I did it! I finally managed to be early to work. It’s a little embarrassing how seldom this has happened over my lifetime. I think that the difference today was that I didn’t try to fill in the time with something else. “Great, I’m early, I’ll stop and grab breakfast!” or “Great, I’m early, I’ll run this errand quick…” only to find myself more than squandering my lead and arriving frazzled.
I thought about commuting differently, this morning (not driving) and to preserve the option to do that, I got up a little earlier and moved my morning schedule up. I could have managed it, but I decided to drive, which gave me time to do a thing or two around the house before I left and still had me early to my desk. It was a lovely feeling to take care of a thing or two before it was time for me to go.
I’d say that my attitude toward being early has been that it feels like it wastes time. “I could be 10 minutes early, or I could take the trash out before I go and run that thing down to the laundry…” or whatever. I’ve also noticed that things don’t really start when they are supposed to, and (here’s an arrogant statement for you) I don’t love to sit and wait. Musical groups I’ve taken part in are a great example, here— if I’m a vocalist (the most frequent scenario in my adulthood) and I get there on time and sit for 45 minutes while the instrumentalists set up their equipment and tune their instruments, most of the time I think we should be honest and have me show up 30 minutes after them. They usually don’t want help setting up, and I don’t love to sit and wait. Even chit-chat feels like it kind of slows things down. So at a certain point, I take it on myself: “Okay, rehearsal at 7, and there’s nothing for me to do before 7:45— I’ll show up between 7:30 and 7:45.” Just this weekend, I had a rehearsal that started at 3:15. I rolled in at 3:30 (it was only one guitarist setting up) but we didn’t start actual rehearsing much before 4. I was happy to pitch in on background stuff, to lighten the pianist’s load, but I have my own load to carry, and this is a volunteer gig for me and a (poorly) paid gig for her. It’s honestly a gift for me to roll in more casually, otherwise I start kvetching about time, and once I start making lists in my head of all the other things I could be doing while I’m stuck waiting for whatever to start, my attitude gets pretty poisonous, pretty quickly.
I also notice that things tend to run long more than they start early. If my time window needs crunching on the back end, why am I giving you time on the front end?
With all that said, it was the best morning I’ve probably had at work, mostly because I didn’t have to justify being a few minutes late, even to myself. I’ve felt like it wasn’t as hard as I thought to be a little earlier, and there’s a special blessing in being able to take the not-fastest route and still walk in with a clear conscience. I’m going to try to make it a habit.