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I imagine you plan to be on time to your appointments. I don’t know about you, but I love to be on time or early. I always have either a book, a magazine, or a clipped article to read with me. And, there is always Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to catch up on. So, if I’m early I have plenty to keep myself occupied for the time I wait.


When I make an appointment with someone, I show that I respect the time they have allotted to share with me by planning to be on time. Being on time is almost always in my control if I plan my time.

Make my Plan

In the evening, I make a plan for the next day. I look over my list and decide what I want to work on first. Then, I look at my appointments. I fit my errands and other things I want to do (like exercise) around the times I have appointments or other commitments.

Pack my Bag

Do you ask your children to pack their school bags at night? It’s good advice. This way they can look around to make sure they don’t forget any homework or any thing else to support their day (like sheet music if they are in band or athletic clothes if they play a sport). The same advice is good for you and me. I pack my bag at night so I can double check to make sure I’m taking the things I need with me in the morning.

Choose my Outfit

I like to decide what I’m going to wear the night before. I don’t actually lay out my clothes, but I do listen to the weather report and identify what I want to wear in the morning. This saves me lots of time and reduces stress in the morning. For those who have a hard time selecting their clothes in the morning, this is a huge time saver.

Time to Get Up

Identify the things you need to do before you leave the house in the morning. Then figure out what time you need to get up to make that happen. Set your alarm. Planning your time this way helps to get you out of the house on time.

Time to Leave the House

Traffic can play a big part in whether or not I am on time for my appointments. Of course, I listen to the traffic report which lets me know if there are any major delays on the highways. I live in Atlanta and there always seems to be lots of traffic. I factor that into my travel time. In fact, I usually allow 10 or 15 minutes extra time. I always plan to be on time and adding these extra minutes gives me some padding, just in case there is lots of traffic.

Beware of Doing ONE MORE THING

Making all these plans, packing my bag, deciding what to wear, planning my time are all great things to do. The trick is to do them and to leave the house at the planned time.

Sometimes, I have a little extra time available to me. I’m ready to leave but it’s too early. What to do? My biggest advice to you (and to myself) is nothing. Sit and meditate for a few minutes.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is where my plan sometimes goes off the tracks. Instead of doing nothing, I will often do ‘one more thing’. I will put something away which leads me to tidy something else which leads to another trip up or down the stairs. And then, I notice, too much time has elapsed and I’m now in danger of being late.

I first heard about the ‘One More Thing’ rule from my friend and colleague, Linda Samuels. Ever since I heard her explain the dangers behind ‘One More Thing’ I use that expression with my clients and myself.

If you can avoid doing one more thing before you leave the house all the careful planning the night before will help to get you where you need to be on time.

If you’re working on being on time more often than late try putting together a list of the steps I’ve listed in this article to guide you. And, try to avoid doing one more thing before leaving home. I guarantee that will save you time.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me for guidance.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.


  • Thanks so much for the shout out, Diane. I’m so happy to know how much the “One More Thing” concept resonated with you and your clients. That’s wonderful! One of the things I find helpful is looking at the white space in my calendar on any given day or week. Those are the non-scheduled time blocks that let me visually comprehend the transition or task times I have that day. They help me do my planning and keep me on time. I am a frequent calendar and to-list checker. The other thing that helps me tremendously is setting timers. This is especially useful in the morning. I do some work before my first appointment and use the buzzer as my auditory cue to stop working, do the last few things (like brush teeth, put on my coat, etc..), and get out of the door on time.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I agree, Linda. Setting timers is a really helpful way to add another cue to stop what you’re doing and move on.

  • Seana Turner says:

    I totally agree with you and Linda about the “one more thing” issue. What I have taken to doing is just leaving the house and arriving early at my next destination. I always have something to read or listen to if I end up having time to kill. If nothing else, I can sit and delete unwanted email and photos. There is a peace to showing up early and knowing I’m a step away from where I need to be. Sometimes, I end up hitting unexpected traffic and am glad that I followed the nudge to leave early!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I agree, Seana. I am so much calmer and happier when I arrive somewhere early. I avoid rushing to get somewhere – it really throws me off my game.

  • I used to be great at arriving early, but at some point I got tired of waiting for things to begin, and fell into the “one more thing” trap. I’ve realized that it’s just not worth the stress and aggravation of rushing at the last minute, so I’m working on being first to arrive again.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I’m glad you’re working on it again, Janet. You’ll feel much better when you’re not rushing at the last minute!

  • Reminding my kids to plan the night before was my thing to say to the kids so we would have a less stressful morning. My daughter gets it now while in college. She understood the value of it when she now has to walk to class in the city and has to allocate travel time in her day. We lived one mile away from school so it wasn’t a big deal years ago.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Isn’t it great when you’re children understand the value of the things you’ve been telling them?! Planning the night before is so worth the few extra minutes it takes.