From tardy to timely: 5 tips which improved my timekeeping

I’m someone who hates being late for things. Yet since having children, my timekeeping abilities have completely gone to pot. Despite having every intention of leaving home on time, it always seems something happens at the last minute to make me late.   Small children are unpredictable – that’s my excuse. There’s the inevitable poo explosion requiring a full change of clothes just as you’re about to put their coats on, or something similar that ends up causing a delay.


And yet, when I absolutely have to be somewhere on time, I generally manage it. Why is it that I can get Jessica to preschool for 9am and struggle to get her to a toddler signing class by 10am? Are my children really to blame for my tardiness or is it my own lack of organisation?


When one of the daily 40acts emails challenged me to arrive somewhere on time, I decided that not only was I going to aim to arrive on time for every appointment that day but continue the challenge for a whole week.


From tardy to timely: 5 tips which improved my timekeeping - Little Hearts, Big Love

The first day was probably the trickiest. We had a toddler signing class immediately followed by Jessica’s community nurse check-up. The time between the two was only just enough for me to get home. We were then going to visit my mum afterwards. The morning started well. I managed to get to class early instead of a few minutes late, which made a nice change. I was much less stressed as a result. We arrived home with time to spare before the community nurse arrived and made it down to my mum’s house exactly when I said we would. It was clear that despite my excuses, I could arrive on time if I was really determined to.


One week on and my timekeeping is still good despite a couple of those last minute mini-disasters causing delays. I’ve made a few small changes which have made quite a difference.


The things that have helped improve my timekeeping:

  • Getting Jessica and Sophie’s clothes ready and put out the night before. I also make sure that I pack the change bag/preschool bag.
  • Mentally shifting the time I have to leave by forward by 15 minutes. For example,  if I have to leave by 9.30, I aim to leave the house by 9.15. This usually then means that I end up leaving at 9.30 because it always seems to take about 15 minutes from saying “we’re leaving now” to actually getting everyone out of the door.
  • Allowing enough time at the other end of the journey. This was my biggest problem with getting to toddler signing or church. I would allow for travelling time but forget that getting two small children and baggage out of the car takes several minutes.
  • Not checking social media on my phone whilst making breakfast/popping to the loo/getting ready. Those few seconds here and there add up so quickly!
  • Hubby is notorious for being late for things. I’ve learned that the time I tell him we have to leave by needs to be at least 30 minutes before we really do have to leave!


Do you have any other tips for helping ensure you are on time for things?

And then the fun began...


26 thoughts on “From tardy to timely: 5 tips which improved my timekeeping

  1. I never give my husband the correct time when he asks. If anyone invites us I just tell him that it’s a half an hour earlier so I have no advice whatsoever.
    I’ve also told my family that if they give me 10 extra minutes for every child I have to get out of the house they can expect us 50 minutes late. It frustrates me because I was one of the annoying people that was always early. That doesn’t happen anymore.

    1. Ah yes I can imagine it gets more of a challenge to get out of the house on time with more children. I was much better at it with just one!

  2. Oh I know that feeling especially the taking 15 minutes to get out of the door even with only 1!! I definitely need to get off my phone. In fact I’m supposed to be getting dressed as have to go to Bristol with work today and I’m commenting!! Keep it up and I need to take a leaf out of your book again. hehe xxx #thetruthabout

  3. I really don’t like being late, I always add minutes on to a journey etc so that I will be on time.
    Great tips, I think the one about packing bags and getting clothes ready the night before is a great one. Think I will borrow it =D

    1. Getting organised the night before makes a huge difference for me, hope it works for you x

  4. These are great tips, thank you! I have been getting later and later recently but I think it’s down to tryign to fit too much in. I need to get up earlier and leave the house sooner! x

    1. I often try to fit too much in too – have to learn now what really can wait so I can get out on time!

  5. Oh I love some of these ideas! I too find it harder to get somewhere at ten than I do at nine! e are often rushing out of the house in the mornings to get Zach to where he needs to be, it’s always a mad rush! Mind you, it doesn’t help that he’s not waking naturally at the moment and as I therefore know he needs his sleep, I leave him until as late as I can! I might try a few of these though (not sure about the social media one though – I’m an addict!). Thanks for linking up with #twinklytuesday

    1. I think sometimes having that extra time makes you tempted to cram too much in. Hope the tips help and lovely to link up again 🙂

  6. These are such great tips and well done for getting everywhere on time. Adding a few minutes on for getting the children out the car and not checking social media are particularly useful for me; I’ve just never thought of giving myself enough time to get everything out of the car once we arrive somewhere! And I’m always late! Thank you x #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Thank you – so easy to forget that getting out the car at the other end takes time too, isn’t it?! 🙂

  7. Mm, I think you’ve pretty much nailed it with the tips there Louise! Planning ahead is definitely one of the keys (although, as you say, you can’t really plan for a ‘code brown’ as you’re about to walk out the door 🙂 ) Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout again Xx

  8. I always employ the 15-minute trick too. On the whole, though, I’m generally reasonably punctual and I’ve had to train myself not to get so stressed when we end up being 5-10 minutes late for things. When you have young kids, that’s just par for the course …

    1. It is hard not to get stressed sometimes – I’ve had to learn to relax a bit more about lateness too.

  9. I am awful at being on time…. but it is starting to make my little man worry so I have decided to start working on that. Your advice is great. I am always really organised when it comes to clothes etc. but my problem is ‘the last 5 minutes before we leave’. I tend to cram in as much as possible and as you said, 5 minutes become 15… I must change my ‘leave 5 minutes early’ to 15! Great point. xxx

    1. I’m similar with trying to cram too much in to a short amount of time – having a mental time to leave that’s 15 minutes earlier really does help with that.

  10. Good for you! I hate being late for things and so far having kids has only made me late a couple of times, but I think frame of mind has a lot to do with it. Occasionally when I am meeting a friend I am late but that’s because I know she is always late so I have gradually become more relaxed about what time I get there rather than rushing and for her to be late anyway. But for the most part I hate being late so much that it is determination alone that gets us out the door on time! Xx

    1. Thanks Caroline – I think you’re right, frame of mind and determination can make such a difference!

  11. Good tips, I never really considered ‘getting out of the car’ time before. Those precious seconds on social media will be hard to give up but I can see how they’d add up too. Well done on your timekeeping. Mine is in dire straits. #thetruthabout

    1. Thank you – ignoring the social media is hard sometimes but it makes such a difference!

  12. I purposely plan to be at my destination 20 to 30 minutes before. It is okay to get there early. Allow time in case of an accident or detour.

    1. That’s a good tip – allowing extra time makes it less stressful too if there is a problem en route.

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