I love fireworks and all kinds of events with fireworks. Every year City of Allen, Texas hosts a Summer Party called Allen USA. The celebration is complete with bands, crafts, games, inflatable slides, food, and fireworks. It has all of the big elements of a typical hometown America 4th of July celebration, but the event takes place the last Saturday in June. It is earlier than all of the other fireworks shows around us. I am not sure why Allen holds this celebration so early, but I can see the benefits of being first. When being early is a habit, we can see many benefits,
- Opportunity – “The early bird catches the worm.” This old English proverb tells us about the opportunity of being early. People first to meetings have the best opportunity to talk to others, pick the best seat, network and be noticed. Workers who arrive early to the office also get praised by the boss for their commitment and dedication. The Allen USA Celebration has more opportunity for people to attend because there are no conflicts with other cities’ celebrations.
- Productivity – Many people believe if you are early you are wasting your time waiting. I disagree. Time spent waiting could be super productive time if you plan ahead. If you arrive a few minutes before a meeting or an appointment, you can prepare for the meeting. You can also catch up on email or make a quick phone call. Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. Old Ben was a smart man. I have had days that would have been much better if I would have stayed in bed a few minutes longer. I also know my most productive days come after a good nights sleep.
- Saves Time – I like to be the first appointment of the day or the first one after lunch when scheduling with doctors or other professionals. This strategy saves me time because the person I need to see will have renewed energy. I also find I have less waiting time because there are no people before me to mess up the schedule.
- Less Stress – Preparing yourself to arrive early is a way to avoid the stress of traffic delays or looking for a parking spot. Handing in a project or report early also eases the last minute stress of not being able to check formatting, grammar, and spelling. I also call this crisis prevention. If you are working up to the last minute on a report, and your PC has a problem, your printer runs out of ink or the internet goes down, you have a crisis. If you are working to be done ahead of a deadline, the “crisis” is merely a challenge you have to get through.
- Good impressions – Being timely expresses you are considerate of other’s time, and this creates a great impression. Missing a deadline or being late to a meeting, makes you look unprepared. When you are early, you appear more reliable and in control.
These are just a few of the benefits of being early. If you are habitually late, I encourage you to try inputting your appointments and meetings in your calendar 15 minutes earlier so you can arrive earlier. I think you will find the new, prepared you will love the time saving, less stressed you!
You can find other time management tips in How to Take Control of Your Calendar.
Sara Genrich is an Organization and Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant, and the creator of the Organizing @ Work for Success Workshop series.