This material was originally developed following the Making Life Easier workshop. Many people have difficulty arriving places on time but the techniques below can help you ensure that you are always on-time.

Being late for appointments or deadlines is embarrassing, inconveniences others, and causes you to miss out. The secret to always arriving promptly: treat punctuality like any other project or goal: visualize what you want to accomplish, and work backwards from there to see how to achieve it. For this or any system to work, you must do some advance effort. However, after using this system for a while, being on time will become much easier and you will go through the steps automatically. (It may help you feel better about doing this work to realize that these tasks are actions you would need to do anyway, but doing them in a deliberate, planned way prevents stress, rushing, and scrambling.)

Event / appointment for which I wish to be on time ____________________________
Date __________________ Day __________________________ Time ___________
(double-checking date and time is often a good idea)

1. Allow extra time for transit so that even if many things go wrong (such as, traffic jams, getting lost, or car, bike, or bus breakdowns), you will have left enough of a time cushion to still arrive when needed. Bringing reading or work materials can make transit time productive if taking buses or waiting for a transit snafu to resolve.
Typical transit time to my destination _________ worst case transit time ___________
I need to leave by ________

2. Think about what you must do before leaving the house. How long do these activities take, allowing for Murphy's Law (anything that can go wrong, will)? (Once you master this process, many fewer things will go wrong.)
Amount of time needed to prepare and eat breakfast _________________________
Amount of time needed for bathing and dressing ____________________________
Amount of time needed for other essential preparations _______________________

3. Many preparations to depart on time can be done the night before, such as

4. When do you need to go to bed to get 8 hours sleep and get up early enough to leave on time:
Getting ready to leave takes ___ (hours – worst case), so I need to get up by ________. To get 8 hours sleep, I need to be in bed by _________.
Getting ready for sleep takes ____________ (how long) so I should start by ________.
My evening activities need to wrap up by _________. (Time yourself doing all these steps to have accurate time estimates for future planning.)

5. What will ensure that you are ready for sleep before you actually need to go to bed? Perhaps a morning exercise session will help your body be ready for sleep when you need for it to do so. An early evening neatening up session may help you feel more ready for sleep. Are there tasks that must be done before you can fall asleep? If so, do these as early as possible.

Some preparations require thinking further ahead than the night before, such as shopping for breakfast items or portable snacks. Setting limits on distractions that keep you from getting ready efficiently or interfere with getting ready is also important.

Planning to meet deadlines is the same process: identify all the tasks that must be done to get everything done on time, identify how long each takes (with fail-safes in place to ensure that you are prepared for anything that goes wrong), then map out how much has to be done for each unit of time to make sure that it is all finished on time or even ahead of schedule (and bask in how good that feels!).

 For more on using time well, see other newsletter issues:
Time Management Tips For People With Clutter Issues

Organizing With Tiny Bits Of Time

and finally, which despite it’s title is really about making time for what’s important
Combining Fitness and Organizing

In the larger sense, all the newsletter issues on my website are about saving time, which is the heart of what organizing does.

© Gloria Valoris, 2013

Previous | Next

Articles Index

Home | Newsletters and Articles | Services | Workshops | Resources | Contact

Office Organization | Time Management | File Systems | Hoarding