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Tricks for being *on time* when you have littles?

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I am a fairly punctual person, but I also find myself trying to be efficient to not waste any possible productive moment... and so I'm often trying to squeeze in a last little chore (throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, whatever) whenever I think I have a moment, especially before heading out the door. But invariably I didn't REALLY have the moment I thought I had (and invariably the chore takes longer to do than I expect!), and so I end up late. Not very late, but maybe 5 min late. Instead of 5 min early, which I would rather be (in theory)! I really don't mean to be inconsiderate (and I don't know that anyone we are late to really cares all that much - for instance, our piano lesson - if we are late, it is just time missed in our lesson, it's not as though it pushes our lesson later and makes our teacher run late after us.. same for swim lesson - they don't wait for latecomers, they just start and end when they are supposed to and latecomers just join in whenever they get there).

 

I've always been this way, but with kids thrown in the mix it actually becomes a problem because of all the little unexpected things that come up and just the inherent difficulties in trying to "hurry" little kids through anything, kwim? It always takes longer to get out the door and get everyone in the car  than I think it will. I think we need to leave at 9:10 for a 9:30 appt, but by the time we are actually pulling out of the driveway, it is 9:15... And it makes me feel frazzled and stressed b/c now I'm in a hurry, when really there is no reason I need to feel that way - just get ready earlier! So why can't/don't I?

 

How can I change my habit? It isn't as easy as simply saying we should go 5 min earlier, because I keep trying that and yet the same stuff keeps happening and we keep leaving 5 min later than I need to anyway. What is my problem?

 

I know some cultures are very laid back about time, and I tend to have that attitude in my own life, which I think is part of my problem. I feel like I live in a society that is a "9:30 on the dot" society, but I am a "9:30ish" kind of person. How do I get myself to be more "on the dot", or even early?

 

Thoughts?

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If I have to be on time to something - a class, an appointment, etc. I first check google maps. Because I can never remember exactly how many minutes it takes to get to x, and when I round, I tend to be too early or late. Plus, it takes current traffic into account, which can be helpful, especially if the drive is more than 15 min. 

 

If the thing is at 2pm, and the drive is 15 min, I am out of the house, even if I forgot to grab the [mildly important, but by no means essential thing] by 1:40. Because I know that it is quite likely that someone will suddenly remember an essential thing, or have trouble with their seat belt, or we will have to walk across a parking lot, and also because I don't want to feel I have to rush. 

 

I've realized it's safer to spend any "extra" time in the car at the destination rather than at home, trying to get something done. If a task can be quickly done in 5 min, I can quickly do it in 5 min another time, kwim?

 

Any time I've tried to "just quickly do x" it gives other people the idea that they also have time to spare, and can wander off and do their own "x" when in reality, my plan was for ME to do "x" while they put their shoes on. I need to be right there to keep them on task so we can actually leave the house on time. 

 

I've never really had a problem with getting to places on time when it's just me, but DH struggles with this. It helps if he thinks (or tells himself) that appointment is actually at a time 10 min before its actual time. 

 

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Honestly, forget the extra stuff.  When the kids were little I allowed 15 extra minutes.  So if it took 30 minutes to get somewhere, at 45 minutes till I said Ok, let us go.  That gave time to find those missing shoes, change my shirt when the baby spits up on it on the way out the door, etc.  Many times we ended up 10 minutes early ( I normally had a stash of stuff in the car I could work on.) However, it gave us enough margin  to get there when things went wrong.

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I allow a lot of time to leave.  Meaning if I need to be out the door at 2pm, I start well before 2pm.  This is the time frame where things seem to go wrong.  Someone can't find their shoes.  The cat pukes on the floor.  Just whatever dumb thing.  Sometimes this means I'm early.  But I'm never late. 

 

Get organized long before.  Meaning get everyone ready that morning even if you aren't leaving until 2.  If you have to leave in the morning, get whatever you can ready the night before.

 

 

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Some thoughts...

Take a task *with* you...use that "one last chore" energy on that end of your trip.

Or make the "we've arrived early" time for reading aloud and you and your kids might start aiming towards early.

 

I differentiate between "leaving" (stepping out the door) times and "rolling down the road" times. So we're leaving at 9:15 so we're rolling down the road by 9:20.

 

I've taught in many different arenas and I am understanding of late comers *but* it is always better to have students be *ready* at the start time...ready, not just arriving. It might not be something one could specifically point to as "you miss this" but the general flow of things.

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I plan at least 30 minutes to get everyone ready to go out. Shoes and potty. I do NOTHING ELSE during that time. It is part of the trip. Can't do a load of laundry during a violin lesson, and can't do laundry while prepping to leave, either. That 30 minutes prep time is part of the violin lesson. Also I plan an extra 15 minutes drive time. I'm never late, even with four younger than school age. Sometimes we are late to church, but this is because my husband is a procrastinator and we go together.

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If you think you need to leave at 9:10, you probably need to be ready leave at 9. My DH has adhd and sucks (understatement) at what I call time-space-continuum management. It's a huge source of contention around here. If you're always 5 minutes late, you can't adjust it by only 5 minutes. You need to add at least 10-15.

 

Your kids are missing more than 5 minutes if you arrive 5 minutes late. They have to get in the pool, get settled, etc. It disrupts the flow of the lesson. Even in a private lesson, you're losing more than 5 minutes. It's got to be a put-off to the teacher too, and stressful on your kids. One of mine is like me and hates to be late. It makes him more anxious, which takes him longer to acclimate and join in.

 

Don't think of it as trying to be more productive before leaving home. You're wasting time and money on the other end. It's destructive, not productive.

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If you are consistently 5 minutes late, you are not a fairly punctual person. You are a chronically late person. If you have the ability to arrive at 9:05, you possess all the skills necessary to arrive at 8:55. If something 'always comes up' than that isn't an unexpected delay. It's the thing that predictably happens and must be accounted for when you plan your departure. It simply takes you 10-15 minutes longer to get out the door than you believe it does/should.

 

You have to recalibrate yourself. Plan to arrive at appointments 15 minutes ahead of time. If you don't want to change HOW you get ready, you need to adjust your start time by thirty minutes. If you have a 9 a.m. appointment, PLAN to arrive at 8:30. This means with your current level of organizational skill, you have a fair shot of making it by 8:45. That's IN the building signing in at 8:45, not screeching into the parking lot then juggling with multiple car seats at 8:45.

 

It's not the kids, or the chores. It's YOU. People with more children and neater homes are more punctual than you because they make arriving on time a priority. It gets tedious to hear the excuse-du-jour from the chronically late person. You HAVE to be realistic about how long it takes YOU to get everyone ready and leave much sooner. It feels much better to twiddle your thumbs in an office for an extra ten minutes than it does to drive while feeling frantic. If extra time in the waiting room feels like a waste, then bring portable work and arrive even earlier. A book for the kids, paperwork, that button you never got around to sewing, your menu-planning stuff . . . anything that gets you there and settled with at least 15 minutes to spare.

 

Just DO it. It really IS a choice and not a hard wired personality setting.

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I assume it always takes 15 minutes from when I say "we're leaving" to turning on the car and driving away. That's time for shoes, bathroom, kid stalling, emergency diaper, etc. 

 

I add 5 minutes for traffic on top of google maps estimated time. 

 

And I plan on arriving 5 minutes early.

 

Sometimes, that means I'm 10-15 minutes early, which is no big deal. That's time to talk in the car, read something quick, check emails, etc. Time to breathe while all kids are strapped into car seats and can't destroy everything in sight.

 

I also do most of my chores at night or nap time. It just never goes smoothly when trying to rush through a chore so you can get somewhere on time.

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I am a very punctual person.  I am also very efficient.  I start getting ready to go 15 mins before we have to be in the car.  I don't do anything extra during that time.  That is something you really have to stop, because you need to devote at least 15 mins, it could be more if your kids are young etc, to getting ready to go. I know with my kids it is going to take 15 mins before they are ready to walk out of the door. So, I figure out when I have to leave and I count back from that.  Piano lesson is at 2, so at 1:30 we brush teeth, gather books, put on shoes, I get my kindle to read during lesson etc.  At 1:45 I am backing out of the driveway.  At 1:55 I am in front of the teacher's house.  I live in a small city and it's just a short cross town trip, thank goodness

 

Getting ready to leave is a chore in and of itself. If you are doing that, you don't do anything else.

 

I assume you already to things like have your keys on a hook by the door, shoes by the door, have your purse available and ready, etc? All of that adds extra time onto getting out the door.

 

Part of it for us, is that the activities my kids are in don't tolerate lateness.  If ballet rehearsal starts at 4:45, that means they are in the room in place at 4:45, not walking in the door.  And the same with piano.  2:00 means sitting at the piano ready to go at 2, not arriving.  The teachers would say something to me if we were showing up late on a consistent basis. Their studio rules are very clear about it. So, dilly dallying has been beaten out of me, lol.

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When I had littles and a tight schedule I wouldn't even consider throwing in extra chores.  Getting anywhere on time is chore enough.  Planning in plenty of wiggle room for the endless list of unpredictable things that we all know darn well will happen is key.  If it actually takes x amount of time to get ready in a fantastical, magical world then you have to add in at least 50% or 75% extra time for real life events that will derail or slow down the process.

All of our lessons and classes (violin, piano, guitar, Tae Kwon Do) run like clockwork.  The moment one lesson or class was over, then next started.  If you show up late your lesson or class still ended at the same time so you're not cheating someone else out of time-not the next parent who showed up on time, not the teacher who was there on time. 
 

My daughter's neurologist has a strict 10 minute grace period. If you show up more than 10 minutes late to your scheduled appointment, it will have to be rescheduled for another day.  The neurologist never shows up for your appointment more than 10 minutes after your scheduled time either. 

 

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What may be happening is that your internal clock is not actually terribly accurate.  Therefore, when you think something will take a certain amount of time it takes longer.  Sit at a table and start a stop watch.  Do NOT look at the stop watch or the clock.  When you think it has been 30 seconds stop the stop watch and see how much time has actually passed.  Now do it again, only for one minute.  Then 5 minutes.  See how far off you are when you are not distracted.  Now do it again but try to accomplish something during that moment.  See how far off your internal clock is when you are distracted.

 

Take that into account when planning.  For instance, if you know when you are doing something your internal sense of time will be off by about 5 minutes for every 10 minutes of activity, then add in that extra time to your planning.  

 

Do you have a smart phone or something that you can set multiple alarms on?  That has been a lifesaver for me.  Lets say you know you need to leave at 5:30pm.  You know it will take you :15 minutes to get there.  Add in 5 minutes extra for problems you may encounter on the drive.  That means you need to leave at 5:10pm.  Set an alarm for that time.  You will need to get everyone ready and out the door.  To make sure that you have everything you will need to get out the door, set an alarm for one hour ahead of time to leave to remind you to make sure  you know where shoes and coats and purse and wallet and keys and everything else that will be needed actually is.  MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS one hour before leaving.  If something is missing that gives you time to find it.  :)  Set another alarm for :15 before you actually need to leave so that you can get everyone ready and out the door on time.  It shouldn't be as hard since you already know where everything is that you need to get them ready and out the door.  

 

Schedule:

4:10pm alarm goes off to gather everything you need for leaving.  Gives you plenty of time to find things.

4:50pm alarm goes off to get everyone ready.  If you were able to gather everything together quickly you had at least a little time to get other things done but since you already gathered together everything you need to be able to leave, getting out the door shouldn't be very hard.

5:10pm alarm goes off to say YOU MUST LEAVE.

5:25pm  You arrive at your destination 5 minutes early, not rushed, not stressed, and you are demonstrating good time management skills to your kids.

 

I have a zillion alarms on my phone. Why?  Because my internal clock is frequently off when I get distracted.  I do not accurately estimate time.  The external scaffolding of the multiple alarms on my phone keep us all on track.  

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I think it's not trying to leave 5-10 minutes early... it's aiming to get everywhere early. So stop trying to get places on time. Try getting there early.

 

I second the suggestion to assume that it will take at least 15 minutes for the children to find and put on shoes and jackets. I'm always surprised at how long it takes them.

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I just mentally adjust any arrival times by 15 minutes.  If I have to be somewhere at 9:30 I shoot for 9:15.  That way, when someone has to use the toilet last minute or can't find that particular pair of socks they ABSOLUTELY NEED, then even when I'm running ten minutes late, I'm really not.

Edited by BigMamaBird
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People may not say outright that they mind if you are late. But they do. My mother was never on time to anything in her life. She would do last minute things before going out the door, as you mentioned. She would misjudge the amount of time it would take to get somewhere. For example, she timed the drive to church once and found that it was seven minutes. So she had in her head that she didn't need to leave the house until seven minutes before church started. She didn't account for the time it took to get out the door, stop at an unexpected red light, find a parking space, hang up her coat, walk to her seat, etc. She was always late. When we pointed out that she should leave the house earlier, her response was, "It only takes seven minutes. I timed it."

 

It might help you to think about it more from the perspective of others. Not only does it affect the people who may be waiting for you, but it affects your children. I absolutely hated that we were always late. My mom could only see things from her point of view and would not acknowledge that her tardiness affected others, so I encourage you to really rethink it.

 

I had four children aged four and under, so I totally get how difficult it is to get out the door. When I had to go somewhere in the mornings, we would get everything ready the night before. Not only would I lay out all of the clothes and load up the diaper bag, but I would set out things for breakfast.

 

Because I grew up with a poor role model and learned some of her bad habits, I've had some struggles myself in this area. I've had to retrain myself to add an extra 10-15 minutes to the travel time when we are going somewhere. I'm rarely late now.  It's possible to form new habits.

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I know what time I need to be backing out of the driveway. That is not the time we need to leave the house. So our heading to the car process is 10 minutes earlier. I get the kids in the car first, and then grab what I need. I think better once they are out of sight.

 

But it's a constant working backward for time. If we need to back out at 8:10, they need to be ready by 8, which means they need to be done eating by 7:50 which means they need to start eating at and so forth. It's a running dialog on my head and watching the clock. Mine aren't as little now, but it's the same way I've done it since they were babies. My dh on the other hand, if we need to leave at 8:10, that usually means he's finishing up his shower at that time. Still working on that one!

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We have a friend who is always late. Another friend (who is on-time) says it like this--

"The difference between X and I is that if I spilled on the floor right before walking out the door, I would leave it, and arrive on time. X would clean it up, and be late."

 

Very accurate in our situation.

 

I think you have to let that "one extra thing" go, and make getting there early (not "on time") a priority. The above example is extreme, but true, nonetheless. Because being on time involves being respectful to others, I try to make it a priority. Not always successful here!

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I forgot to say this in my other post: my mom's very worst habit time-wise was that she was always late to pick us up from our activities. I don't mean that I had to wait a minute or two. I mean that I would be the very last child there, and the group leader would have to stay with me for an extra 15 minutes while waiting for my mother to arrive. And this was not once, but every time I needed to be picked up, during my entire childhood and adolescence.

 

Once in high school, a friend drove me home because Mom was not there. And then I stood in my house and realized that Mom would eventually go to pick me up at the school and not be able to find me (this was before cell phones), so I called my friend, and she drove me back to the school, which was about 10 minutes away. And I still had to wait for Mom.

 

When we begged Mom to come on time, she shrugged it off. "I have other important things going on. I can't just drop what I'm doing."

 

I absolutely hated it. Honestly, I felt unvalued and unloved. Everyone in our family did, because it was a problem that had an impact on us all.

 

For the sake of your kids, it's worth working on this.

 

And don't ever be late picking them up from a drop-off activity!

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I just have to add that my kids are in a youth theater company and the director has a motto, "On time is late, 15 minutes early is on time."  He is very specific that if the call is for 5pm, he expects the kids to be on stage and ready go at 5pm, not walking in the door, taking off coats, removing backpacks etc. And if you can't arrive on time then there will be repercussions.  

 

And just yesterday I got an email from the Nutcracker director reminding every parent that she has understudies and will use them to replace cast members if dancers are late or miss rehearsals.

 

So, I don't know how old your kids are, but you might find that coaches and teachers stop being stop being so forgiving for lateness.

 

It's just a bad position to put a kid in, kwim?

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I start with my departure time and calculate backwards to figure out the cushion I need, then add ten more minutes for 'stuff'.

 

This morning, for co op at 9:00, we have to leave by 8:15 for driving time, start breakfast by 7:30 so we can be packed, wake the kids at 7:10 to be dressed, and begin our alarms going off at 6 am to be showered, packed, clothed, and ready to wake the kids.

 

Ta da!

Edited by Arctic Mama
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If your kids are old enough to be involved in these things, they should be.  Most on time people are taught time management; few are naturally inclined that way.

1. Make sure all your clocks are set to the correct time and there's a clock in each room.  Not having a clock in the bathroom and each bedroom can be a huge obstacle because time somehow ceases to exist while taking a hot shower, straightening your hair or wondering where your shoes are. As they get older you can use a kitchen timer for bathroom time with children who have no internal sense to time. Teen girls sometimes need it too.

 

2. Make sure your diaper bag is packed and ready before you go to bed.  Have a back up emergency stack of diapers and wipes that stays in the vehicle just in case you absolutely have to leave now and the regular diaper bag isn't ready.

3. Pack bags for classes and lessons the night before. Have bags ready and waiting in the route you take to exit your house or in your vehicle before you go to bed. Again, this is a fail safe that gives you time to find misplaced items.

 

4. I know parents of chronic shoe losers (as in people who lose shoes) who keep a back up pair of flip flops in the vehicle too.  Those are only for emergencies, not for regular use. They can be purchased very inexpensively and don't take up much space.  Of course, that only works in hot climates for a part of the year.

 

5. Some people put shoe racks next to the door they go in and out of the most and shoes are removed and placed on the rack as soon as each person enters the house.  Shoes are put on as they leave the house.  Shoes are either on feet or on the shoe rack-shoes don't go anywhere else. These would be the shoes that are worn most days to scheduled lessons, activities, and classes.  Shoes worn less regularly are in the designated shoe area of each person's bedroom.

6. Make clothing decisions the night before and physically take each item of clothing and lay them out together.  This is a fail safe that lets you know if the item you're planning on wearing is clean and in good condition. If not, you have time to get it ready or choose something else.  It also gives you time to find items that aren't where you thought they were. It gives people who have a hard time deciding plenty of time.  I didn't allow anyone to change their mind the morning of when I was responsible for getting them there. They should change their minds a hundred times the day/evening/night before, but after they went to bed it was set in stone. Once they were able to get themselves ready on time, they could decide the night before or the morning of. 

 

7. Plan departure time assuming you will have to wait for every light and some sort of back up.  You can't plan for the 4 car pile up requiring a road shut down for a medevac, but you can have a good idea (time it if you need to) of typical longer drive times for usual appointments and activites. Plan for the longer time every time.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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I have "bigs" now, not littles, but my habit has carried over:

In the morning, or after lunch for afternoon appointments, we pack everything we will need: snacks, school books, piano or ballet or karate bags. Everyone checks to make sure they have the proper books, tights, snacks, water bottles, etc. in their bags, including me. We set the bags by the door. (The boys gripe at me a little, in a grumpy teenager kind of way, but they humor me and we are almost always on time.)

 

When I had littles, it was me making sure I had the snacks, books, toys, diaper bag, kid paraphernalia next to the door. I'd put shoes/socks/jackets there too.

 

Then when it was time to go, I got everyone ready from oldest to youngest and put them in the car. As I finished shoes/socks/coat with each kid, I'd ask that kid to sit on the garage steps (with a book if they wanted) until we were all ready to go out together.

 

I did not do any last minute tasks. Stop it! ;)  I know, I know, it's SO tempting, but it makes you late, and you know it makes you late. So don't do it. Do it right *before* it's time to start get everyone ready, or when you walk back in the door. :)

 

I also allow 5 extra minutes to get everyone out the door. It used to be 10-15. Then I could deal with a potty stop right now! as we walked out the door, something that was dropped or forgotten, meltdowns, baby ran off with someone's shoe, etc. If we actually got where we were going early, woo hoo! I enjoyed 5 minutes in the car listening to the radio or reading a story. When we started arriving early regularly, I knew it was time to adjust our wiggle room.

 

ETA: I agree with posters who plan to arrive a few minutes early in order to be ready when the activity starts. We plan to arrive at 1:20-1:25 for a 1:30 piano lesson, for example. It gives the kids time to unpack their piano bags, wash their hands, argue about whose turn it is to go first, etc. :)

Edited by myfunnybunch

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If you are consistently 5 minutes late, you are not a fairly punctual person. You are a chronically late person. If you have the ability to arrive at 9:05, you possess all the skills necessary to arrive at 8:55. If something 'always comes up' than that isn't an unexpected delay. It's the thing that predictably happens and must be accounted for when you plan your departure. It simply takes you 10-15 minutes longer to get out the door than you believe it does/should.

 

You have to recalibrate yourself. Plan to arrive at appointments 15 minutes ahead of time. If you don't want to change HOW you get ready, you need to adjust your start time by thirty minutes. If you have a 9 a.m. appointment, PLAN to arrive at 8:30. This means with your current level of organizational skill, you have a fair shot of making it by 8:45. That's IN the building signing in at 8:45, not screeching into the parking lot then juggling with multiple car seats at 8:45.

 

It's not the kids, or the chores. It's YOU. People with more children and neater homes are more punctual than you because they make arriving on time a priority. It gets tedious to hear the excuse-du-jour from the chronically late person. You HAVE to be realistic about how long it takes YOU to get everyone ready and leave much sooner. It feels much better to twiddle your thumbs in an office for an extra ten minutes than it does to drive while feeling frantic. If extra time in the waiting room feels like a waste, then bring portable work and arrive even earlier. A book for the kids, paperwork, that button you never got around to sewing, your menu-planning stuff . . . anything that gets you there and settled with at least 15 minutes to spare.

 

Just DO it. It really IS a choice and not a hard wired personality setting.

:iagree:  This is everything I could have wanted to say. I am an on-time person. I was an on-time person when I had 3 kids in diapers, including a severely disabled child. I think the difference between on-time people and chronically late people is that on-time people prioritize being on-time! Shocking, right? It's a priority to me. The peace of mind it gives me, along with the respect that it conveys are important to me, therefore I make decisions that prioritize being on time over all of the possible obstacles. 

 

It is absolutely a choice. I'm not particularly organized in other areas of my life.

 

Edited by Sassenach
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I understand the urge to use every minute when the kids are little.

 

I agree with all the above advice about leaving at the set time no matter what, not doing any extra jobs within a half hour of leaving etc. There will still be times when someone falls in a mud puddle as you walk out the front door or the baby throws up all over you but they will be less.

 

That said I think the pressure on mums to be always on time is a bit harsh. Kids swimming lessons mostly run five minutes behind, tradespeople turn up an hour late, doctors and dentists run 20 minutes or half an hour late, but mums get crucified for not being on time. Because you know... We've got nothing better to do than make sure our kids get to everything on the second and it's so fun to sit in the car with four impatient kids when you get there early.

 

I don't have a problem with the "people should be punctual" thing but I hate how some professions aren't expected to run to time but mums with babies who have crazy lives are. If a mum can leave a buffer with time so can a doctor or dentist, but they don't because they can get paid more by squeezing an extra couple of patients in. And no one judges them for being chronically late.

Edited by Ausmumof3

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I am a formerly punctual person.  Before marriage and kids, I was 5-15min early for everything.  (To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late...)

 

 

When it was just me and 3 small children, I was on time most of the time.

 

Now that I have 3 big kids (that I expect to get themselves ready) and a toddler that I take responsibility for, we are perpetually late. I depend on big people to care as much about time as I do, and I think that is my problem.  I either need to micro-manage (nope!) or plan to be there 15min early.

 

For me:  Wake toddler earlier for morning appointments so she has time to eat before leaving.  Send big kids to the van 15min earlier.

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Lots of advice here. I will add that for me, I also have to prioritize myself. I make sure that I am ready to go out the door, sometimes taking stuff out to the car or putting on my coat and shoes. In between I am prompting the people around me, but once I am totally ready, they get my laser focus and my drill-sergeant orders.

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Lots of good advice already.

 

I really do like getting stuff together the night before, esp. if I'm going to be somewhere in the morning. I'm not a morning person, I'd rather have a minute to drink coffee than have to try to remember what, if anything, needs to go w/ me. It is so much easier to get my stuff together ahead of time. That also gives me time to remember if I have forgotten something & I suddenly remember it later.

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I gave myself an extra 30 minutes to get my littles ready. So, if it should take 15 minutes to get up and go, I'd give us 45. I was rarely super early. Usually just a couple of minutes early. And I was calm when I got there.

 

Now that they're old, I give us 10 extra minutes. So if it should take 15 minutes to get up and go, I give us 25.

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I know some cultures are very laid back about time, and I tend to have that attitude in my own life, which I think is part of my problem. I feel like I live in a society that is a "9:30 on the dot" society, but I am a "9:30ish" kind of person. How do I get myself to be more "on the dot", or even early?

 

Thoughts?

 

The only way to fix this problem is to starting telling yourself the truth.  You need to be honest with yourself about how long it takes everyone to put on shoes (and coats, and hats, and back packs, and whatever) and get in the car.  If you honestly don't know, time it.  Then add 5 minutes.  THAT is the amount of time you need to allot.

 

And your "ish" problem is just another form of the lie.  The appointment isn't at 9:30ish.  9:30ish doesn't exist.  It's a fiction.  It's at 9:30.  And even if it takes you some time to figure out how to be on time, it will start with telling yourself the truth about what time the appointment actually is, because "ish" times don't exist.  There is only actual time. 

 

At the beginning of the post you said you consider yourself a punctual person, but at the end you put the lie to it.  I don't mean to be harsh, but until you bring yourself into alignment with the truth about time, you will never fix this problem, and you are setting your kids up to not know how to be on time, either (and possibly cause some of them to resent you later on, when they have to be embarrassed by you consistently getting them places late).

 

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. Kids swimming lessons mostly run five minutes behind, tradespeople turn up an hour late, doctors and dentists run 20 minutes or half an hour late,

 

Actually, this these people being late is not inevitable.  If you ask around, you will quickly learn which medical people in your area run offices that are routinely on-time (go to those people and be super nice to their front people, because they are the ones who make it happen).  Same thing with tradespeople.  There is no reason that they need to be routinely late.  If you ask around, you can find people with a rep for being on-time.  Some of them even give an on-time guarantee. As for kids lessons, if my kids lessons routinely started behind, I would ticked off and talking to the teacher about it.  There is just no reason for anyone to be routinely late.  Yes, of course things happen.  I  think everyone understands that.  But those who are routinely late are that way by choice, because they believe that their time is more important than everyone else's.

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I think the other thing that is sometimes not taken into account when trying to figure out an accurate 'getting there' time is the time once you actually arrive at the place, find parking, unload multiple kids (& fetch shoes that have come off in the car, get bags out, etc...), walk to the building at a small child's pace, get in the door, & then sign in or unload bags or take off jackets, etc.... That can easily add 5 to 10 minutes to any outing & that's assuming easy, nearby parking & no real stuff to 'do' once you get in the building. Be sure to add those minutes in too. Being in the parking lot at the correct time doesn't actually mean that you are on time for your appointment or class, kwim?

 

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You have lots of good advice here. I'll just add that, for me, with kids there is no on time. There is early, and there is late. If Just focus on getting everyone out the door, we are usually early. I like building in a little extra time for kid surprises. If I shoot to be exactly on time or try to squeeze in one more thing, I am inevitably late. I've had to accept thus fact if life, and since I prefer to be and try to choose to he early, we just focus on getting out the door.

 

I'm fairly certain I will not look back on my life with littles and think, "Gee, that was a super efficient period in my life." Bit is what it is.

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I assume it will take 15 minutes longer for me to get anywhere than the expected drive time. My older kids will take 30 minutes to get ready. My younger two, 15 because I'm managing them. I myself am ready to go at that time and I do nothing else but get the kids ready.

 

So if I must be somewhere at 9:30 and it takes 30 minutes to drive, we must be in the car at 8:45. At 8:15, I send my older two to brush teeth, fix hair, and put on clothes. At the same time, I'm changing diapers and clothing my toddlers. At 8:30, I check on my older two and make sure their grooming is done. At 8:35, everyone is putting shoes on; I load the toddlers then urge the older two to finish up. We are usually in the car and gone by 8:40, but if any emergencies arise, I have 5 minutes grace.

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There is just no reason for anyone to be routinely late.  Yes, of course things happen.  I  think everyone understands that.  But those who are routinely late are that way by choice, because they believe that their time is more important than everyone else's.

 

I have been reading this thred on and off all day and nodding my head with so many replies and let me tell you why.

 

I am related to several always-late, no-sense-of-time, wanna-do-just-one-more-thing people.

 

It makes me *so* furious, all the time and dang man! it feels good to see your own thoughts echoed by other people.

 

"There is no 9:30is, that is a fiction." Oh my goodness! Yess! Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Let me also note that I am part (ish LOL) of a subculture that routinely takes set times as suggestions, as you mentioned in the OP.  YOU! ARE! NOT!  and no one is ever going to give you the kind of grace you want irt time. Because chronically late people...it doesn't have anything to do with kids or laundry or traffic or anything else. All the rest of us out in the world are dealing with those things too, and by gum, we still show up at the appointed time, barring any actual emergencies.

 

It really sticks in your craw to listen to someone tell you they "can't" do something you do all day, every day. There will never come a time when your chronic lateness is not felt as what the bolded in the above reply says, except by the most laid back of people.

 

Now....that said..... for some reason, people are writing as if Executive Functioning issues are not a very real and present concern. They DEFINITELY are. For people who love people with ADD or anything related, we know this all too well.

 

But that does not remove the responsibility from your shoulders to address your Executive Functioning deficiencies, because you're a grown up! You just have this extra step of saying "Oh man bummer, I need help with EF!" And then you have to get it!

 

I am sending you hugs! There is no moral judgement (from me) toward you for not being able to get places on time. But let me reiterate, that for a variety of reasons your ~ish-inclined EF-deficient mind probably doesn't organically cotton to, the above is how other people feel when you subject them to your lateness all the time.

 

You can TOTALLY, totally get better about this! I promise; I have seen it done!  But you do have to decide to take those steps.

 

[Yes I feel very strongly about this! Being the lone EF-fine adult in a sea of EF issues will do that to a body ;-) ]

 

You can do it!

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Actually, this these people being late is not inevitable. If you ask around, you will quickly learn which medical people in your area run offices that are routinely on-time (go to those people and be super nice to their front people, because they are the ones who make it happen). Same thing with tradespeople. There is no reason that they need to be routinely late. If you ask around, you can find people with a rep for being on-time. Some of them even give an on-time guarantee. As for kids lessons, if my kids lessons routinely started behind, I would ticked off and talking to the teacher about it. There is just no reason for anyone to be routinely late. Yes, of course things happen. I think everyone understands that. But those who are routinely late are that way by choice, because they believe that their time is more important than everyone else's.

Not where I live. It's just a given that you will wait for your dr as long as it takes.

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I just tell myself that the time is 1/2 hour earlier than it actually is. So if I need to be there by 2pm then in my mind it's 1.30th!

 

That works for me anyways. ;-)

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 But those who are routinely late are that way by choice, because they believe that their time is more important than everyone else's.

 

Or they don't value time very much in general. 

 

There are people wired and/or cultured to consider time consciously as a precious commodity and non-renewable resource.  Then there are people who  aren't really conscious of time at all, so they're not thinking about it in terms of high value or low value or mine is more valuable than yours.  It's not the framework they work in so it's not the deciding factor when making decisions-other things are the deciding factor.

 

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Say yes to less stuff that's on a strict schedule.

 

Plan to get there half an hour early.  In my house that usually ends up being 10-15 minutes early.

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Actually, this these people being late is not inevitable.  If you ask around, you will quickly learn which medical people in your area run offices that are routinely on-time (go to those people and be super nice to their front people, because they are the ones who make it happen).  Same thing with tradespeople.  There is no reason that they need to be routinely late.  If you ask around, you can find people with a rep for being on-time.  Some of them even give an on-time guarantee. As for kids lessons, if my kids lessons routinely started behind, I would ticked off and talking to the teacher about it.  There is just no reason for anyone to be routinely late.  Yes, of course things happen.  I  think everyone understands that.  But those who are routinely late are that way by choice, because they believe that their time is more important than everyone else's.

I've even worked in medical offices and never heard of this! I've also never once been called back less than 15 minutes post-appointment despite the fact that I am always early. Always.  Delays happen and some professionals are just completely inconsiderate of patient time.  

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I've even worked in medical offices and never heard of this! I've also never once been called back less than 15 minutes post-appointment despite the fact that I am always early. Always.  Delays happen and some professionals are just completely inconsiderate of patient time.  

 

I've had times I've barely sat down when I was called back.  I was on time.  a lot of that is less the caregiver than the front office who do the actual scheduling.   (and one who was never, ever, ever within 20 minutes. 45-60 minutes wasn't unheard of.)

 

bigger clinics which have pressue to see more patients are more likely to have longer wait times. (think overbooking an airline flight so the flight is still full when they have no-shows.) - though one major hospital associated clinic system here has a sign that says if you've been waiting 15 minutes to go let the desk know you're still waiting.

 

smaller practices that are more concerned with quality of patient care - don't have as tight a window for how many patients they see.

Edited by gardenmom5

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To keep us on time we pack everything the night before.  Clothes are laid out and shoes always by the door.  My other secret to success is my magic van.  The magic van always has disposable plates, cups and silverware, a Rubbermaid container of snacks and juice boxes, seasonally appropriate change of clothes for each child as well as a set of inexpensive shoes, hair brush, nail clippers, hair ties, and when we have foster babies there are clean sippy cups, extra wipes and diapers.  If a kid spills something on the way out the door, they can change in the van while the other kids are getting strapped into car seats.  The "I need a drink or snack because without it I will die" is covered.  Its in the van, get in your car seat and you can have it.  If we use anything out of the van, then it is replaces as soon as we get home.  Replacing our supplies is the first priority when we return from anywhere. 

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 OP, all I would have to do is focus on the wasted money! 

 

5 minutes late to a 30-minute lesson means you lose almost 17% of that lesson. If the lesson costs $20, that's $3.40 wasted, just for that one time.  

 

Figure this out for each type of lesson, then add up how much money you lose in a typical year. 

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Or they don't value time very much in general. 

 

There are people wired and/or cultured to consider time consciously as a precious commodity and non-renewable resource.  Then there are people who  aren't really conscious of time at all, so they're not thinking about it in terms of high value or low value or mine is more valuable than yours.  It's not the framework they work in so it's not the deciding factor when making decisions-other things are the deciding factor.

 

 

I'm not sure that makes it any better.  When something doesn't belong to you, you don't get to take it, regardless of it's value. 

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We just have a set time that we're going to leave.  Always.  

 

 

It's funny, because on my own, I tend to run late.  Or be right on time.  But that's just because of years of being so early I was the first person to arrive, which was awkward.  Not that it's a big deal, but I just started pushing my time forward a little bit because why go sit and wait for others to arrive when I could comfortably do ___ at home for a few more minutes?  

This, I see nothing wrong with.

 

 

But there are lots of things I am Not late for....

 

1. Appointments.  I'd rather be early and have to wait longer in the waiting room than late.  I know how long it *could* take to get somewhere, based on the worst traffic, and pick that amount of time to give myself.  It makes me early most of the time - sometimes very early.  But I'd rather that than be charged a fee for being late, or have to reschedule, etc.

 

2. Church.  This one is a habit.  When we were at our old church, where we were super involved, it was normal for us to have to be there at 9am on a Sunday morning for practice.  So... we just were.  Even if we didn't have practice that morning, we were there at that time.  Now, at the church we currently attend, it was just a matter of figuring out how long the drive would take.  Now that we know we can get there on time by leaving at 9:45, that's when we try to get out the door.  

 

3. Anything I've scheduled.  This one is a major big deal to me, and it applies to a few different areas:

- at church - not necessarily relevant anymore (:( ) but back when we were at the other church and we did musicals, if I asked singers to show up to practice extra at 5:30 before dress rehearsal at 6:30, you better believe I should be there, too.  In fact, I should be one of the first ones there, no matter how inconvenienced it could make me or my family.  

- field trips - Many times, people follow me on field trips.  Since we live in the middle of nowhere, we have to go about an hour for most of them.  So I always try to leave enough time for a stop if absolutely necessary - though we usually don't take it.  While not everything is my responsibility, I feel like it's definitely my responsibility to be there waiting for people to arrive, whether at a meeting point to drive up or at the destination.  I just feel like, as the coordinator, I should be there as the voice and presence who knows what's going on, etc.  And if we're going to something at a certain time, I do the same as with the appointments - allow the most time it could potentially take.  The city during rush hour is unpredictable, so for one 3 hour drive I gave myself 4 hours, especially for a destination I hadn't been to before.  Being ahead of schedule only meant that we had second breakfast at 8:30 at a random McDonald's off the interstate.  :)

- other activities I've scheduled - when we planned an art class, we agreed to be the people to be there first to help set up.  Most days, I was the first one there.  Now we do sports days (an afternoon of outside 'PE' type activities) and I am to be the first to arrive at those, too.  Yesterday it was at 2 and I knew we had some setting up to do - I prefer to set up before anyone arrives, so that they aren't waiting.  It's only a couple minutes from my house, but I wanted to go by the coffee shop and get a mocha and then I needed to get some cash at the ATM to buy a couple books from someone who was attending, so I left at 1:30.  I arrived at the field at 1:45.  Even if it makes me the first one there, and even if I still end up having to wait to set up because I don't have all the materials, it's what makes me feel like I'm doing my part.

 

 

 

So anyway, all that to say, it's just training yourself.  Don't do the one extra thing.  There's always time later.  Most laundry at my house gets put in the washer sometime after dinner and then in the dryer sometime that night.  Kids are responsible for bringing it to me when dirty - boys are responsible for folding their own and the towels.  The boys load the dishwasher after meals.  Etc.  But even if they weren't doing it, there's a certain flow that I keep to and I don't try to squeeze things in if there isn't time.

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I'm not sure that makes it any better.  When something doesn't belong to you, you don't get to take it, regardless of it's value. 

 

I wasn't suggesting it makes it better.  I was pointing out that not everyone thinks of things in the terms you describe. You should be very wary about making blanket statements about what another people are thinking-it will probably get you into trouble some day. You made some very specific accusations about people with poor time management skills thinking they are more important than other people.  That's just not true of all of them.   My post was to demonstrate how a mental shift in viewing time can result in different behaviors. People struggling with time management need to see the difference in mindset so they decide if they want to adopt the new mindset or not.

 

I have outstanding time management skills and I'm very punctual, but I'm not going to falsely accuse everyone who struggles in that area of being proud and selfish-especially at a forum where someone asked for help.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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