself one hour to get dressed, apply makeup, and style my hair. If I am done before the hour is up, I use the extra time to do something else. Personally, I do not browse social media at all when I know I have to get ready for a scheduled appointment. I know my weaknesses, and I can’t do anything that will become a distraction if I want to make sure I arrive on time.
2. Get a planner. A planner or organizer is the best way to help you keep all of your to-do’s and tasks arranged systematically and in one place. When you wake up each morning, check your planner and quickly recap with yourself everything you have on the calendar to get done for the day. You are less likely to waste time and procrastinate when you can visualize all the tasks you need to get done for the day. I like to keep all my to-do’s for the day on one sheet of paper that I keep with me at all times. Click here to get the daily checklist I use.
3. Set up the night before. If you are going to drive to your destination, check your gas tank the day before. Make sure you have enough gas to get there without having to make a gas stop. Choose the outfit you are going to wear the night before, and lay it out with the coordinating shoes, jewelry, and purse. If you need to take a bag with you, pre-pack your bag with your essentials for the day. Secure any important papers, forms, or records you need to have with you and double-check that they are all filled out and accounted for.
If you are taking your kids with you for the day, do the exact same thing for each child. Choose an outfit for each child the night before. Prepare lunches, pack each bag, and put everything they will need by the front door.
4. The night before, calculate the time it will take to commute to the location. Use Google maps to determine the exact location of the place you need to be. Google will give you an estimated time of arrival and how long it will take you to get there. Save the location in your phone for easy access when it is time to leave.
If Google predicts it will take 20 minutes to arrive at your destination, add an extra 20 minutes to your commute time to ensure you get there a few minutes early. Always add extra time to your commute time just in case there are any changes in traffic, unexpected accidents, or unknown construction blocks along the way.
5. Set reminders. Set as many reminders as you need to ensure you arrive on time. Use alarms on your phone and smartwatch to help you along the way. Set a reminder for the day before, the morning of, and an hour before. Do whatever you have to help keep track of time. I like to set alarms to remind me to get dressed and for when it is time to leave the house.
I hope this helps!