This is definitely a learned art, except for those few very lucky people to whom it seems to come naturally. It does not come naturally to me, though I am learning. I think the biggest secret is I have come to accept the reality that, left to my own devices, I have no realistic concept of time. My husband, on the other hand, is always on time. He gets to places nice and early, with time to get a coffee if he wants or just get into his meeting, help set up chairs, and take off his coat. We have been married nearly 18 years and it was only about two years ago that I decided he might actually have something to teach me.
I watched him for awhile and realized that he started getting ready to go WAY before the idea would have ever even occurred to me. If he is going to hockey after the kids are in bed, he will start getting his hockey stuff together after work. When leaving for church on Sundays, he will suggest getting the kids’ coats on at least 10 minutes before I would have started. He is either one of those lucky people who have a built-in realistic clock or he has learned the art of being on time.
As someone without a realistic internal clock, here is what I do:
First of all, I listen to Steve if he says we have to get ready at a particular time. I used to always disagree, saying, “Oh, we don’t have to leave then. We don’t want to be too early.” HUH?! Why not? And, was this ever really a problem for me, anyway? Nope.
Second, I take a couple of minutes to make a realistic mini-schedule for myself. This is a little secret that has helped me immensely in the art of being on time. Yesterday, we had homeschool skating as we do every week. I took out a little scrap of paper and wrote the time skating begins and the kids have to be on the ice. Next, I wrote when we wanted to arrive at the arena. Then, I worked backwards writing the things we had to do to get ready to go and assigning lots of time to each thing. Here’s how it turned out:
- 11:10am Heat up soup
- 11:15am Pack Car
- 11:25am Eat Lunch
- 12:15pm Get outerwear on and get out to car
- 12:45pm Arrive at Art Store (I had an errand)
- 1:10pm Arrive at rink
- 1:30pm Skating starts
We arrived on time and the kids were ready to go when they needed to be. The great thing about making a mini-schedule is that there are all kinds of little checks in place to keep you on track. It is hard to remember that it takes a long time to get several children ready to go, especially in the winter.
Well, I’d better go take my own advice. We have a very busy week and we need to get ready to go!