I have a confession to make: I don’t like to be early to places. To be completely honest I feel like I’m wasting my time sitting around for those ten or so extra minutes when I could have been using that time to do something else. Also in some circumstances there’s a certain amount of awkwardness involved in being early.
As much as I don’t like to be early, I really do not like to be late. I know it’s rude and I don’t want people to have to wait for me. I like to walk in at the exact start time. Which is tricky and involves precise measurements of travel time. This is, let’s face it, completely unrealistic.
Recently something reminded me of a saying all the camp counselors used at a summer camp I went to when I was in high school: “To be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late; to be late is to be left behind.” I made sure I was early to all the camp sessions, so I didn’t miss out on anything.
I decided to make that my personal motto and embrace earliness. I chose to be early to places on purpose, with the goal of arriving at least ten minutes early. As soon as I started doing that, my perceptions changed immediately.
The first benefit I noticed was that I didn’t have to rush. Trying to be places exactly on time often meant time crunches and rushing, which I hate. By giving myself time padding, I arrived relaxed instead of flustered.
Another thing I noticed is how incredibly annoying it is when someone is late and I have bothered to be on time. That alone made me vow not to make anyone have to wait on me.
I still sometimes feel awkward when I’m early and I have time to wait, but I make sure I’ve brought something productive to do while I’m waiting.
Are you habitually early? Or do you tend to cut it close with time?