You agree to meet at 9am
That seems perfectly reasonable.
You wake up at 6.30, eat breakfast, shower and grab your car keys. It’s 9.01 already. Sound familiar?
I am sure that pre-baby I was pretty punctual. I would plan my day around being at a certain place at a certain time. I am the sort of friend who will make you wait at a train platform half an hour before because I like to make sure I’m on time.
Now I don’t know if recently it was baby-related or lockdown related, but my friends knew that if I agree 9 am, I’ll be there, at best, by 9.30. It wasn’t like me and I didn’t like it.
So I’ve written my scheduling tips for the person who is never on time, to see if it helps.
Prepare the night before
I don’t just mean the big things. I mean outfits, face mask, any snacks etc. If you’re travelling with your partner, encourage them to do the same. If you’re travelling with your baby, pack their bags the night before and leave their outfit out ready to pop on in the morning. If you’re taking a lunch, do it the night before. You get the idea. It’s all in the preparation and scheduling time in to do it beforehand.
Set 10 minute timers
You go to put on your makeup and a YouTube notification has popped up. Great. You can do your stuff whilst you watch a shopping haul of a shop you will never visit. 30 minutes have passed. And you’re only onto eyebrows. How did this happen?!
Next time you need to do anything, set a timer. It will give you a reminder that whilst you dawdle, time is galloping by and you’ve got plans to keep and friends to meet.
Distract them into the car
Anyone else have a child who will NOT get into the car when you’re in the biggest rush?! They don’t half pick and chose their tantrum days, don’t they?! My latest technique of luring Charlotte into the car seat is sticker books. She loves them. And they give her something to fiddle with whilst I bundle everything into the boot. My favourites are the real cheapy ones from Home Bargains or The Works. 75p for a few minutes of peace? Yes please.
Leave Time for The Unexpected
Many a time I have run late due to a poo-nami. Not me personally. But a change of nappy, change of clothes and the clear-up operation is timely. Leave time in your plan to handle these. If you’re a bit early, great, but otherwise, you’ll just be on time.
Stop making plans with friends when you know it’s right after nap time. The time you plan to go for a much-awaited coffee WILL be the time your child goes for an extended wonder sleep. It’s just the way the world works. So be realistic. When your friend says ‘What time is good for you?’ TELL THEM THE TRUTH. If you’re making an appointment with a doctors/opticians, schedule it before or way after they should finish napping, or if they’re young, when they can sleep in the pram. The last thing you want is to awake sleeping beauty and take along a gremlin to your appointment or catch up.
Text When you leave
Communication is key. If you know it takes 15 minutes to get there and it takes them 20, agree to text when you leave, therefore everybody wins. Delays will happen, even if you’ve followed all of the above tips. But at least if it’s not going to plan, they’re in the loop and not sitting like a lemon.
Get Fuel before the Warning Light Comes on
I can’t stress this enough. One of my most annoying chores is filling the car with fuel. And it will be on the day you’re in a rush that you realise you need to make a detour to fill up. Then there’s a queue. Then someone wants to buy all the sandwiches in the garage. Then you can’t get out of the junction. It honestly gives me sweaty palms. When you’re heading home from yesterday’s trip, just make sure you’ve got enough that it won’t delay you tomorrow.
Remember why it’s important
Ultimately, nothing will motivate you more than realising why it’s important to get to your destination on time. Is it because it’s an important work meeting? Is it because you know your friend has got themselves organized to be there so it’s only decent to attempt to do the same? Is it because it’s a class that you’ve been waiting ages to take part in?
Being on time isn’t the be-all and end-all. But it might just be worth taking the time to be on time.