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21 Days to a More Disciplined Life: Get It Done Early

Oh the irony! I’m writing a post after 10 p.m. that was supposed to be finished much earlier today… and the post is on nothing other than getting it done early. As you can see, this is one of those areas of discipline I sorely need to work on. ๐Ÿ™‚

I read a post on Simple Mom back in July that rocked my world. It was by one of my favorite people — Mandi Ehman — and it was on The Secret of Success for a Work-At-Home Mom. Here’s a snippet:

So whatโ€™s the key to success? Simply put: Get it done early.

This principle applies to your home and family life as well as your business. Whenever possible, get it โ€” whatever it may be โ€” done early and eliminate the stress and frustration of being pulled in a million directions.

Avoid the guilt of shushing your teething baby because of looming deadlines or groaning in frustration when the school nurse calls, or saying no โ€” yet again โ€” to a fun activity with your kids.

Now obviously, since I’m writing this post after 10 p.m., I’ve still got a long way to go in actually practicing this getting-it-done-early principle. But ever since reading this post, I’ve been consciously thinking about how implementing this principle would revolutionize my life–and cut down on a lot of stress!

You see, I’ve always been a late person. I was born 17 days late and it seems I’ve been late ever since. Whether it’s getting to an appointment or getting an article done, I’m almost always running behind–usually either just under the wire or late. Sometimes, really, really late.

In my lifetime, I’ve made a lot of excuses for my tardiness, but most all of them boil down to procrastination, improper prioritization, and a lack of planning ahead:

::Instead of planning to leave 30 minutes before I need to be out the door, I wait until 30 minutes before I need to leave to take my shower, get everyone dressed, gather up all the things we need for the outing, and get everyone out the door.

::Instead of looking at my calendar two or three weeks in advance, planning out articles I need to write, and writing them a week or two in advance, I often wait until the day they are due to even begin outlining them.

…And on and on it goes. No wonder there are many times I run around like a chicken with my head cut off! ๐Ÿ™‚

Knowing the problem is good, but that doesn’t fix anything. I actually have to make changes if I want to experience any benefits. So I’m resolving to not just recognize the problem, but actually come up with a solution. Or at least begin working diligently in that direction!

In the next 24 hours, I’m going to sit down and map out a specific plan of action for a few of the areas where I especially struggle with getting things done on time. I’ll let you know my plan of action tomorrow.

Practical Application

1. Read Mandi’s fantastic article, The Secret of Success for a Work-At-Home Mom. Even if you’re not a work-at-home mom or not even a mom, you’ll find some great encouragement in it.

2. Choose one area that you especially struggle with being behind in or running late for.

2. Write down a simple plan for how you are going to stop procrastinating, start planning ahead, and begin getting things done early. Come back and share your plan with us so we can be inspired!

And if you’re one of those amazing people who is always on time or early and always has projects projects done before the deadline, would you do me a favor and share your secrets in the comments? I’d love to learn from you! Seriously. I need all the help I can get in this area!

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  • One area that we’re behind in or always run late to???? Ummm…I think that statement might apply to nearly ALL areas of my life. Yikes!!

    • Crystal says:

      I know the feeling! But I’m afraid if I try to tackle them all at once, I’ll just end up burned out and overwhelmed. So I’m going to start with one or two specific areas and am hoping maybe the success in those area will spill out to other areas–maybe! (A girl can dream, right?!?) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • analisa says:

    I’ve always been early or on time to everything. Im a planner, always planning ahead, wish I could teach you that lol

    • Nicole says:

      I also, am a planner. I pack my diaper bag and even the van every night before bed (my kids come to work with me….lots of lunches and “stuff”.) While planning comes natually, having fun doesn’t. If I haven’t had the time to plan ahead for a fun outing, I usually can’t get my mind around “spontaneous adventure” I am so thankful for my non-planning friends for helping me slow down, have fun and enjoy. Praise God for our differences!

    • Guest says:

      I am an on-time person (usually early unless it would be rude to do so!) and think you have the right idea on the key – planning. I prep just about everything possible. I lay out the kids clothes the night before, run the dishwasher before bed so it is ready to unload the following morning, take out anything that needs to defrost, etc. I also pour the kids’ milk the night before and put in the fridge with lids.

      I go through the mail and pay bills as they come in rather than waiting until I have a big stack. In the morning, I have a routine I do
      for the first 20ish minutes. I open all the shutters, unload the
      dishwasher, load if needed, put breakfast on the table, make all the beds, and start laundry. I work from home full time so it would drive me crazy to have a messy “office”/house.

      The other thing I would suggest is to teach your children early on to pick up after themselves. Our kids are 4 and almost 2 and both help pick up. The 4 yr old has to keep her things picked up. They get thrown away if she doesn’t so she has a big incentive to keep it done. Everyone in the family is expected to keep the house tidy and do things for themselves.

      The last thing I would add is that I think it is also a matter of respect. If you are chronically late, you are saying (intentionally or not) that you are more important than others. We all have things that are unavoidable of course but if it is a constant, it comes across as arrogant and inconsiderate. My husband and I dread get togethers with my best friend from college because they are ALWAYS late. It is really frustrating to try to entertain two kids who are hungry but can’t order because we can’t be seated. She always calls and says she’s sorry they’re late again but at this point it is obvious they aren’t sorry or they would address it.

  • I am a bit afraid to admit it…but I am one of those ‘always-early’ people ๐Ÿ˜‰ I guess this is one reason people look to me for organizing advice–LOL!

    The only way I know to truly be on-time is to plan ahead. I think you are right on with your determination to come up with a plan for those areas where you consistently procrastinate. And that is the other key: usually I find with my clients that the areas where they put-off tasks are also the areas that they have an ‘issue’ with (for lack of a better word). It’s not usually the tasks we enjoy or feel at peace with that we avoid. Sometimes re-organizing a routine or planning better fixes procrastination but often it takes a deeper heart examination to uncover the roots of this habit. Then, once we clear away our fears or discomforts it is truly amazing how ‘caught up’ we can stay!

    At least that’s been my experience ๐Ÿ˜€ Courage to you as you tackle this habit…you can do it!!!! We all can, I believe!

    • Melissa says:

      Wow, even just skimming your reply, the phrase “heart examination” reached out and grabbed me! My family growing up has always been procrastinators, “lazy”, and achieving far less than we are capable of, although we are all well-educated, wordly, and brought up upper-middle-class with tons of opportunities. I’ve watched people with far less than me steadily chug along while I made excuses (“Oh, I could do that if I really WANTED to, I just don’t want to”) and then they end up in great places while I’m left behind with my pride and my lofty thinking and not much else. As an adult, I have worked SO hard to overcome this, but I think I am maybe afraid of the responsibility that will come with achieving things well? Maybe I really do have a big laziness problem? I don’t know! Definitely need to do some real, concrete searching, because quick tips and planning strategies aren’t fixing the root of the problem.

      • As they say in recovery–it all starts with admitting we might have a problem! I hear your heart to work through these tendencies–you are far ahead of those who still pretend it’s no big deal. Sometimes though, it can be overwhelming to reach all the way for the stars when we can start with just the next right step. Just finish what we’ve started. Just follow-through on one promise. It’s a great beginning.

  • Liz says:

    Wow, this has definitely been the “written directly to me” post out of this 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series. This is probably my biggest source of guilt as a homemaker. I am not great at planning ahead – especially when it comes to getting us all out the door on time. (I’m talking just ON TIME – forget about early!) I usually end up tearing around the house, barking orders at everyone, and generally putting everyone on edge. I need to seek out ways to make leaving the house go more smoothly and peacefully for everyone.

    And, I have to say, I laughed out loud about your comment that you have always been late – even being born 17 days late! :o)

  • Oh, I’m an always late or just under the wire person, too. One area I want to work on is getting to church on time.
    I need to:
    -do as much prep as I can the night before
    -allow 15 min. to load the car
    -allow 15 min. for all the last minute stuff that always seems to slow us down
    -plan to be early instead of plan to be on time – and not be afraid to be early!

    Thanks for sharing your struggle. I really appreciate it!

  • Nicole says:

    Something my Dad told me when I had my first child was that we would now need to take at least an hour or two more than usual to get out the door to go anywhere. Coming from someone who had 5 kids, he was pretty much right! I plan ahead for everything. We will be spending the night at a relative’s home Thanksgiving night, and I have started to pack already. For one night! It pays to be organized, but it is even better to plan ahead when you have the time.

  • Um WOW, I can’t believe I’m actually doing better than you on something for a change, LOL!

    Honestly, this is something I’ve always been good at. I was born 2 months early and, well, early has been my main thing ever since.

    I’m not really sure how I do it, but for sure I plan ahead. If I have a date with hubby, for example, I spend the entire day getting ready ahead of time so I’m not stressing out at the last minute. Usually I’ll take my shower just after I have my morning exercises, then while the kids are in bed I put my make-up on and do my hair.

    Sadly I always end up neglecting something (ehem, like the dishes) so I can get ready for whatever it is I need to get done.

    Oh, and I also plan my day ahead of time, like the day before. Since I’ve already got a pretty good routine and schedule in place I look for spots where I can use the time to get ready. If it involves packing a breakfast that day then the day before I make double of what is normally made for breakfast and pack the rest.

    Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tiffany @ Home Grown Families says:

    I am SO glad to hear that I am not the only one that sits down to write hours before the deadline! It’s so stressful to be that way but I don’t know that I can change it!!
    Over the last year, I have been slowly working on getting us places on time. I can now say that we are late only 90% of the time instead of 100%. It has taken a YEAR of hard work to get us here. At the rate I am going, the kids will be grown and gone before I get it right~ then I won’t have anywhere to be!! I don’t know that there is help for us… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m an efficient planner by nature and while I’m far from perfect, there are a few things I’ve found that really help keep me ahead of the game:

    1- If it’s something that can be done fairly quickly, I just DO IT right away, even if I don’t feel like doing it then. Not having to think about it ever again makes it much easier to get other things done.

    2- If it’s something I can’t do right away, I immediately pick a day or time to do it, making sure it’s as far ahead of schedule as possible, and write it on my calendar. (If it’s a big project, I pick a day for each step.) By writing it down, it frees up my mind to deal with other things, and I have committed to a time to deal with it. It’s OK if I end up not getting to it on that particular day or time as long as I’m not pushing close to a deadline; I just re-write it on the next available day. I almost always have it done by the third day, though, because I’d rather just do it than write it down a third time!

    3- Have a routine for everything from email management to getting the kids out the door. Routines prevent procrastination, ensure things get done efficiently, and reduce the number of emergencies that pop up.

    I’ve actually been working on a blog post about this very topic, so I should have some more ideas for you soon!

  • My husband likes to say you should plan on being 5 minutes late per child, wherever you go–with 6 children, that means 30 minutes late! (He says this jokingly, but when you have extra bathroom trips, diaper changing, etc., there are real delays!)

    I think a very important thing, though, is to be understanding with yourself. Schedules change, and family can need you. I can plan on getting up early and sewing, and that’s the day my child wakes up before I’ve gotten in the shower at 5 a. m. (those days have been happening more and more often lately). I can plan on working on Christmas presents during naptime, and no one takes a nap (despite being tucked in mutliple times!) I can plan on having 4 loads done by noon, and in the middle of the 2nd load in the dryer and the third load in the washer, the dryer dies. And then–everyone gets sick. All of these happened in the last week.

    So, when all is said and done, do your best–and forgive yourself!

    • Charity says:

      Yes, yes! I have to agree with your husband on that. Having four small children, 5yrs and under, sometimes I think I need to factor in 10 minutes per child!

      Everything else you said is definitely very wise, and encouraging. The past three nights I have had very little sleep due to the baby cutting six teeth at once! The poor little guy has been so fussy. Most of the things I had planned for me and the children this week have went undone and we haven’t accomplished much with our homeschool lessons either. But I tell myself the children are always learning, whether we are trying to teach or not. And so I pray that the Lord just helps me to have the right attitude throughout the day, even though I feel like I’m sleep walking and nothing is going according to “the plan”, and realize as long as I am training their little hearts then that is what the Lord had planned. ( Isn’t it amazing how the Lord refines us through motherhood? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • LeaDawn says:

    I am so glad I am not the only person that struggles with this! I have always struggled with being late. Now, with a 10 month old son, it is even more difficult to be on time.

    I think that part of the reason I am always late is because I over schedule myself. I see that I don’t have to be there for an hour and think that I can get one more thing done before I get ready to go. Then, before I know it, I have 15 min. to pull everything together and be out the door.

    This is definitely something I will be working on. I know that planning ahead will eliminate stress, I just need to discipline myself and do it. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Lori says:

    I have always been a procrastinator, I started going to bible college in August, and so far all semester I have been really good about doing my homework early in the week, classes are Mon & Tues so I try to get my homework done before Saturday. My thinking is this: I love to scrapbook, but I will only allow myself to do it when my homework is done. I haven’t gotten to scrapbook much this semester but it has helped with getting my homework done before the day it is due instead of the day of. I learned my lesson when I got my first degree, I had a 20 page paper to write and I had all semester to do it, I waited until 2 days before it was due and I wrote for 48 hours to get it done. It was miserable and I don’t want to do that again, lol

    When we go places we typically start getting dressed about 20 mins before we need to leave, And I usually try to leave the house 30 mins before I need to get there or earlier depending on how far away it is.

  • Liz says:

    I find Liz’s above comment so fitting to my life too! (Nevermind that we share the same name, HA!)

    I can’t seem to get my act together. My hubby is the early bird and if my life depended on being on time, well let’s just say I’d be a loser in that department.

    Crystal, you’re so right about the planning ahead being the key.
    I have somewhere to be in the morning so I may just implement your strategy and get all my belongings together BEFORE I go to sleep tonight. I could be on the best time streak of my life and always (without fail!) forget where I put my keys on those days. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your struggle with being on time. Thought I was the only one who had that problem.

  • Angie says:

    I hope you plan to put these together in your “Best of” sidebar because this series has totally inspired me! A friend of mine (who is also a reader of your blog) and I are moving our way through the steps together, and we started late, so we’re a bit behind. (I guess this is why we need this series- LOL!) Anyway, I have tackled so many little projects that I had let slide literally for months. ie. It was getting hard to walk into my walk-in closet, and I had a huge pile of hand-me-downs in the corner of my bedroom since July. I tackled it last Thursday, and since then I’ve been doing something everyday to improve my bedroom and my bedroom closet. That was just the start, so I’m really excited heading into the Christmas season having a handle on things. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge in this area. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • maleahbliss says:

    You were born SEVENTEEN days late???!!!!! Man I feel badly for your mother. I have a new baby girl that was born 3 weeks ago today. If she had been 3 weeks late I would still be pregnant for another WEEK since she was a week early. I am so very thankful that I’m not pregnant anymore!!! Lol. Anyway, I too need to get better at being on time.

  • Elizabeth says:

    One thing that helps me is to put things away, ready for next time – ie, upon arriving home, I immediately repack the diaper bag before putting it away. Since I know exactly how many diapers were used on this last outing, it’s easy to throw that many back in, then put it away. No rustling through bags at the last minute to see if everything is there – grab & go!

    I also lay everything out the night before, even if we’re just going grocery shopping in the morning. Clothes, shoes, bags, waterbottles… they’re all ready to go. For a forgetful person like me, this is helpful because there’s the rest of the evening, night, and morning to remember the things I forgot and add them to the pile! It also really does save time since I just pull the stuff out as I’m doing evening chores. (Getting out the kids’ pjs? Might as well grab tomorrow’s clothes while I’m in those drawers. Washing dishes? Might as well fill up waterbottles.)

  • shawn'l says:

    2 things helped me go from always late to “mostly” on time (still working on it with 4 kids). Many years ago I was watching Dr Phil talk to someone about being late and he stated something to the extent that when we are late and make others wait we are only thinking of ourselves and not others. When I pondered on what he said it made sense to me. “I” needed to finish that one last thing before going, “I” needed to do whatever it was that was important to “me” instead of getting ready to be where I needed to be. So I started thinking (planning) ahead it takes x minutes to get in the car and buckle kids in, it takes x minutes to get shoes on, etc and back tracked from when I needed to leave to be early (and include time to get kids unbuckled and walk at a kids pace not an adult hectic run once we got there). That then determined the time I needed to start getting ready to leave. Then as I sit in front of facebook and think “I’ll just check one more friends page before I get up to get ready” I instead think about how my being late infringes on someones time and how they prepared to be ontime and I should also too to show I care about them. Or think I can throw that load of laundry from the washer to the dryer before I leave. I lot of yelling and tears have been saved by my thinking and planning how long it will actually take to get out the door at my kids pace and not my frantic pace and that I care about the person/ people I am heading out the door to meet.

    • Jessica says:

      I totally agree. For me, when I am running late it is often because I am considering my time more valuable than someone else’s… for example waiting until 5 minutes (or less) before we need to go to round up the kids and get everyone buckled in, just so I can continue what I was doing as long as possible. Occasionaly it only takes 5 minutes (hence my overly optimistic estimate), but if I planned for it to take 10 minutes and it took 5 that is eating into “my” time, if I plan for it to take 5 min and it takes 10 min I’m eating into “their” time. Thus, for me, padding my estimates so that I have enough time to get out the door with the typical interuptions that come with 3 young kids is practicing being unselfish with my time.

    • Selena says:

      I remember hearing about that show! Dr. Phil said that, in essence, late people are arrogant. They think whatever they are doing is more important than the needs of others. I’m not a late person, but it still really made me think. It may not be true for everyone’s situations (obviously things come up even with the best of intentions!), but it’s a great reminder to get moving just so people never think that about you!

    • Laura says:

      I have never seen the Dr. Phil episode you’re referring to, but I definitely understand what he and you are saying. I am a pharmacist and I have appointments with patients to review their medications, and whenever someone is late it really causes problems because other people’s appointments have to be pushed late to accommodate. Knowing that, I try to never be late to anything if I can help it because I don’t want to inconvenience others. Whether this is right or wrong, to me, being late is disrespectful of others’ time. That being said, I don’t yet have children so my situation is easier than many of you – BUT my husband is chronically late so I do have to get him out the door which can be a challenge! Also, when I was growing up we were ALWAYS late to everything, and I could see how stressed it made my mom. Because of that, I work hard to make it to things on time.

      • Christy says:

        My DH is always late too. We only live 5 minutes from church, but we do have to find a place to park and drop off/sign in children once we get there, so we leave at 9:40 for 10:00 Sunday school. If I left it up to him, he would sit around all morning and get in the shower at 9:30. So now around 8:00, I start “nagging” him–i.e. why don’t you get in the shower now while the muffins are baking? Usually I can at least get him in it by 9:00.

        Sometimes I need my husband to pick the kids up when I have work committments in the evening (most of the time, I end up bringing them to the PTA night or whatever it is and he meets us there). I have learned to tell him to come and get them 30 minutes earlier than I really need him to. I know it is hard for him to leave work, but this is actually after his official “off” time. I technically get “off” at 2:40 everyday, but usually stay until 3 or 3:30 or later on meeting days. Except for faculty meeting days, I have no problem saying, “I have to go get my kids.” Guess that is a mom thing because it seems to kill DH to say that and leave (like I said after his technical “off” time, I’m not asking him to cut out early). Anyway, the last time this happened, we had a parent night. Pizza was served 6 – 6:30 and I had to present at 6:30. So, I told DH the kids could come with me and eat pizza and to come get them at 6. At about 6:05, he texted me, “On my way, ” and arrived around 6:20. So, if I had told him 6:30, I would have had some of my teamates trying to occupy my 1 year old while I presented (4 year old kind of blended in with the school age kiddos)…see, I have learned.

  • Leslie says:

    One skill that I used in college and now as I run my home and business is by working backwards. I look ahead at the deadline and break up my goal into manageable tasks with smaller deadlines. I also homeschool so I’ve found this skill to be so critical in our first year of homeschooling. With Christmas around the corner, I wrote out every possible thing I needed to do for the holiday, broke it up into bite size pieces and and put the tasks down with deadlines into my planner. It’s been so freeing knowing that I don’t have to look at the big picture but the little bite sized pieces and as long as I stay on task, I won’t have to worry about stressing out.

  • Julie says:

    No great advice, just a personal observation:
    My mother was one of those habitually late people. So many, many times during my childhood I was the one who got to Girl Scouts after the meeting had already started, who had to sit outside alone after band practice because my ride was late. More Sundays than not we didn’t make it to church until after the opening hymn. You get the picture.
    I hated the negative attention that latecomers so often get. Even my well-meaning Girl Scout leader had to stop proceedings and make room or get supplies for me.
    As an adult now, I am almost always early. I would rather sit in the car outside my destination and wait to go in than arrive after the event has already started.
    (Projects, however, still find me procrastinating. I need to work on that part.)

    • I think you’re my long lost twin (or our mothers are long lost twins). This is me exactly.

    • Diane says:

      I also had this experience growing up…we would be an inning late for a t-ball game and I would have to sit out 1/2 the game because I wasn’t there to be included in the starting line-up. Because I also hated the negative attention, it is easy for me to be on time when I go places.

      I have found as I have gotten older, however, that even I am sometimes late, and 100% of the time it is because I am going somewhere that I truly do not want to go.

  • Meredith says:

    A professor in college once told our class….if you are on time, you are late. We could only be counted in attendance if we were early. Ever since, I have held that principle. I was always a late person too so to scratch my itch, I usually procrastinate on things where I know I can get help later or things that aren’t as important. Then I put emphasis on what is important and make it a point to be there early.

    • Mrs S says:

      I currently have an instructor who locks the door three minutes before class starts… and if you aren’t there, you dont get in. No exceptions. I have never been one to be late, but after the first week of being locked out it seemed to motivate a lot of people to show up on time ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kadee says:

    When it comes to appointments or getting out the door, I’m the “always early” type. If I have to meet someone at 2pm, and I’m there are 1:55, I feel like I’m really pushing it! I approach this from looking at the other person’s time, and if I’m late, I think it is very inconsiderate of me to the other person (hope that makes sense). The down side is when someone else is late – like while I’m waiting 30 mintues past my appt time at a doctor’s office, I get really annoyed. Now, when it comes to household chores like doing dishes, I wish being late meant something to me!

  • Joy Y. says:

    One reason I desire so much to get myself, (or my family of 7 with me), out the door sooner…is to love people. What I mean is, when I am late to an appointment, a meeting, or whatever….I am really saying to the someone who may be waiting on me, your time is not of value to me. I value my time more than yours. Not very loving at all. And, being late for church…well, I don’t want to be sending the message that it’s not very important to me.

    Unfortunately, this is an area I need work in…..let’s encourage each other, and show love and respect to others, and our family by being on time =)



    • Jen says:

      I wanted to mention something along these lines, too. It’s not just about being planful, it’s also a matter of attitude. It’s an attitude of love and of respect that is shown when you are on time getting places, in my opinion anyway. Being late means “eh, this is not that important to me.” I think you said exactly what i was thinking, Joy!

  • su says:

    Gppd morning! Have you evern watched the Duggars? They have “Duggar time” since they are always sooo late for things. I try to be on time and succeed usually. However, anyone w/kids can tell you it’s just not always possible. I want to set a good example for my kids though. I do everything I can ahead of time. I get outfits for the kids ready for the week and put them into a bin. Lunches are done the night before….and I make lots of notes and stick them in front of my face so I can’t miss them. I “eat the frog first” as you said the other day. And no, it’s not tasty at all….:)

    • su says:

      One more thing….if that’s the worst thing about you then I think you’re doing OK. There are lots of people who are always on time and ready for everything but they aren’t very nice(sometimes). I’d rather be late/behind and be someone people love!

  • Ashley says:

    My husband believes that if you are 15 minutes early, you are on time. I believe if you are within 5 minutes of arrival time (ahem, or 5 minutes late) you are within an acceptable threshold… we’ve had some lively discussions about this one!

    There are many times we are going to someone’s house for a meal, and he wants to show up early – ahhhhhhhh, nooooooooo, dear, the hostess is usually making her last “mad dash” those last 15 minutes!

    So, for all you “early birds,” for the Dr. appt, it’s great; for the meal at your friend’s house, drive around the neighborhood until you are “on time.” There are a few instances where “on time” is better than “early.” In my experience, sometimes an “early bird” can lack this discretion, but maybe that is just because they never make a “mad dash” in preparation for company! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • BethB says:

    The secret is to be raised by the oldest of 9 children from a Mennonite family. I don’t think my father is capable of being late or running behind. Ha ha.

    Seriously, I may not have always been a Get It Done Early kind of person but at some point my upbringing and the example my parents set for me kicked in. I hate waiting until the last minute to get things done!

    This has been one of the hardest things to deal with and accept in my marriage. My husband and his family are completely the opposite. There are many complicated reasons involving the childhoods my in-laws had and lack of structure in the home. It used to really make me crazy watching him put things off and piss away time when he had a project to do. When we go on a trip I’m packed at least a day ahead of time while he is getting his stuff together at the last minute. We used to fight about it when we were first married because it would stress me out. But over time I’ve learned to just Let It Go and let him work the way he needs to. And not be judgmental about it because both my husband and his parents are very hardworking people. My husband has a creative job and after talking with him a lot about his process I do see how he works better at the last minute. In my field as a musician that would not work at all so it helped to learn about the way he does things. What I do now is just give him gentle reminders when he’s got something he needs to get done and is putting it off “wasting” time on the computer or what not.

    Anyway. I completely agree with your post and it’s how I was raised so it’s been a journey to lighten up a bit!

  • Sarah says:

    I go with the idea that if you’re planning to be somewhere “on time,” then you’re actually planning to be late. You need to plan to arrive early and then the little things that sneak in and mess up your plan won’t make you late (does that make any sense)? So I always try to build in that extra time and hope I arrive on time. Usually works.

    Now if I could just get my projects and homeschooling planned out like this… sigh…

  • I am pretty good at getting things done / getting out the door on time, but my husband is an expert. He is rarely ever late or behind. As far as getting places on time, his secret is to get cleaned up / packed well in advance, and to always plan on leaving a few minutes early to allow for those last-minute things that come up with kids. He thinks it’s inconsiderate to be late, and I’m pretty sure that is his motivation.

  • Steph says:

    Ummm…this article hit way to close to home. Always late, waiting till till the last minute to get ready to go, all the way down to being born 17 days late (my mom will love knowing she was not the only one who had to endure this). I was late to my wedding (talk about freaking people out) and will probably be late to my funeral!

    The one area I am going to focus on is getting to church on time. This is out of respect to my husband who is one of those “early birds” where as I am a “we get there when we get there” kind of person. I love the idea of being ready a half of an hour early verses getting into the shower a half an hour before we would need to leave. Great challenge!

    • Sarah says:

      Haha! Late to your wedding!! That cracked me up!

      My husband is very punctual, and it really, really bothered him early in our marriage that I couldn’t seem to get out of the door on time for church. It took awhile, but for his sake I really worked on that, even if it meant getting up an extra hour early to be able to just make it into the car when he wanted us to. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • sarah says:

    I am always on time/early for things. It’s so great to hear someone admit it’s their own fault (sorry!!). I get so frustrated waiting for people, and then listening to their excuses all the time. I don’t mean to be mean about it, but I work at being on time. The way I see it is being on time is being respectful. I respect my friends, family, and appointments, so I respect their time and don’t want to make them wait for me. If it’s something where only I miss out, well do I respect myself enough to make my life easier??

    • Heather says:

      Seems like there are two kinds of people in the world: the on-timers, and the “late” types. It’s hard to change that. I agree with some of the comments about consideration for others. And the on-timers need to make sure they don’t get self-righteous about it. I am an on-timer by nature, but it sometimes doesn’t happen due to kids, etc. And I don’t expect people to be on time 100%.

      However, I don’t think a lot of “always late” people realize how frustrating it is for the “on-timers” when they breeze in late and offer an apology – for the umpteenth time. I hate having to make the fake “Oh, it’s okay” remark when I don’t really mean it!

  • Katie says:

    I’m loving this series. In the beginning it annoyed me and I chose not to read it – I then realised that it was because the series is far too close to home for comfort! I thought I was doing well studying, looking after children and running my own business as well as supporting my husband to complete his Masters and work full-time. But, I realised I had let things slip – my son’s homework was not getting done, the laundry was left, my homework was not getting done and the house started to become messy. I blamed – well everyone else until I read your series and realised – yes itโ€™s me. I realised that I had to take control and discipline myself to ensure these things were getting done. I now have a timetable, a weekly goal sheet and a daily task sheet (printed from your site).

    So thanking for being the friend to point out my failings and provide the resources to put them right๏Š Itโ€™s nice to know you procrastinate too.

  • Emily says:

    This post definitely speaks to me! I don’t have a problem being late for places, but I do struggle ALL THE TIME with getting things done in a timely manner and not waiting until the last minute.

    I was just having a conversation with my boss the other day and she made the comment that she seems to thrive in chaos. I don’t feel like I thrive in it, in fact it makes me crazy, but there must be some payoff because even though I have all of the tools to make the change, I still haven’t done it. Anyone out there with any advice?

    I think I’ll go start working on that “to do” list right now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah says:

    I love you for this post, Crystal. ๐Ÿ˜€

    When I worked as a mail carrier, I was almost NEVER on time for work. If I walked in the door and clocked in a couple of minutes late, I thought I was doing pretty well! Unfortunately, I was convicted on this point after I had already quit to be a SAHM. I’m much better now about planning on leaving 15-30 minutes earlier than I HAVE to…having lots of little ones helped me out with that one. Now at least I usually make it to appointments on time, even with my 3 boys in tow.

    When it comes to projects the day’s to-do list and such, I know my biggest stumbling block: this dumb computer. Every morning I want to sit and have my cereal and drink my tea “for 15 minutes”. It invariably takes me longer to get up out of this seat because I get sucked in to reading news and blogs and email. As it is, I was hoping to have last night’s dishes cleaned up by now, but here I sit ;-).

    And it’s true…getting the worst thing done first and early makes a world of difference. I tend to put off the worst for the last possible minute. I hate washing dishes at night, especially if I didn’t manage to get them cleaned up before the boys go upstairs to start getting ready for bed at 7pm. If I have to come back down at 8pm and start…UGH! So what do I do then? Everything else! Sort mail, sweep the floor, clean up toys, clean the bathroom. And then finally get to washing the darn dishes at 9pm. That is the worst.

  • Dee says:

    I have a mind trick that works for me:

    ** No matter where I’m going I always pretend it takes 30 minutes to get there.

    It’s silly and I know I’m doing it, but it helps me to get places on time. For example, church is at 11:00 and it takes 10-15 minutes to get there, but we plan to leave at 10:30 every week.

    Another example- My kid’s dr. is about the same distance away, but I factor in picking them up from school etc and leave 45 minutes early.

    Just a silly trick, but it works for me. Wish I felt the same way about laundry…

  • Allison says:

    Ohhhh, the story of my life (I was even late to my wedding!). The interesting thing is I was NEVER late for court when I was a practicing attorney. Obviously, deep down I knew the consequences for me (and my client) could have been too severe. Thus, proving to myself that when the motivation is strong I can be timely. Of course that was “b.c.” (before children) and now that I am a stay at home mom, I struggle to get all 3 out the door by 8:00 a.m. when preschool starts at 8:00 a.m. and is literally .5 miles from my house. Infact, as I read this I am thinking I should be making breakfast so we can get out the door on time for a fun family activity… yet I continue on my “just one more thing first” pathway. Seriously, I am trying to get better and I am loving your series as this is the time of year when my procrastination makes me crazy and I know I lose too many opportunities for making wonderful memories with my young children! I have been trying to focus on the present and make myself let some things go reminding myself if today was my last day on earth would I want to spend it doing laundry, dishes, or getting that great deal OR with my family; that has helped tremendously! Thank you Crystal for this great series – I wish you and your family a very Happy (and Timely) Holiday Season!

  • Crystal4479 says:

    I think it is somewhat human nature to chose the fun over the necessary. I was a procrastinator in school, especially in regards to projects and after a few years of operating like that, I made an executive decision, that in my life I HATE operating in what I call “crisis mode”. Just say “NO” to crisis mode! Usually, the pain of doing it now is less than the pain of the crisis mode later.

  • Erin says:

    I am 100% with you on procrastinating and being barely on time or even late for things. I wanted to say thank you for the wonderful idea of setting a reminder on my phone. I have set it every day for 1 hour before my bed time and it REALLY helps me to realize when I need to start heading to bed! Sometimes my hubby notices it too, when we are doing something together and the alarm goes off, that means it’s time to wrap it up and start the bedtime wind-down. Thank you so much for the great idea!

  • Betsy Madison says:

    I believe some of it is just the personality you are born with. When I start my menu planning for a special meal 2 weeks in advance, my husband looks at me like I just sprouted wings. When he heads to the shower, asking me if he has any clean shirts, 25 min. before church starts, I question his sanity. He doesn’t mind being 5 min. late; my heart starts to race if I’m not 10 min. early. My biggest “secret” is that I set false deadlines for myself. If a work presentation is due on Friday, I set a false deadline for Wednesday. When it is finished, I reward myself with extra time for pleasure reading or a tv show I’ve wanted to watch.

  • Dawn says:

    This is me too…I was 14 days late being born!! Anyway, I just wanted to say that the mental part is the worst.
    When I am procrastinating on doing something, I may not be actually “doing” the thing that needs doing, but I am constantly “thinking about it” and what needs to be done. So the mental stress of knowing what I “should” be doing, but obviously am NOT doing, keeps me from a good night’s sleep, makes me grumpy with my family, and paralyzes me from doing anything else! It is a vicious cycle.
    I could do with less stress in my life, but only I can make the changes needed to bring that about!

  • Growing up, my Dad always taught us if we were not 15 minutes early, then we were late. I guess being raised that way, it just became ingrained. My husband’s family is a bit more “laid back” and I quickly dispised the feeling of being late. At our house, we play the clock mind tricks and set it a bit ahead. It is helpful with 4 kiddos/4 schools/4 drop off and pick up times.

  • Tammy P. says:

    I will never be late for anything that involves my husband, he will go out to the car and continually blow the horn until everyone is in the car and ready to go. Or he will leave without you. Sounds rude, but after having the neighbors look at you funny a couple of times, we are in that car!!! LOL!!! I now try to be in the car before him, or at least going out the door at the same time. Solved my lateness.
    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  • Great Post. I love the quote at the beginning.

  • tiffany says:

    I come from parents who are crazy on timers. They owned their own companies when I was growing up, so I got first hand experience to what happened to the company, project, other workers, managers, etc. when people were late. My dad told me it was like stealing, you’re stealing other people’s time because they expected you to keep your word. I know that is an extreme point of view, but from a business prospect it is true (time=money). When I managed a gym and my late teen/early twenties employees (my peers) were late I would get so upset. The owner was habitually late and didn’t understand why I got so worked up. In the next breath she would go on about how she valued my hard work and dependability.

    When something needs to be done, I just do it right then if I can (and do it right or that will take more time to correct later). It’s hard with a toddler and 3 month old, but I am figuring out tricks. Now I make dinner (often double it for the freezer) during their naps and we reheat it later. If it is about being on time I am early, I just plan to be early and have everything prepared ahead of time.

    The running joke at our house is who will be earlier (me or my dad) when we meet for a meal out (we are about to leave to meet him for breakfast). If we are going to be within 5 minutes early of the time stated there is ALWAYS a phone call placed out of curtesy to let the other person know we are running late (yes 5 minutes early is considered late in our family). I am also that person that calls doctors offices and other places if I feel like I might be a minute late.

    Extreme I know, but efficient.

  • Amy says:

    I am so glad that I am not the only one that jumps in the shower when I don’t really have time for a shower because I should be heading out the door! I really need to work on this.

  • Lorri says:

    Oh, could I ever relate to this post! I’ve often blamed my procrastinating on being born 3 weeks late myself. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Amazingly, when I actually do things early, life runs so much more smoothly. And putting them off, not so much so. But yet it’s still something that I struggle with each and every day.

  • Mandy W. says:

    My dad’s family is always 5-10 minutes early. My mother’s family is impossibly late (and it drove my mom crazy). My parents decided early in their marriage to adopt my dad’s family’s way of living, and made it a point to explain to us kids that when you are chronically late for things, you are basically telling everyone that has to wait on you, “I am more important that you are, and my time is more valuable than your time.” That has always stuck with me…

  • Tara says:

    I haven’t had time to read the other replies, so I may be repeating. (Sorry if that’s the case.) For me, if I’m not five minutes early…then I’m late. For me, being late is the same as saying that whatever you were supposed to do, whoever your were supposed to meet, appointment, etc. did not matter enough to be on time for or that your time is more valuable than theirs. There are times when being late is unavoidable (accident causing traffic backup) but then I call if it’s at all possible. It was a little harder when I had small children, but still doable.

  • Cort says:

    I have always liked being early. Ironic for someone who was late everyday to school, thanks MOM. HAHA. Anyways.
    My Son has Williams syndrome so we go to a ton of appts, many far from our home about 2-3hours away depending on the season(traffic, road construction). So planning ahead is essential to getting out the door on time and arriving early enough so that I am calm which helps to keep my boys calm. That is especially important with my oldest as anxiety is huge with Williams so Mommas gotta stay calm to keep him calm :).
    So I always plan how long it takes to get ready and plan time to get into and out of the car along with the travel, Lord knows with kiddos that can take 15mins+ in and of itself depending on everyones mood:). Plus you have to add potty breaks before you go and when you get there, parking, etc. So essentially I try to think of everything before it happens to be one step ahead in a sense. What can I do today to make tom. easier? Whatever does not have be done tom. (ie driving there…) can be done today. So I fill milks the night before since my son has special concotion that needs to be made and set out meds. of course where he can’t reach:) figure out whats needed for breakfast, pack lunches/snacks. Lay out clothes, socks and shoes(they always go missing right before you need them), pack extra clothing, underwear for kids etc. Put it where your going to need it, by the door, in the car… Put out toothbrushes by kitchen sink. Anything that will streamline the process of getting out the door since you can’t ever be prepared for any drama that may ensue from having to leave the house when someone else wants to stay home etc:) Just any little things to make life easier. You can’t prepare for everything but anything that CAN be done today, get it done today :).
    Thats even what I’m doing right now, cooking for thanksgiving. Anything that can be made ahead is getting done today. All planning was monday, tuesday was shopping, and today is cooking/assembling anything and everything that can be. Tom, just heat, eat, and chillax ๐Ÿ™‚
    *Oh and a side note for anyone who sees a lot of specialists, get any paperwork that needs to be filled out sent to you before the appt. Less time in the waiting room, esp with kids is always a plus!

  • Carole says:

    I have always been an early person. My dentist asked me not to come early as he didn’t like to have anymore people than necessary sitting around his waiting room. I live 45 minutes away and there are a lot of train tracks and other potential time slowers between here and there. I find it difficult to time my arrival exactly on time. This has happened in other situations also. And I’m not THAT early. So we early people have our problems, too!

  • Alex says:

    Thanks for this post. After reading I immediately got up and put together my cake for tomorrow. I also got the sweet potatoes boiling so I can peel and cut them up. My Thanksgiving morning will be much more relaxing. Thanks for the kick in the pants ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Molly says:

    I highly recommend the book called “The Disciplined Life” by Richard S. Taylor. It’s really old and might be out of print but I’m sure there’s used copies on Amazon. I had a course around this text at college and highlighted so many parts of it. Some of my favorite quotes:

    “Too often the mind serves only the purpose of devising excuses for doing what the heart wants to do.”

    “…the finest discipline of all is not that which struggles out of a near-tragic situation, but foresees and forestalls the situation in the first place.”

    “Helping people should be the supreme objective of all our self-discipline”

    Anyways, it was a pretty thought provoking book for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Julia says:

      Thanks for the book recommendation. It sounds like just the thing for me, who is severely lacking in the self-discipline department. My husband, on the other hand, could write such as book. =)

  • Mandi says:

    This is terrible…I may have written those words, but I desperately needed to be reminded of them today. I’ve fallen into some bad habits for sure, and I think this was the kick in the pants I needed to get my act together!

    Thanks so much for sharing the post!

  • Jen says:

    I seem to have the opposite problem when it comes to being late. Even with 3 kids 4 and under I always seem to show up early. It all comes down to planning and allowing extra time. First, I usually plan to be 15 min early. We were supposed to be somewhere at 11 this morning but I told myself 10:45. Destination was only 5 min away but I allowed 15 min travel time, so told myself we had to leave by 10:30. Figured 15 min for the two older kids to go potty and get shoes and coats on and get buckled in the van, even though it doesn’t really take that long. And I give my kids a 5 min warning before we have to start getting ready. Sometimes, like today, they just immediately stop what they’re doing and get ready. So today at 10:10 we started getting ready when we didn’t have to be there for another 50 min. Even with the baby needing a diaper change at the last minute we were still plenty early. The only problem with this is that I feel like I do spend a lot of time waiting, when I could be using that time more efficiently and being more productive. An extra 15 min at home could have been enough to get a load of laundry started, wipe off the counters, etc.

    • Debra C says:

      One of the things I learned from FlyLady, is to always have things in a zipper binder that you can work on during those waits. Bills can be paid if you keep them in there along with stamps. Or you could work on a grocery list or menu plan. Or whatever you have that needs doing that could be put into a zipper binder and taken with you.

      I personally use a lot of my wait time for reading. I have both the Kindle and B&N Reader apps on my phone, along with a Bible app. So I can work on my daily bible reading, or read a book.

    • Julie says:

      I’m an in-betweener….sometimes I’m early, sometimes I’m running late. I really hate being late but have realized why it happens more now that I have children. I do not like showing up early to some place and having to wait in the car with antsy children, lol. I used to take my coupons to organize when my son was a baby b/c I knew he’d fall asleep. But now, they are too active and it takes us at least 20 minutes to get anywhere so they are ready to get out when we stop. Now, it seems like we’re always running a few minutes late and I guess it’s b/c I don’t want to sit and wait. Hmmm…wondering how I should handle this. I also forget that I have a newly potty-trained toddler and there are many potty stops wherever we are that eat up time. Last week at church, it took 20 minutes to get everyone settled before I could sit in church….I guess it’s the season we’re in too.

  • Lisa says:

    I have never been one of those amazing people, at least not naturally. My dad, however, is. He does everything right away and is always exactly on time. I honestly think his secret is that when something needs to be done, he just does it. For example, he always got up at 5 a.m. to get our day started smoothly. My mom always assumed he was naturally an early riser until they retired and he slept in until 7 a.m.! All those years, he forced himself out of bed before the rest of us simply because it needed to be done. Now that I’m expecting our first child, I hope I can channel some of his “just-do-it-ness.”

  • Meg says:

    I think paring down your life to the basics–as Crystal often mentions–is a big component to getting stuff done on time. If I have a big project due in three weeks, everything in my life but the essentials get thrown out or put on hold for those three weeks. Otherwise, I’d be too distracted and overwhelmed by all the stuff on my plate to focus, and I’d end up staying up all night the night before weeping into my desk. ๐Ÿ™‚ And if I know I have to be somewhere early the next day, I enlist my husband’s help in getting my daughter ready in the morning so all I have to think about is the task ahead of me.

    Those are my favorite tricks for meeting deadlines/being on time…making lots of room in my schedule and accepting help from others. (Those are good rules for everything in life, really!)

  • Bethany says:

    What a great post, and fantastic comments, too! I have two children under the age of 3 and telecommute 30 hours per week, and have a part-time photography business. I’m fairly organized but some days (weeks? months?) feel like I’m running to stand still. I rarely miss a deadline, but I sure do struggle when it comes to getting out the door early or on time. Three things that do work for me were also mentioned by others: (1) I always prep everything for the next day before going to bed, (2) I work backward from my desired departure time, subtracting time for each task that needs to be done, and then I plan for a 30-minute buffer on top of that, and (3) I force myself to get up early enough to do whatever I need to accomplish, plus allow myself time to shower and dress 100% before the kids are awake. I still fail, but I’m a work in progress and I’m improving all the time. Last weekend my husband was out of town andthe kids and I made it to church a little early (a first!), even while juggling a crockpot full of soup and a batch of your Easy Italian Breadsticks for the potluck. I was grinning ear to ear!

  • Susan says:

    I’ve enjoyed this post and all the comments. We do tend to fall into two camps, it seems. I recognize the importance of respecting other peoples’ time, but I don’t think it’s “arrogant” to be late.

    My experience/perspective is a little different from the comments I have read. I’m one who often waits until the last minute to do something. Not all people work well under pressure, but I truly do. I tend to use as much time as I have available. If something needs to be finished one week from today, it will take me the entire week, and I’ll be finishing it just when it’s due. If I have two weeks, even if I start the week earlier, it will take me two weeks to do it, and I’ll still be getting it done just when it’s due. Therefore, for me, I can get often get something done in less time overall if I delay starting it. When a deadline is looming, I just hustle and get it done. I can work really fast when I need to. And quality does not suffer — I can get to the same result in half the time if all I have is half the time.

    As far as being on time goes, that is something I can certainly improve on. I usually manage it, but too often I underestimate how long it will take me to get somewhere. When it really matters, like if I need to be at a business meeting or dentist appointment or whatnot, I make it on time, even it it means a frantic mad dash, unless I get stuck in traffic or something, in which case that’s what cell phones are for.

    For casual things like meeting friends for dinner or whatnot, I’m not bothered when they are late, as long as there is communication. I have one particular friend who is habitually late, and I just factor that in. 6:00 mountain time = 6:30 “susie” time, in which case I’ll aim for 6:15.

    My step-dad, however, is the most punctual person I know, and it drives him crazy when anyone is late. If the plan is to leave the house at 9:00, then we’d better be in the car at 9:00 or he’ll be awfully unhappy. I respect that about him, so in those situations I make sure my daughter and I are ready when he is.

  • Debra C says:

    I found that after having my second child, I began running late for *everything*. So, since I put just about everything into my phone so that it reminds me of all appointments, I just started setting it so that it went off two hours before I needed to be somewhere. While my son was still itty bitty, sometimes that two hours wasn’t enough (usually because I’d get everything ready and then he’d want to nurse right before it was time to go), but now that he’s almost a year old, I find that I get ready and then have time to snuggle with the kids or get a little something to eat before I leave for work or wherever.

    I also have a terrible sense of time so if I’m not paying attention, it’ll suddenly be way past lunch or dinner time and I haven’t even thought about it. So I also have alarms set on my phone to remind me that it’s time to fix a meal. And a reminder for an hour before bedtime to let me know that it’s time to clean up and get baths taken care of. I probably rely on my phone way more than I should, but as long is it keeps me getting things done, I don’t care that much.

  • ClareC. says:

    Ay, yi,yi, Crystal! Now you’re stepping on my toes. I felt fine when you kept talking about getting up early. With a hubby teacher, 3 kids at his middle school , and 1 in elem., I always have to get up early, but this is so me. I have always been a procrastinator and I know I’ve heard that procrastination is often related to perfectionism. When I feel concerned that I won’t do everything perfectly, it’s hard to even to get started. Extend yourself grace. Sometimes I have to tell myself that getting started is a good thing, even if I can’t finish the project exactly as I had envisioned it.

    And moms of small kids, take heart. One of the most amazing days to me was the day that all of my kids could put on their own socks and shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚ We are able to now make it almost anywhere on time…

  • Lisa says:

    I LOVE it!! In a middle school parent teacher conference I quoted to the parents,”Lack of prior planning on your child’s part does not create an emergency on mine.” My administrator loved it!

    I ran right over to read Mandi’s post and was nodding my head with every point. I am a hugely efficient person and the best tip I have…

    Work your to do list in the most efficeint way by: 1. making others work for you, 2. Making your machines wirk for you, and 3. just “getter” done.

    Hmmm, I think I might just go wrote that blog post right now…


  • I’m a planner, but I’m always late for everything! Usually I just try to do too many things at the last minute. My college roommate decided to tell me a time 10 minutes before I had to be somewhere, knowing that then I would be on-time. One of the ways I’ve gotten better at it is just by getting up and dressed at a regular time. With showers, dressing, breakfast, and other morning things out of the way, I’m more likely to be on time to other things throughout the day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jen says:

    I was reminded of this simple lesson this past week. Over the weekend, I didn’t run any errands b/c I figured I’d get everything done the first couple of days this week. Well, two of my kids got sick, and stayed sick, so I did NOTHING. Hubby had to come home early today so that I could go run my errands this afternoon, in a rush to get what I need for tomorrow’s T-giving dinner. Always, esp. if you have kids (I have four and a work from home job), get stuff done when you have the chance.

  • B.FREE says:

    It’s always a challenge, but a consorted effort is a good start. I actually set appts in my phone for 30 min earl. By the time the appt rolls around I don’t want to take a chance with the actual time. Also I tell my family an earlier time for any event that we all attend. That way when we are late, we are really on time. I do it for my late friends too, tee hee!

  • Beth says:

    I struggle with being on time as well. I am much improved with effort to be better but I believe that this is an area I will always have to be intentional about as it is certainly NOT natural. Tips frOm others that have helped me, especially with the addition of children: 1) don’t plan on what time you have to leave to get somewhere, plan on the time that you need to leave your home (in other words, out of my house and getting in the car 15 min before we need to pull out of the driveway). This allows for getting the crew out of the door, strapped into car seats, the lost shoe, the forgotten whateve that I have to run back in for, etc. 2) inane emergency “kits” everywhere ( not “real” emergencies but everyday life stuff like soiled clothes, forgotten snack). I have a kid kit in each vehicle with various items, have a mini kit for myself in my purse (stain pen, band-aids, toothbrush/toothpaste, sewing kit, stamps, blank note cardsand envelopes, etc). Basket of small toys in car also. 3) have getting out the door stuff stored by back door ( we have the space in our mud room) – shoes, jackets, hats, book bags, my purse and a larger bag to throw things in if needed, hats, an extra pair of socks for each child.

    I certainly don’t have it down and I continually strive for not just on- time but peacefully on time. For now, I am happy with we did it on time!! :o)

  • Audrey says:

    AHHH this post is me. It’s so funny, because I always tell people exactly the same thing…. I was born 3 weeks late and have been late ever since!

    I have been working on being on time to church. I’m now finally at a place where I’m on time or early 80-90% of the time. Unfortunately, it’s taken me 2 years to get to that place. ๐Ÿ™ But hey, I’m there! I do it by planning WAYYY ahead. I get everything ready the night before… EVERYTHING. I lay out everyone’s clothes (I have 3 kids, 4, 2, and 6 weeks), pack the diaper bag, get breakfast dishes out, prepare breakfast to go in the oven, write out a to-do list for the morning, etc. to simplify my morning. I have to be at church at 10:30 (the church is about 8 minutes from my house), so I always plan to be LEAVING the house by 9:30. When I plan to leave by 9:30, I usually get out the door by 10:15.
    I’ve been working on this for two years and I finally have it down! Of course, now my husband has to be there at 10, so I have to plan to be out the door by 9. But I now have a system! I am on time or early more often than not.

    But yeah, it takes a TREMENDOUS amount of effort for me to get somewhere on time. And I ALWAYS have friends text me when they’re coming over. Even if I know for weeks in advance, if they text me and say “on my way”, that’s when I start cleaning for them to coming over…. even if they’re 10 minutes away. I never clean before they come, it’s always when I know they’re on their way. It’s terrible! But I don’t know how to change it! That will be the next thing I will work on after I am able to be on time to things other than church.

    And a lot of people try to help inspire me to be on time by saying things like “It’s rude to be late” or “By being late, you’re saying that you’re more important than they are” or things like that, but it absolutely does not inspire or motivate me to be on time… all it does is make me feel even more guilty than I already do! It’s not that I don’t TRY to be on time… I try all the time!! It’s just that it takes about 293480598 times more effort for me to be on time than it does for those people who are naturally on time or early for everything (like my sister). And, quite frankly, sometimes I get tired of trying so hard and failing! So it’s really discouraging when people tell me it’s rude to be late.

  • Nicole says:

    I think there is a connection of procrastination and working under pressure. I have to have a degree of pressure to really focus. So I naturally wait until I feel the heat.

  • MrsH says:

    What a great post! This is so true, and I’ve enjoyed browsing through the comments.

    I used to be an on-time/early person. I used to believe that if someone was late to meet with me it showed a lack of respect for me. Then I became a mother…

    Now I often have to choose between being somewhere on time, or showing that extra little love/patience toward my kids. We have NOT cracked the “getting out the door” formula. Sometimes we can do it in five minutes, other times it takes 20+. My son in particular is very unpredictable and has anxiety problems. The more I rush him, the longer it takes. I now regularly show up late for places, knowing that it averted a complete panic attack for him. It’s been a conscious choice, and often when planning with people now I say “how about we get there around 10?” Or even giving a time-range: “we’ll get there between 10 and 10:30.”

    In the end, it’s not a sign of disrespect for the person. It’s a sign of respect for me and my kids, knowing that we’re not going to stress and freak out over 5-10 minutes.

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