Early to bed, early to rise…with the worm, and the health, and the wealth, and all that. The old adage that is famously attributed to Benjamin Franklin (besides the whole worm thing) is not just a fancy string of words, but a mantra that we should all try to live by. Keep reading for some good reasons why you should get to work a little earlier.
#1 You’ll Avoid Traffic
Nothing provokes a bad mood quite like rush hour traffic. It has the special ability to create the paradoxical situation where despite your inability to move forward, every ounce of your being is harmoniously determined to rush harder. Giving yourself more time to commute will invariably mitigate stress, improve your mood, and transform a dreadful endeavor into a buffer zone before starting your work day. Listen to your favorite music, catch up on some podcasts, or just take some time to think and reflect – your mind and body will thank you.
#2 You’ll Be More Productive
Getting to the workplace early gives you more time to prepare and plan out your day. Having a strategy helps to increase productivity, and provides a nice roadmap to follow so you’re not wasting time trying to figure out which project to tackle next. Of course, you’ll be faced with the inevitable surprise here and there but when that’s all taken care of, you can simply return to your carefully devised roadmap without missing a beat. This will help you to collect your thoughts while remaining calm, and will reduce the stress that can sometimes be associated with the day to day work grind.
#3 It Won’t Go Unnoticed
If you’re consistently showing up to work before the start of your shift, you’ll start to notice who among your coworkers are the early birds. Happily, this means they’re also noticing your own go-getter attitude, which will certainly make you stand out in all the right ways. Words like “dedicated” and “motivated,” and other similar words will soon be used to describe you, and when those words reach the ears of the management team, you’ll remain memorable when it comes time for raises or promotions. Now, showing up to work early isn’t about bragging rights, so stay cool and keep your feet on the ground.
#4 You’ll Have a Better Work-Life Balance
Life itself can sometimes feel like a balancing act. While it’s true that we spend a lot of our precious time in the workplace, it doesn’t mean that our personal time should suffer as a result. Getting an early start does more than increase your productivity at work, it also helps you to avoid having to stay late to finish a project or meet a deadline. In addition, the less stress you feel at work, the more energy you’ll have outside of work when you’re spending time with friends and family, or when engaging with your hobbies. You might be noticing a trend here, what with all this talk of decreased stress, which leads us to our last item on the list.
#5 It Will Improve Your Health
Lastly, and most importantly, you will see a dramatic improvement to your overall health. Stress has been proven to cause a host of health problems, such as a weakened immune system, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and depression. It’s also worth mentioning that stress often leads to negative thinking, which can wreak havoc on both your personal and professional life. Reducing stress helps you maintain a positive mental attitude, as well as a healthy mind and body.
Since everyone’s schedule and life circumstances are unique, it may take some creativity to apply some of these ideas to your own life. Take your commute for example: if you use mass transit, try experimenting with the best times to give yourself some leeway and avoid the rushing masses. Working a night shift? Maybe your “early” is 6PM. Try thinking outside the box and imagining your own version of getting to work early, with the goal of increased productivity, a renewed sense of accomplishment, and a stress-free lifestyle.
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Rasmus Hougaard is on a mission to humanize the workplace. Hougaard is the founder and CEO of the Potential Project, which helps leaders at Accenture, Cisco, Lego, and other top companies manage their minds to stay focused, reduce stress, boost productivity, and improve well-being.
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