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Manage Your Time Better

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Tips on Being Punctual

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Tips to Help You Be More Punctual

man waiting at train station
  The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before. ~ G. K. Chesterson

If you have trouble with being punctual, try these tips to help get places on time.

Keep All of Your Appointments in a Master Calendar

1. Write down all of your appointments, activities, parties, lunches, etc. in one place on one master calendar. This can be either a desk top, wall, PC or online calendar. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Use whatever works best for you. The important thing is to not have multiple calendars that can get out of sync. Google has free online calendar software that allows friends and family members to see each other's schedules. If you have children it helps to have one master family organizer calendar kept posted on the wall where everyone can see their own schedule and the schedules of all of the other family members. Visit www.google.com/calendar for more information.

Don't write your appointments on little scraps of paper taped to your PC monitor, refrigerator or bathroom mirror. If you have your appointments reminders all over the house then sooner or later you are going to end up having a scrap of paper on the bathroom mirror to remind you of a doctor's appointment at the same time the scrap of paper on your PC reminds you of a lunch appointment with your old friend Susie. So keep everything you need to do on one master calendar in order to prevent overlaps and schedule conflicts.

Put Travel Times in Your Calendar

2. On your calendar, don't just write down the time of your appointments, but the time you need to leave the house for your appointments. Plan on arriving 10 - 15 minutes early to allow for delays. Take a book to read, a nail file, crossowrd puzzle, or head phones and an MP3 player with music or books on it for something to do if you arrive early.

If you are going some place new, the night before look at a map and estimate how long it will take to get there and add a little pad time for getting lost along the way. You can also print out directions from an online site like Yahoo Maps or Mapquest to help figure out the best route and shortest driving times.

Take a Tip from the Boy Scouts and Be Prepared

3. Each day check your calendar to see what is going on the next day, or better yet the next week, and prepare any items you need well in advance of each event or appointment. I don't have a GPS system so I always keep maps of the local area in my car. That way if I get stuck in traffic, get lost or need to take a detour I can still find my way to my destination.

Lay out the items you need for activities the night before. If you have young children still in diapers, keep their diaper bags packed and ready to go at all times with wipes, fresh diapers, clean clothes and snacks. School age children should lay out their clothes, homework, shoes, jacket, etc. the night before school to save time in the morning. It helps to have a checklist or chart for children (and adults, too) with a list of these tasks so kids can check them off the night before as they are completed. Working adults can layout clothes, work papers, etc. the night before work. Brown bag lunches can be made the night before and kept in the refrigerator.

Streamline Your Morning Routine

4. If you or members of your family have trouble with being on time in the mornings, try the following tips.

Save the more elaborate breakfasts for weekends. During the week have easy breakfast foods laid out and ready to go, such as hard boiled eggs, English muffins, sliced deli ham, fresh fruit, fruit salad, juice, prepared quiches, cold cereal and protein bars.

If bathroom congestion is a problem in the morning, have some family members shower at nighttime instead of in the morning. You can also have a set schedule for bathroom times for each family member for both day and evening routines.

Keep Track of Your Keys

5. If you are frequently late because you can't find your keys, try to always keep your keys in the same place. Then keep a spare set of keys in a designated place - just in case. Another option is to buy an electronic key finder. There are some where you attach a sound activated device to your keys. If you can't find your keys you can clap your hand and your keys will start beeping. Key chains and clips can also be helpful for wandering keys.


6. If you late in the morning because you oversleep, try setting your alarm clock very loudly and put it across the room so you have to walk over to turn it off. If you get an alarm clock with an AM/PM setting, then you can set it right away each morning for the next day. Try to go to bed early enough each night so your body isn't still in a deep sleep phase when it is time for your alarm to go off.

Food for Thought Quotes

Appointments once made become debts. If I have made an appointment with you, I owe you punctuality; I have no right to throw away your time if I do my own. ~ Cecil

Method is the very hinge of business; and there is no method without punctuality. ~ Cecil


Nothing inspires confidence in a business man sooner than punctuality, nor is there any habit which sooner saps his reputation than that of being always behind time. ~ W. Mathews

More quotes on being punctual.


  Want of punctuality is a want of virtue. ~ J. M. Mason