Thursday, March 22, 2012

Running late

I'm late, I'm late
For a very important date.
No time to say,
"Hello" --
I'm late, I'm late, I'M LATE.

I don't remember just when I started getting annoyed at people who run late.  It may have been as a teenager during a conversation about how the same people are always late to church no matter what time it starts. In college I started setting my clocks ahead by 5 minutes so I could guarantee that I was on-time.  Even now, I know (or find out) how long it takes to drive somewhere, allow for traffic, and plan what time I have to leave the house to arrive on schedule.  It's just part of who I am.

However, I'm still amazed at how many people don't have a good grasp of time.  Since we just went through the whole "Spring Forward" time change a couple weeks ago, I still hear people blaming the change for their lateness.  Or, a personal favorite excuse is the "It's just so hard to get everyone ready by 9 o'clock.  (Don't most schools start by 9?  Aren't most people at work by 9?)  I've heard parents blame their late arrival on waiting for the kids to get ready.  Those same kids claim they had to wait on their parents.  Many people simply underestimate the time it takes to drive to their destination and can't understand how their 20-minute drive couldn't be accomplished in 10 minutes.

A couple years ago I came across an article that put it all in perspective.  I love the formula given to figure out how long it takes to get ready and out the door.  Basically, allow 20 minutes for a baby, 5 minutes for a child, 10 minutes for a teenager, and 15 minutes for parents.  So, if you use the formula, my family consists of 1 baby, 3 children, 2 teens and 2 parents: 20+5+5+5+10+10+15+15=85 minutes.  

My first thought was that there is no way it takes us an hour and a half to get out the door.   Then I started observing.  You know what, the formula is pretty spot-on!  If our family needs to go someplace and we are starting from square one with everyone changing clothes, putting on shoes, gathering diapers, loading into the van, etc., it is about 90 minutes before we pull out of the driveway.   Now obviously this isn't a hard and fast rule.  If I need to run a quick errand with my toddler and we're both  dressed, I have my hair and make-up done, he has a clean diaper, then we don't need 20 minutes (let alone the 20+15 indicated by the formula) to put on shoes, grab the diaper bag, and walk out the door.  Still, this one little trick has helped our family get where we need to be, when we need to be there and often with time to spare.  Try it and let me know how it works for you!

1 comment:

Nikki said...

Today I was 20 minutes late to meet a friend who was giving us a dresser. I felt SO BAD about it, but hadn't anticipated the youngest coating herself in yogurt to the point of having to be bathed before we could leave the house. I'm going to try this formula and see how accurate it is for us. I'm sure it will help!