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I was raised to be on time.  This concept may seem awkward to a lot of people.  I don’t recall how I learned this or how it became ingrained in my system.  I don’t recall my mother rushing around at the last minute to get us out the door for things.  For church services, we always seemed to be the first ones there.  For dinners, we were always early enough to help prepare things.  I remember the people that were always late.  The early people usually talked about them and how they were always late for everything.  Maybe it was at this time I decided I did not want to be talked about, so I made being early important.  Late people seemed irresponsible or self-centered to me.  I recall my first job and the many that followed and do not recall being late for any of those.   We didn’t have the distractions that occur today, but those that were late always had distractions.  I am not certain where I got the phrase, “If you are not early you are late,” but I assume it was hearing one of my parents say it.  Why are some people late and some always early?  Time management would be the easy answer.  How do you manage time in the hours before an appointment?

If I have a scheduled appointment for a particular place, I have a routine for getting there.  I will text myself important events or take pictures of our home calendar to get a better flow for my weeks.  We have all appointments listed on our home wall calendar to better organize the house.  If my appointment is somewhere I have never been before, then I know where it is and how long it should take me to get there before the day of the appointment.  I never assume timeframes; I check timeframes.  I typically check my GPS to get an estimated amount of time of travel before arrival.  I check to see if there is easy parking onsite or a parking building and I account for that time.  My arrival time is usually 30 minutes before the actual appointment time, and this is gauged by what my GPS is telling me before leaving.  If I have an early morning appointment, I make sure to be up at a minimum two hours before I need to leave in order to still be 30 minutes early.   I make sure I have gas in the vehicle, so I don’t have to stop for that, but if I am planning a stop, I add on another 15 minutes for gas.  This routine will change slightly when my kids are put into the equation.  You must add almost an extra hour of time to make sure the kids are going.  I have myself ready to go before I prepare the children.  Then it’s constant focus on the kids so they don’t lose track of what they need to do.

To be early you must know where you are going, when you need to be there, how long it will take you to get there on that specific day, be up early enough to be ready, leave early and arrive early for whatever the event may be.  Even if this is just a day of work, it should be treated like every other appointment.   Assume a delay with traffic even after you have checked the GPS.  Don’t take a phone call if you are trying to get out the door.  Don’t check your email or your messenger before walking out the door.  Focus on getting out the door and on the road.  You can follow up on messages once you arrive early at your destination.   If you are always early, you will never be late.

–Aaron Workman, DC

 

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