Being a Better Employee Series: Show Up Early
This is the first post in a series about how we can all become better, more productive employees at our jobs. In this economic/job environment, every little bit helps
Image by laffy4k
I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before—that showing up early is a great way to kiss up to the boss and “convince” him/her that you’re working more than you technically have to. But if all you’re doing is coming in early to check email or drink some coffee, you’re wasting your company’s time and (more importantly) you’re wasting your own time. Do you really have an hour of your time to spare that you can just waste it away like that? I doubt it.
Early is Better Than Late
First of all, it’s rude to be late—that’s just manners. And if you have to be on either side of the spectrum, then you might as well be early. That doesn’t just go for your job—it goes for everything. You know that friend of yours with the reputation for showing up late to every single party/event? Would you want him/her on your team if you had to hire someone tomorrow? I didn’t think so. Being late is a surefire way of giving yourself a bad reputation—one that is nearly impossible to undo. Whether it’s being lazy or inconsiderate, it doesn’t play well in the workplace.
Early = Productive
This is probably something else you’ve heard before. Being at the office when no one else is means you get some uninterrupted time to think, respond to email, and work on things that need more than five minutes of your undivided attention. Once people start showing up and start chatting, requesting new things, asking for opinions, and so on—it’s tough to get much work done. So get your butt in there early and prioritize the things that need all of your attention so you don’t feel like you’re trying to catch up the rest of the day.
But wait, won’t showing up early make it look like you’re kissing up to the boss? Who cares? As long as you’re using your time wisely, it doesn’t hurt if your boss/bosses notice that you’re putting more time in—only good can come of that, trust me. Your co-workers might think a thing or two about it, but you can just say that you’re a “morning person” or “that you like being in the office when no one is around.” If they can’t deal, it sucks for them. And if you’re like me and can’t handle staying in the office too late, you don’t have to feel bad about leaving sooner than everyone else because you’re getting there before them. And what’s easier: showing up early or leaving late? More points for you.
“But I Can’t“
This is a popular one: “I just can’t get up any earlier—I need my sleep.” It’s a similar excuse you hear from people when you’re trying to tell them they should save their money and they claim they don’t have any to spare. It’s not true. You can always spare an extra half hour here and there if you don’t want to sacrifice any sleep. Do you really need to see that much TV before you go to bed? Whatever legitimate reason you think you have—it’s not good enough. It’s all about adjusting. Once you start to make a habit of waking up earlier, your body will adjust and you’ll get used to it.
More Time = More Work
When it comes down to it, just because you’re at the office before everyone else it won’t make you a better, more productive worker. It’s not that easy—but showing up early is a start. This way you have more time to ensure your work is of a higher quality, that things are done on time (or before the deadline—also popular with bosses), and that you have more time to work on any extra projects that may make you even more essential to your company (more on that in the next post of this series).
Just make sure you aren’t showing up early just to make yourself look good and you should only see positive things come of it.
Check out the rest of the Being a Better Employee series.