Monday, February 28, 2011

The Benefit of Being Early

How you begin anything has a determining affect. Image the picture: Over sleeping the first alarm you get up with little time for breakfast before rushing out of the house. You arrive at work breathless and you already have three urgent messages, yet you’re already late and unprepared for your first meeting appointment.  Before you know it you’re the opposite of cool, calm and collected – you’re hot, harassed and dispersed and it’s only 9.30am! The day is leading you, rather you leading the day, and you never catch up with yourself.

The opposite of being collected is being “dispersed.” It means having fragmented thoughts, having six things in your mind competing for attention, rather than being focused on the one thing you’re meant to be doing. It saps energy, leads to irritation and stress, and will definitely over time impair work life balance!

We may all have days like this, but if it becomes a habit, or it becomes part of the culture of your work environment – a definite symptom of which is where you get the symptom of everyone being late for everything – it’s a problem.

Yet there is an appropriately simple solution. Being early. Giving yourself an extra 20 minutes when you get up in the morning – so you can at least register how you are and collect your thoughts for the day ahead; arriving early for appointments and meetings – so you can be prepared and focused on the important objectives; doing something before the deadline so you have a chance to review it for final improvements. Being early will always give you the sense of being ahead and it can give you space to handle the unexpected - such as urgent messages.

If you were the pilot of an aircraft you’d definitely check everything over before taking flight. If you want to pilot your life effectively you’d do the same thing.  Why not try being early for everything just for a day to see how it feels?

Nick Woodeson is a renowned trainer and coach

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