How to get out the door on time

All sorts of things conspire against our efforts to get out the door on time in the morning:  inability to estimate how long it takes to get ready, losing track of time, getting distracted, forgetting things that need to be done or gathered, etc.  Here are some strategies to improve your defense:

  • Create a morning schedule with “mini-deadlines”.  Figure out what you need to do in the morning, and when you need to be done with each thing.  For example, maybe your teeth need to be brushed by 7:30, you need to be out of the shower by 8:00, and your hair needs to be done by 8:15.  Having a checklist may help.  You can download a sample from the Resources page on my web site,
  • Check the time frequently.  Keep clocks or timers where you can see them – in the shower, at the sink, near the breakfast table.  Are you on track?  If not, you’ll need to move faster, fight harder to avoid distractions, or skip a step in your routine. Many people find that simply being aware of what time it is and where they are on the schedule helps them stay on task.
  • Adjust your routine.  If you find you’re consistently behind schedule, identify where you’re getting off track. You may need to allow more time for that item in your schedule.   That may also mean skipping something else on the list, getting up earlier, or preparing the night before.
  • Keep your keys, gloves, etc. by the door so you can grab them quickly when it’s time to leave.  Collect the things you need to take with you ahead of time (lunch, backpacks, etc.) and put them by the door too.
  • Don’t do anything not related to getting ready, like going on line for “just a minute” or throwing in a load of laundry.
  • Build extra time into the schedule for unexpected emergencies like cleaning up spills or printing the directions you forgot about.  If your morning is drama free, reward yourself by relaxing a little.  Or leave early.
  • Get enough sleep so you don’t hit the snooze button more times than you’ve scheduled, and you aren’t too groggy to focus.

A consistent, realistic routine is your best ally for reducing your morning chaos and getting where you need to be on time.