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I'm Late, I'm Late-For a Very Important Date

By Maria Gracia

Do you sometimes feel like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland? One of the most memorable scenes was that frantic rabbit hysterically shouting, 'I'm late, I'm late--for a very important date.'

You don't have to rush to get where you're going to be on time. A little bit of creative scheduling and discipline will allow you to slow down, de-stress and be there a few minutes AHEAD.

  1. DO SOME PERSONAL CALCULATIONS. Know your numbers! For example, let's say you have an appointment at 10:30AM tomorrow morning. And let's go on to say your numbers are as follows:

    * You need 8 hours of sleep.
    * It takes you 30 minutes to fall asleep.

    * Always pad your time needed by a 'minimum' of 30 minutes.
    * You need 90 minutes to wake up, shower, dress, etc.
    * You need 10 minutes to walk the dog.
    * It's winter and you have to warm the car for 5 minutes.
    * It will take you a 'maximum' of 40 minutes to get to your appointment. (Always plan on the trip taking longer. With traffic, construction, etc., it usually does.)

    What time should you wake up? Add up your morning numbers. In this case, you'll need 175 minutes--approximately 3 hours, from the moment you wake up, to get there with enough time to spare, and without rushing. So, if you have to be there at 10:30AM, you should wake up no later than 7:30AM, and do everything you have to do without getting distracted. Use a timer to ensure you're staying on track, and not taking too long doing any one activity.

    Also, be sure you get enough sleep the previous night. In this case, you should go to bed no later than 11:00PM, or earlier if possible.

  2. WATCH OUT FOR THOSE DISTRACTIONS. Imagine this scenario. You went to bed early, woke up on time, and were currently 'on schedule.' That is--until the phone rang. Instead of allowing the answering machine to screen your call, you decided to pick up. You soon discover it's Aunt Martha who just had to tell you about her wonderful birthday party. She just rattles on and on, until you can finally get a word in, and tell her you'll have to call her after your appointment. She says, 'Ok, I just have to tell you one more thing . . .'

    Needless to say, you're now late.

    When you have to go somewhere, always have your answering machine (or your receptionist) screen your calls. Chances are, it won't be an emergency, and you'll be able to return the call later, when you have more time.

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  3. IF YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE 5 MINUTES, COUNT ON 10-15. There are very few things you can do that will only take 5 minutes or less to complete. For example, you may think it takes 5 minutes to check your e-mail, but very often, it takes 15 minutes or more. Once you get into your e-mail program, dial up, read a few letters, perhaps respond to a few, and then close your program, that original 5 minutes often is long gone. 3 words: Pad your time.

  4. SOUND THE ALARM. Alarm clocks are not just for waking you up in the morning. If you have to leave your house or office at 3:00 in the afternoon, set the alarm to buzz at that time. You can also use a watch alarm, or a computer software reminder alarm.

  5. GET READY THE NIGHT BEFORE. Don't wait until the morning arrives before deciding what you're going to wear, or what you have to bring. The night before, lay out your clothes, have the kids' lunches ready to go in the refrigerator, organize your materials and put them near the door, make sure you have enough gas in the car, etc. If you do everything you need to do the night before, you'll be able to dress and go, without stress, in the morning.

  6. SET THE CLOCK AHEAD. Set your clock and/or watch ahead the number of minutes that you're usually late. For instance, if you're usually 10 minutes late, set your watch so that it's 10 minutes fast. Try to forget it is running fast, so you don't think you have extra time.

  7. BEWARE THE SNOOZE BUTTON. Most alarm clocks come equipped with a snooze button that temporarily stops the alarm, and allows you to sleep for a few more minutes. Try placing your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you actually have to get up out of bed to turn it off. Once you're up, don't go back to bed. Or, if you must hit the snooze button once or twice, set your alarm clock earlier to make up for the extra time you need.

  8. KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING AND HOW TO GET THERE. If you're traveling to an unfamiliar place, it is very important to get proper directions well ahead of time. Read through the directions beforehand, and study a map if necessary. If you're taking public transportation, determine the scheduled departure and arrival times.

  9. PLAN AN ALTERNATE ROUTE. Your original planned route may not turn out to be the quickest route. Traffic delays happen for all sorts of reasons: construction, accidents, weather, and so on. If you discover you can't take your original route, you'll have to go another way. Know your alternate routes, before you leave your home or office. This way, you'll be able to allow for extra time. Listen to the local traffic report on your radio while you're dressing or when you get in your car, and use the best route for that day.

  10. PLAN TO GET THERE EARLY. If you have a meeting at noon, plan to get there between 11:30 and 11:45 at the very latest. You won't be late. Plus, if you happen to get there early, great! Now you have time to read that article you packed in your briefcase last night! Good for you!

© Maria Gracia
Maria Gracia - Get Organized Now! FREE Idea-Pak and E-zine filled with tips, ideas, articles and more to help you organize your home, your office and your life at the Get Organized Now! Her e-books include Finally Organized, Finally Free, Get Organized Now! Easy Organizer, Get Organized Now! Holiday Planner, Ultimate Guide for Professional Organizers, and Give to Get Marketing Solution! Visit her web site at


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