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My #1 tip for being on time

Running late has a number of unhappy consequences, and some of them are financial in nature.

For instance, if you are too late to a doctor’s appointment, you can face missed appointment fees.

Or if you’re late getting your kids to an extra-curricular lesson, you’re missing out on time that you’ve already paid for.

Ditto for things like therapist appointments. You pay for the whole hour whether you’re there for all of it or not, so you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you arrive on time.

And of course, if you are habitually late to work, that can result in job loss.

Totally not a frugal thing. 😉


There are a lot of ways to help yourself be on time, but here’s my (not-earthshaking) trustiest tip:

Always plan to leave at least 10-15 minutes before you NEED to leave.

This is not necessarily so that you’ll arrive 10-15 minutes early. Rather, it gives you a target that you can miss by a bit without suffering serious consequences.

Because no matter how well you plan, if you have multiple people that need to get out the door, something will go wrong on a regular basis, and you will regularly miss your target exit time.

Here are a few examples of how this plays out for me.

It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to church, so if I need to be there at 9:30, we plan to leave the house by 9:00.

If we leave at 9:00, great!   We’ll have a little extra time to set up.

But if someone is running a little slow with their breakfast-eating or someone forgot to brush their teeth until the last minute, it’s ok.   We can leave a little after 9:00 and still be on time.

It also takes about 15 minutes to get to our martial arts class, so we plan to leave a half hour early.

If we actually do get out of the house on time, then we might have time to pick up holds at the library on the way, and we have plenty of time to get settled in at the gym before class starts.

And if someone’s rushing around trying to find their belt at the last minute, that’s all right…we’ve got a little play built into our schedule.

I admit, this is kind of a mind game, but it totally works for us.

Setting a goal that’s a little more strict than necessary gives us all something to shoot for, and while it might make more logical sense to leave at 9:15 to make a 15-minute drive to a 9:30 appointment, I know that we wouldn’t always hit that 9:15 mark.

And then we would be late!

So, it’s better to set an earlier launch time that gives us a bit of a cushion.

And I’d rather “waste” a few minutes by arriving early than waste money by missing appointments or work hours.   The reduction in stress alone is totally worth the possibility of having to wait when I arrive early.

Please note: I am not always perfectly on time. Like most people, I run late sometimes. But planning to leave earlier than necessary has been a huge sanity saver for my family and me, and it’s helped us be on time more often than not.


I’d love to hear your #1 tip for getting out of the door on time (and I’m interested to hear if any of you play the same mind game we do here!)

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Glory Lennon

Wednesday 29th of March 2017

Amazing! I do this too. 15-20 minutes built in to launch time... it works. Hardly ever late.


Friday 3rd of March 2017

That's a great tip for being on time for day to day. I wonder if there are any tips for how to be on time when you have a longer distance to travel. For example, I dread trying to be on time for appointments that are an hour away. With that distance of travel, the traffic plays a much bigger role in whether you get there early or late than on if you leave at the right time.

I've tried the 'leave an extra half hour buffer' and the results have ranged from getting there on time despite heavy traffic to getting there 45 minutes early! That's not as big a deal nowadays with smartphones -- you can keep busy. But in the old days, it was a challenge to entertain yourself when you're that early.


Thursday 2nd of March 2017

I hate being late. Since we homeschool, we actually have very few events that we must be on time for, so that is nice in one sense, but it also means my kids don't always have a lot of practice with getting out the door in time!

Right now, especially with the ages my kids are, the best tactic for me is to plan ahead. If we have somewhere to be in the morning, like church, I do as much prep as I can the night before: I'll pack my bag with everything they'll need, I'll set out everybody's clothes on their dressers, I'll line up all the shoes and socks (and, if it's winter, I'll make sure that everybody's hat and gloves/mittens are in their coat pockets), I'll prep the coffee so we just have to hit "on" when we wake up in the morning. :) I often forget to comb my girls' hair until we are just about to leave, so I'll leave the spray and comb on the coffee table so I'll see them and not forget. If we're going somewhere where we need lunch, I'll pack it the night before. We'll sometimes even put the cereal bowls and spoons out on the table, just so there's even one less thing to do.

I also try to shower the night before if I have to be somewhere in the morning, which also helps things run faster.

In general, though, doing as much of the prep as possible the evening before is a huge help in us getting out the door.


Thursday 2nd of March 2017

I was taught, when your early your on time. When your on time your late, and when your late your lost! Good rule of thumb...I am always early...


Thursday 2nd of March 2017

I actually can't stand being late and I would always prefer to be early and have time to relax and wait instead of rushing.

Morning appointments are the easiest for my household because we have a strict morning routine and a set music playlist. So we do the same routine every morning and I know if I hear a certain song then I only have a set amount of time left to be out the door. We also pack bags and set out everything the night before.

For things later in the day I leave half an hour early because traffic in the city can be really unpredictable

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