In addition to blogging on a regular basis, I am a practicing family physician. I work in an urgent care clinic as medical director and clinician. As I arrived early for my shift this morning, I thought, “you know, there are many advantages to being early.”

not being early

My commute is rather long (over an hour each way). On 2 or 3 occasions I have been severely delayed due to major accidents on the tollways that I take to work (Quel embouteillage!*). So I make it a point to leave extra time for my commute.

When I walked into my dark, quiet clinic today, I was struck by the benefits of arriving early. Today, I had some left over paperwork from home that I needed to do, and a blog post to publish! I also wanted to clear my desk  and respond to some email messages. I was able to do most of that before the first employee arrived a little before 8:00 AM.

How Being Early Really Helps

1. Get the best seat.

I usually arrived early to take examinations, including board exams. Back when most of the exams were held in large conference rooms with hundreds of people, it was really useful to be able to select a comfortable seat, in a location near the door and/or restrooms. By arriving early, I get the best seats at the concert, the game, the lecture and on the Southwest flight.


2. Chat with the host.

Arriving at a party early allows my wife and me to have some one-on-one time with the host before he or she gets too busy. Arriving early to a hospital board meeting allowed me to interact with the board members informally before the meeting.

3. Make final preparations and fix technical issues.

There have been several times when presenting at a conference that technical difficulties and room adjustments needed to be addressed before starting. Had I not been early, I would have made my audience wait and embarrassed myself.

being early repair

4. Enjoy the sense of calm.

My deadline looms. A sense of anxiety keeps popping up as I remember the reports I promised to deliver, and projects I committed to complete. But, I feel so much more relaxed if I get the project done early. Recently, I was asked to write a guest post for Doximity and it felt so good to submit it two days earlier than requested.

5. Enhance the quality.

When I get something done early, I have more time to reflect and go back and fix little mistakes. Whether it is  installing a reclaimed wood floor, or writing a blog post, it's nice to be able to make those final improvements that set my work apart from others'.

6. Early attempts are better.

For certain assignments, early completion is MUCH easier. I am the secretary for an investment club, so I get to record and publish the monthly minutes. They are WAY easier to complete (and more accurate) if done right after the meeting.

7. Looking good.

I think people around me believe that I am dedicated, hard-working, organized and accountable when I arrive early, deliver early, and finish early.

And you know what they call the one who gets to the finish line early? Answer: WINNER.

being early winner


Next Steps

Now go out and develop the new habit of being early.

  1. Commit to yourself to adopt the habit of arriving, delivering and finishing early.
  2. Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early for routine meetings, 10 to 15 minutes early to major committee meetings, board meetings and conferences you are attending, and 20 to 30 minutes early if you are presenting a lecture or speech.
  3. To help lock in the habit, arrive early for movies, concerts, birthday parties and other informal events.
  4. Complete all minutes within 24 hours of the pertinent meeting.
  5. Deliver updates, management reports, and white papers at least one day before the deadline.

Can you think of a time when being early really worked out for you? Tell us in the comments.


*French translation: What a traffic jam!

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