How Early is Early Anyway?

How Early is Early

We all know the “late rush.”

It’s not fun.

Hurrying to that next meeting. Driving too fast to an appointment. Or even doing less than your best work on a deliverable that is now overdue.

When was the last time you were early? To a meeting? With a deliverable? Or reaching a goal?

You might be wondering, “How early is early anyway?”

How Early is Early?

We live in a world where late seems to have become the norm. It is acceptable in many companies and circles.

No one wants to be late, even while there are many excuses used to explain tardiness.

Yet, there are many advantages to being early at almost everything you do.

Less time. Less effort. Less stress.

Early sounds much better than late.

However, early is an elusive habit for most. It can be difficult to adhere to, and even harder to actually define.

After all, “Just how early is early?”


  • Meetings – 10 minutes early to that meeting is on time.
  • Conference Calls – Get on the line before the start time.
  • Appointments – Whether it is an interview, sales call, or even personal, getting to an appointment ahead of time shows your commitment.


  • Changes in plans or cancellations – Don’t cancel meetings 5 minutes before the meeting. Not cool. (Hint: Don’t accept follow-up invites from these individuals.)
  • Preparation – Plan and prepare for your events, meetings, and more before charging into your day.


  • Meeting invites – Never send meeting invites the same day as the meeting. At least 1 day in advance. Two or three is even better.
  • Deliverables – Delivering a document at the last-minute results in less than quality results. Allow enough time for editing and review.
  • Projects – Finishing projects ahead of the deadline allows for corrections and polish.

Even earlier?

  • Goals – Finishing a goal feels great. Finishing it ahead of schedule feels fantastic. This allows time for unforeseen obstacles, delays, or additional effort.
  • Major plans – Finishing a large event ahead of a deadline allows time for final adjustments. It provides a time buffer in case of final course corrections.
  • Important decisions – Important decisions should always be made ahead of time. Otherwise, opportunities will be missed or even penalties incurred.

Make Early a Habit

If you’re tired of the late rush maybe it’s time to change your tactics.

Last-minute and just-in-time are exhausting situations to always be in.

Instead, try going for early.

Early gets it done right, ahead of schedule, and with the least effort. (Tweet this Quote)

Question: What do you need to be early with in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

10 thoughts on “How Early is Early Anyway?

    1. My theory is A) they are used to others doing it so its the norm B) they aren’t organized C) some are disrespectful and just don’t care (not the majority)

      1. Same here, or when I think I can get more done during a time block than is really possible. It actually saves time to overestimate the time needed for a task.

  1. Hey Craig, this is a nice ‘sequel’ to the post you wrote about having a buffer, around a month back. Quite useful, thanks!

  2. Being late tells others that you think you are more important than they are. If you really believe that, or think it gives you a strategic advantage, fine. But in my experience, it is not a healthy attitude to either have or convey.

  3. The ironic thing is that the people who really are busy are generally the ones that are always early. They want to get things done and move on. Everyone is late to something now and again, that’s understandable but I think if you’re a repeat offender you should take a look at your day and see whether you could organise things more effectively.

    As noted in the comments below, I agree that it can also be a ‘workplace’ problem….if tardiness is set by the company/the leaders etc then it will filter down to everyone else and appear to be ‘ok’ to do.

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