5 Reasons You Should Show Up First

Whether you’re salaried and can start work when you want, or you’re required to wait till a certain time to punch in and start your real work, arriving at work bright (or dark) and early has some serious benefits. It can be the difference between a great day and an awful one.

Here are 5 reasons I try to be one of the first people in the office every day:

1. The office mood isn’t already decided when you get there.

This is the biggest one for me. You probably know the feeling all too well of walking in the door and feeling a shadow–you know something has already gone wrong. Maybe someone just woke up on the wrong side of bed. Or someone just got a bad review or a bunch more thrown into their work load. Maybe a couple co-workers have already butted heads. Whatever it is, everyone’s grumpy.

It’s really hard to walk in to bad vibes and stay positive and energized.

On the other hand, if you can be there to start everyone’s day off with a smile and some positive energy, you can help set a positive mood for the office–start everyone’s day with a smile.

2. Never racing the clock eliminates a lot of stress.

Whether you’re required to be there right on the hour, or showing up shortly after is frowned upon–making it just in time comes with a lot of stress. Every red light or slow driver frustrates you to no end. And if you’re pushing it too close, you spend your entire commute coming up with excuses (for your boss and for yourself).

Deciding to just get there well before you have to every day immediately eliminates all that stress. You’re never racing the clock, red lights, and slow drivers. Your day doesn’t automatically start with stressing and excusing. It starts with a nice, relaxing drive.

Heck, roll your windows down and chill. You have nowhere to be fast.

3. You get a ton of work done before distractions.

Especially if you work closely with a team, or if you work in close quarters with others, you can get double or triple the work done while nobody’s there to distract you yet. Adding just one hour of working before you have to interact might be a sacrifice, but it can mean getting literally twice the work done in one day. And that’s the kind of productivity that leads to pay raises and promotions.

If you’re not salaried, and you’re not legally allowed to start working before you’re supposed to clock in, showing up early still helps: Dedicate some time to your own development. Start the day off strong by reflecting on your accomplishments and areas of opportunity. Set some goals for your day. Read a chapter from an industry-related book. Whether it’s official “work” or not, dedicate some extra time every morning to your success.

4. People see you as dependable and hard-working.

When you get there and get started before the crowd, people naturally start seeing you as a diligent and hard-working person. Your co-workers know you as the one who will always show up early and ready. Your boss will never have to worry that you’ll show up late.

If people see you putting in extra, going above and beyond, they will be impressed. They’ll talk about it. They’ll see it as a good example.

You need to be known for your diligence. Opportunities will start throwing themselves at you.

5. You trick your brain into enthusiasm.

Finally, being the first one to work tricks your brain into enthusiasm: If you show up early, people see you as a hard worker. When people see you as a hard worker, you feel like a hard worker. When you feel like a hard worker, it becomes a part of your identity. Suddenly, whether you intended to or not, you’ve tricked yourself into working harder.

It’s also hard to lead the charge in the morning and not be energized. Your brain just can’t make sense of showing up early AND dragging your feet and being grumpy. They’re not compatible. So don’t give your brain the option of picking laziness in the morning. Kick it into high gear by showing up early, and you’re just helping yourself be happier, healthier, and harder working.

The list could go on, so why don’t you share? What else do you think showing up early could do for your career and your character?

And where does this apply besides the office? Can you make a difference being the first one up with a positive attitude in your house every morning?


“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive–to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Author: Peter Elbridge

I have a passion for helping others, and that is why I write. I believe that sharing our experiences and discoveries in life is the best way to make a difference. After all, we're all in this together. (My opinions and endorsements are my own and do not represent my employer.)

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