17 Ways to Be the Early Bird

Are you the Early Bird?

Do you get an early start on your day?

Do you arrive to appointments early?

Do you finish projects and tasks ahead of deadlines?

If not, why not?

Could you be the Early Bird?

Are you Early?

People tell me they don’t have enough time.

They say they are always late. That they cannot get their work done on schedule.

When I hear this, I challenge them to get ahead of the game.

One of the first steps is to become the Early Bird.

What is the Early Bird?

You know… the Early Bird…

– The one who is up before others.

– The one who arrives first.

– The one who prepares for their day.

– The one who finishes things ahead of schedule.

– The one who acts while others are still mired in indecision.

The Early Bird knows the power of being early.

Be the Early Bird

Want to get a head start on your day and work?

Here are 17 Ways to be the Early Bird:

  1. Get up 30 Minutes Early – One of the best ways to be the Early Bird is to get up earlier. Start small. Try setting your alarm only half an hour before you normally get up.
  2. Assign Personal Deadlines – Want to be early with deliverables? Ensure that you set deadlines that are earlier than projects are actually due. Making your personal deadlines early, will ensure you finish early.
  3. Don’t Schedule Back-to-Back Appointments – People will schedule themselves for meetings that run 9-10, 10-11, and then 11-12. Guess what? Unless you have a teleporter, you will be late to the next meeting. Give yourself a gap between scheduled meetings for travel and catch up.
  4. Plan to Arrive 15 Minutes Early – Most people try to arrive at 1PM for the 1PM meeting. That is where they fail. Plan to be there at 1245PM. 15 minutes early is on time in most cases.
  5. Timeshift – The Early Bird knows that doing things when others are not can save a lot time. For example, shifting your commute 15 minutes earlier could save you 45 minutes in traffic. The same goes for things like the gym, the grocery store, etc.
  6. Shop Online – Save time by eliminating physical trips to the store. Amazon and other sites can save you lots of time bustling around town. You will save money, too.
  7. Check the Address Before You Go – How many times have you headed to an appointment only to discover that you don’t know exactly where it is? Even in the days of GPS, make sure you know where you are going before you leave.
  8. Confirm the Appointment – Ever go to a meeting or appointment only to find out that it was cancelled? Or the other person forgot? Taking 5 minutes to confirm your appointments can save literally hours of wasted time.
  9. Defend Your Time – The Early Bird spends their time on themselves before letting others take it. Ensure that you don’t let others steal your time.
  10. Make Decisions – The Early Bird makes decisions. He or she has often already completed a task while others are still trying to decide what to do.
  11. Look Ahead at the Calendar – Don’t let things sneak up on you. If you are only looking at today’s calendar, you will be blindsided by upcoming calendar items. Look at today and down the road.
  12. Overestimate Time for Tasks – When doing something for the first time, it will often take 4-5X’s what you estimated. Allow for this extra time.
  13. Use a Packlist – Using lists lets you perform repetitive tasks quicker and more accurately. Packing is one of those tasks that truly benefits from a preset list. Leveraging a packlist allows you to pack in a fraction of the time without forgetting anything important.
  14. Pack the Day Before – Always, always, always pack the night before. Never pack the morning of a trip. Inevitably, you will realize at the last moment that you do not have something.
  15. Plan Your Day – Taking a few moments in the morning each day to plan your day can prevent complications and life friction. A planned day is always more efficient than making it up as you go along.
  16. Prepare For You Day – Planning is good, but preparing is better. Not only knowing what you are going to do, but getting ready for those activities. Whether it is reviewing materials for a meeting, or packing the essentials for an errand.
  17. Be the First One There – The Early Bird often has options that later arrivals do not. After all, the Early Bird does get the worm.

Early Feels Good

The Early Bird likes to stay ahead of the pack.

Others try to catch up with the Early Bird.

It feels good to be the Early Bird.

Be the Early Bird.

How do get an early start on your day and work?

28 thoughts on “17 Ways to Be the Early Bird

  1. Great ideas….I sometimes tell people to get up 5 mins earlier each day for a whole week to give them the 30 minutes (I know I cant count!) extra you’re talking about. I find even thirty minutes is too long for some people!
    Thanks again for some great info Craig

    1. @Dominic That is a great way to “step into” getting up early. For those that want to ease into it. 🙂

    2. Hmmm… This is a year old comment, but if anyone who has tried this strategy is reading my reply to it, please reply and let me/us know how it worked for you.

      I have trouble with the 30 minute earlier wake-up time, not because it’s hard to get up, but because I tend to fill how ever much time I have with the same menial tasks… they just seem to take me longer. I’m almost wondering if getting up 30 min. LATER would be better for me by imposing a little bit of urgency to motivate me. I’m a dilly-dally-er.

      1. Sandra,

        Good point. Getting up earlier doesn’t do much if you end up doing the same things…
        Getting up earlier doesn’t help if you just end up surfing for an extra 30 minutes.
        It is important to also shift what you do with this added time. 🙂

  2. These are all great tips. I tend to plan ahead and be early and therefore find not being the early bird strange, so a lot of these tips are second nature. Well, except getting up earlier. 😉

    1. @Sushi I like getting up early. 🙂

      Love the feeling of getting things done before others are even up. 🙂

  3. If you do show up for something 15 minutes early, don’t check in until 5 minutes early. There have been counltless times when people show up for meetings with me 15 minutes or more early and it is really offputting. If we are scheduled for a 1 o’clock, be there a little before 1 o’clock. If I find out you’re much earlier, I tend to have negative thoughts and may intentionally be late.

    1. @Clove Me being early does not necessarily mean that I have to announce myself to the person with whom I have a meeting. I may be 15 minutes early and I will use 10-11 minutes to make sure I am prepared and composed.

    2.  @Clove I understand feeling pressured when people show up early. At the very least it’s often an interruption of whatever you were trying to get done before your meeting. But what I don’t understand is being punitive about it. The early-birds are trying to be respectful of their commitments. Why do you find that so off-putting?

  4. @Clove Me being early does not necessarily mean that I have to announce myself to the person with whom I have a meeting. I may be 15 minutes early and I will use 10-11 minutes to make sure I am prepared and composed.

  5. Its not just the getting up early, its making sure you go to bed at a decent time too – otherwise you’ll just end up tired and not being any more productive.

    1. And what reward does the second mouse get? Sure it’s the cheese when there is a trap, but the second mouse does not get any reward for rushing through their morning and walking in to their meeting at the last second.

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  7. I have been an early riser my entire life. 4:30 – 5:00am is my usual waking time. But like another commenter here, it does no good to get up early if you haven’t gotten enough sleep. You are LESS productive if you are sleepy all day. Better to get your 7-8 hours in FIRST. Also helps to plan everything (including outfit for the day) the night before.

  8. Thanks for these encouraging suggestions. I ‘m a chronic late-comer. it affects my professional, personal and religious life. Everything in the article made perfect sense to me!

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