Counting Backwards

My mom was always late when I was a kid. Always, always, always late; wherever we were going, whatever we were doing. And then suddenly, she wasn’t. She shared a great life hack with me that she had picked up from someone else; it transformed her life and my life. Who knows, maybe yours?

The hack: wherever you need to go, estimate the time to get there and start counting backward. So if you have an appointment at 9 AM, and it takes 30 minutes to get there, you need to leave the house by 8.30 at the latest, and if it takes an hour to get ready, you need to start getting ready at 7.30 — and does that include breakfast? Account for everything you need to do, build it into your calculation, and watch yourself never be late again!

It’s not that revolutionary! But the effects are astounding. Whenever I start to get off track and run late, I try to remember this trick and find myself right on time again. And again, and again 🙂

The surprising addition that I made to my life to make the goal of being on time a reality? You might never guess! A watch! I hadn’t worn a watch in years and always thought that because I had my phone (with alarms! with a clock!) that there was no need for a stand-alone watch on my actual wrist.

But as life got more complicated, the last thing I wanted to do was dig around in my bag for my phone to see what time it was. A simple glance at my wrist and I was ready to do some quick calculations on if I’d be on time or not.

Of course, the next step would be to get a smartwatch, but here’s the thing — for me — I don’t do well with distractions. If I was getting a ping with every text, call, or news alert, I have no idea how I’d accomplish anything! So I opted for a timeless, analog watch that merrily ticks alongside me every day. And I’m more organized and more likely on time, because of it.

Now, the best part about this way of thinking is how much in life it can be applied to. Of course, being on time for appointments and dates, but also on how goals can be set and achieved, how dinner can be prepared and ready, or even getting dressed and feeling put together.

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