How early are you?

Trick question: When do you show up for the 9AM meeting?

If you are like most people in the workplace, you shuffle around and or even get to work at 9AM and then head down the hall to the meeting.

What happens?  People are wandering in for a good 5-10 mins.  They make small talk and the meeting does not start until 9:10-9:15. Right?

I show up at 8:50.

Yes, a full ten minutes early.  Why? Because it scares people.  Just kidding, but more on that in a minute.

I show up early so that I am ready to start the meeting on time.  It sends a message to my team, whether or not I was the one who called the meeting.  It also gives you a buffer in case something comes up, you will be on time vs. late.

Some are already thinking, well, that is a lot of time.  10 minutes.  If you have 6 meetings in a day, you would be wasting a full hour waiting for meetings to start.

The Most Productive 10 Minutes

Here is the secret.  I get more done in those 10 minutes than most people do in a full hour.  In 10 minutes, you can knock out 5 “two minute tasks.”  (For you GTDer’s)  You can address 10 or more emails.  You can even get 1-2 phone calls done.

Another little secret.  Those 10 mins are some of the best relationship building/networking times.  There is always small talk before a meeting. But, you also have a captive audience of some of your co-workers that you might need to touch base on for something else.

Some of the best things to do in those 10 minutes:

  • Review your todo list – Visiblity to your tasks leads to action.
  • Send off several emails – If you have issues keeping your inbox at zero, this is a great time to act.
  • Make a phone call or two – Not to interfere with the start of the meeting, of course.
  • Read papers or documents – Great time to review items.
  • Touch base or just chat with co-workers on other topics that need to be addressed.

Scaring Your Co-workers

If you take this lesson to heart, within only a few days you will hear whispers from your co-workers.  It will freak them out when they repeatedly come to a meeting and you are already there.  Ready.  And Prepared.

An additional benefit… you will notice that people will start to respect your time more. Meetings will start closer to on time and people will shame themselves if they are not there.

By the way… when does the 9AM meeting end?

By 9:50, of course.  You may have a 10:00 meeting.  :)

What are you thoughts on how meetings run at your organization?  Please add your comments below.

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  • Randy Murray

    At least 5 min early. I hate being late (and the late arrivals, too).

  • Randy Murray

    At least 5 min early. I hate being late (and the late arrivals, too).

  • Chris Bray

    We tend to schedule meetings starting at 9:30 or 10:00 for exactly that reason.People get to work, check email, make a coffee, head to the first meeting.

  • Chris Bray

    We tend to schedule meetings starting at 9:30 or 10:00 for exactly that reason.People get to work, check email, make a coffee, head to the first meeting.

  • Anna

    @Chris I don’t agree. During my work I can see that 9:30 is the worst – because of emails. If I have meeting at this time, almost everyone is late…

  • Anna

    @Chris I don’t agree. During my work I can see that 9:30 is the worst – because of emails. If I have meeting at this time, almost everyone is late…