School means a new schedule. It’s not just the kids who have to adapt to a new timetable, but their parents, too. Parents who often find themselves scrambling to get out the door and arriving at their destination 10, 15, even 20 minutes late may want to explore the details of their delays. To amend chronic latest and become more punctual, consider these tips:
1. Consider the cause. Understanding the reasons behind your delays is the first step to taming tardiness.
2. Calibrate the clock. Be realistic about the amount of time it takes to get a task done or travel from one location to another.
3. Factor in the unforeseen. Create buffers by leaving early. Plan for the unexpected such as traffic, car trouble and extra help or attention your child may need. Prepare by setting out clothes, books, keys, lunches and other items well in advance to avoid last-minute delays. Prepare needed directions and put them by the door so they are ready to go.
4. Eliminate distractions. Turn off or avoid electronic items when time is tight. Delay or delegate domestic “to-dos.” Set aside less important tasks until later. Delegate responsibilities to your spouse or children.
5. Sound the alarm. Set your watch, cell phone alarm or kitchen timer to go off several minutes before you have to leave as a reminder and to give yourself a margin of error.
6. Keep calendars. Use a paper or digital calendar to keep tabs on appointments and activities you learn about while away from home. Transfer that information to a monthly family planner that is placed in a visible location.
7. Ask for accountability. Recruit someone who is punctual to be your time coach until you get a grasp on time management.
8. Respect others. Remember when you keep people waiting it is disrespectful of their time.
9. Set goals. Write down goals and an action plan and commit to it. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time limited. Create a plan for achieving those goals and list the benefits to keep you motivated.
10. Pass it on. Model for your children the importance of time management as this will have a lasting impact and permeate into their school, work and personal lives, now and in the future.
Denise Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines a mother and grandmother.