Column 9 – The Stress of Always Being Late by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

Many of you are habitually late! This is a common trait for most of us. Our husbands hate it too. Believe it or not this has to do with our martyred attitude. Tardiness is a passive-aggressive behavior. I know you don’t think it is! We are in control when we make people wait on us, consciously or unconsciously! The problem also arises because of our perfectionism; I just need to do one more thing! This may become more of a problem after you have your routines in place.

So what is making us late? We are the reason because of our lack of thinking ahead. When we put a little forethought to our day and take precautions to keep ourselves from getting off track. This is why our Before Bed Routine is so important to a peaceful start to your day.

Ask yourself; how much time do you spend searching for things? If you could put your hands on an item when you need it, this could save you precious time every day. Right now, where are your car keys? I keep mine clipped to my purse. Before I get out of the car, I hook them to my purse. I never have to hunt for my keys. This used to be a big problem for me. I would get down to the car and then have to run back up to the house to search for my keys. I have also hidden a key on my car in a magnetic case, just in case I get sidetracked again.

Do you search for bills that need to be paid? When I first got organized, I devised a notebook similar to the control journal, except I didn’t have routines in it. This was a portable zippered notebook with a handle. It had pockets, zippered pouches and it would hold a three ring binder. In this notebook, I kept my bills to be paid, my check stubs, my file for my paid bills(at that time I kept every receipt: I don’t do this anymore), pens, pencils, notebook paper, my menus, grocery list, greeting cards, thank you notes, paper clips, little stapler and stamps. This became my portable office. At work, on my break I could work on my menus or grocery list or at lunch, I could pay a few bills and work on my budget. This was a quiet time that I could take 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted time and take care of our finances, plan our menus and make out a grocery list. It was always with me. This was the proto-type for our Office in a Bag.

Another reason we run late is we don’t fill our cars up with gas, when it is convenient. We wait till we are smack dab on empty and we are running behind schedule. This cost us time and our safety. Running late, makes us rush and rushing can cause us to be careless. Keep a $20 bill hidden for emergencies or that opportune time to fill up. I also keep a $100 dollar bill stashed for larger problems. I rarely have to use it, but I know I have it, if needed. This gives me a sense of relief and that translates to less stress in my life. I have even done this when I only had thirteen cents to my name. It took a while to save it up, but I did it. inspiration sessions?

We have to curb our thinking! When we hear ourselves say, “I can do that later!” Let this be the trigger that tells you, “Right away is the easy way!” Putting things off usually make them more difficult to do. The reality is we think, we dread, and we continue to procrastinate until it just has to be done. The whole time we are beating ourselves up over not doing the task when it was so simple. My Sweet Darling calls this the “Do it Now Principle.” You know that awful feeling when you should have put that roll of toilet paper in the holder when you first thought about it, now you really, really need it!!! When you think about something that could be so simple to do right now, don’t put it off until later. Now this is not getting sidetrack. I am talking about very short simple jobs that will save time and energy if done now. You know what your granny’s always said, “A stitch in time, saves nine!”

Learning to ACT in advance instead of Re-Act will help you gain precious minutes to your day. Eventually this will become a habit and you will surprise yourself. I have had to look up and make sure I had paid a bill, because I did it without even thinking. This is a wonderful feeling.

FLYing is so easy, when you look ahead,

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections published by Random House and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Simon and Schuster. Copyright 2011 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication. Helping women around the world get their home organized. Copyright 2001 - 2020 FlyLady and Company, Inc.