5 Small Home Habits That Keep Punctual People Running on Time

published Feb 7, 2019
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“Early is on time, on time is late, and late is dead.” You probably heard your parents say this a thousand times while you were growing up—turns out they might’ve been onto something. You might strive to be fashionably late to parties, but when it comes to starting your day, few things feel as good as being punctual (also coffee—definitely coffee). Starting your morning on time is the best way to ensure you feel prepared for the day, and it proves to others that you value their time, too.

Becoming an on-time person starts with setting yourself up for success before you even walk out the door. Here are the around-the-house tricks punctual people use to keep themselves running on track all day:

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

1. Get in the habit of meal prepping ahead of time

Saving time usually comes down to planning, so meal prep and batch cooking are one of the biggest ways you can avoid the timesuck of prepping your breakfast and lunch in the mornings. Try choosing two days a week to prep—Sunday to start the week off on the right foot and one more evening in the middle of the work week. Don’t be afraid to use your freezer to your advantage to keep all your pre-prepped meals tasting fresh throughout the week.

If meal prep is something you struggle with, you can sign up for Kitchn’s new meal prep newsletter to help you plan out the week ahead: Sign up here!

2. Keep a designated list notebook

Grab the lightest-weight notebook you can find and make it your designated book of lists. Use it to remember that thing you need to pick at the drugstore, the dry cleaning you need to drop off tomorrow, or the thank-you cards you need to send out before they completely get away from you. By keeping your to-dos on paper and out of mind, you’ll avoid making extra trips to the same stores or putting off a time-sensitive task until it’s too late.

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

3. Pick clothing out ahead of time

Let’s be real: Your mind is probably a little bit foggy before you’ve had a cup of coffee, so picking out clothes for the day doesn’t need to be a morning activity. Bring your outfits for the week to life on Sunday night and never have to worry about wasting precious morning time figuring out layers, matching, ironing, and all that jazz.

4. Clean incrementally

Waiting until your space is too crazed to function is the best way to create unwanted morning chaos. Create a system for cleaning incrementally that keeps your home in a state of balance. That might mean the kitchen gets a twice-a-week scrub-down, the bathroom gets a little love every other day, and the bedroom is tidied weekly.

5. Download a sleep app and track your habits

If you’re running late, it could very well be a sign that you’re just plain exhausted. This is a topic worth investigating for the sake of your morning routine and well-being. Download a sleep tracking app like SleepScore (or see if there’s a sleep tracker built in to your phone or fitness band) and see if technology can shine any light on a common cause for your slowest mornings.