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The Amazing Bliss of Leaving a Little Early

Could something as simple as leaving a little early dramatically improve your day?

If you find yourself frequently running late, rushing, or feeling stressed when going to an appointment or event, building in a few extra minutes to your schedule might be the most amazing gift you could give yourself.

a very crowded parking lot filled with cars.

I had to report for jury duty recently. Since Denver’s morning rush hour is unpredictable, I built an extra fifteen minutes in my morning schedule to drive to the courthouse, park, and go through security.

Traffic was pretty typical that morning (busy!), but because I had extra time I wasn’t annoyed by the heavy volume or stoplights.

I arrived early to the courthouse, and instead of frantically circling the crowded lot looking for a parking space I had time to find a nice, shady spot under a tree.

With a few moments to sit in my car, I could think about the task ahead. I sent up a little prayer for the people in the courthouse with their various concerns and heartbreaks and problems, and for the judges and lawyers and staff to perform their best, and for us jurors to listen well and do a good job of carrying out our responsibilities.

I had a nice walk from my outlying parking spot to the courthouse, and didn’t feel stressed when I saw the long security line because I still had extra time. I arrived a few minutes early to the jury room.

The rest of the day was filled with many hours of “hurry up and wait,” as I sat through jury selection for two trials. My number was never called, and I was eventually excused mid-afternoon.

Driving home, it occurred to me that the relaxed beginning to my morning had stayed with me throughout the day. Wednesday at the courthouse turned out to be a very pleasant day.

I realized that too often, I don’t build in much extra time in my schedule. I frequently find myself trying to squeeze in a few more tasks before I rush off somewhere.

Could you enjoy a more peaceful, calm day if you gave yourself the gift of an extra 10 or 15 minutes now and then?

5 Benefits to Leaving a Little Early

Building in some extra time to get to an appointment or event will not only increase your chances of arriving on time, but also create a more enjoyable and stress-free experience overall. Here are some more benefits:

1. Reduced Risk of Speeding Tickets or Accidents

By leaving early, you’ll be in less of a hurry and won’t need to drive above the speed limit to get to your destination.

2. Reduced Stress

When you leave early, you give yourself ample time to reach your destination without rushing. This can significantly lower stress levels associated with the fear of being late or getting stuck in traffic. Arriving with a calm mind allows you to better enjoy the event or handle the appointment with a clear focus.

3. Time for Preparations

Leaving early provides you with extra time to prepare for the appointment or event. You can gather all necessary documents, double-check your belongings, or make sure you have everything needed for the occasion. This helps avoid last-minute rushes and ensures you are adequately organized.

4. Allow for Unexpected Delays

Despite planning ahead, unforeseen circumstances can arise, such as road closures, detours, or public transportation delays. Leaving early gives you a buffer to account for such situations, reducing the risk of being late even if there are unexpected obstacles.

5. Enjoy a Sense of Calm

Arriving early offers a chance to relax and decompress before the appointment or event. You can take a few moments to gather your thoughts, meditate, or simply enjoy a peaceful moment. This can help you enter the appointment or event with a positive mindset and a sense of composure.

How about you? Could you build in a little extra time to your comings and goings this week, and see how that affects you?

May you enjoy the bliss of some unhurried moments by leaving a little early!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

10 thoughts on “The Amazing Bliss of Leaving a Little Early”

  1. Oh… I SOOOOO need to find a way to incorporate this into my life! My problem is that I tend to stay up too late, so then I’m tired, so then I sleep late, so then I’m behind… yadda, yadda, yadda. And I have such a hard time making myself go to bed earlier because those late hours seem to be the only ones that aren’t rushed. It’s a vicious circle! Must work on that!

    BTW – you have a significantly better attitude toward jury duty than I do! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • We each have our times of day when we’re most energized and productive, and it sounds like you’re a night owl. I’m definitely an early bird, and I’d love to be able to get more done in the evenings! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you find an extra few minutes here and there in the coming days.

  2. Thank you for this. It really struck me. I always try to squeeze in as much as possible, and as a result am often harried and stressed because I then run late. Tomorrow morning, I’m going with your suggestion. This was one of those a-ha moments. Thank you!

    • PJ, I often do the very same thing. I hope you’re successful in building in some extra moments so you can enjoy not feeling rushed. Pulling for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I find this too: when I build a little bit of extra time into my schedule, I am so much more relaxed. And I’ve found that it doesn’t take much, but just those few extra minutes slow everything down. I have space to breathe and observe and enjoy. I try to build that space into almost all of our appointments.

    • Kariane, you are so wise! I’m working on this concept, and love the idea of “space to breathe and observe and enjoy.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts. xoxo

  4. Eliza, in theory jury duty should be a fun, educational experience, but there is so much that happens, the waiting for your number to be called and if it is and you are selected then there are what I call the games played by the lawyers and judge. It bothers me because I don’t think the jurors get to know the whole story to make the most informed decision.

    Anyway that isn’t what you were asking. I was raised to always show up early. As a result I plan to always be 20 minutes early, then if things go wrong I’m still ten minutes early and never worry about being late. Of course rarely does anything go wrong which leaves me with a lot of time to kill. I took to carrying a book with me at all times and use that time to enjoy a bit of an escape.

    Yes, even ten minutes built into our schedules as a cushion can completely change the way we feel about our day.

    • Isn’t it interesting that your family raised you to show up early? You seem like a grounded, peaceful person and I wonder how much that early influence shaped your way of life. You also cause me to wonder if I can instill that habit in my children, too, in addition to trying to do better myself about allowing extra time. I always enjoy your comments, Lois – thank you. xoxo

  5. Hi Eliza, what a nice start to a morning that could have turned into a rushed and stressful one.
    I find with five children I tend to rush most things but I have taken a leaf out of your book, I go back to work today after the six week summer holiday and I am going to leave fifteen minutes early so that I can have a leisurely walk to work and arrive relaxed instead of rushed.
    Thank you for the good advise. X

    • Tara, I hope you are able to build in a little extra time for yourself in the midst of working and raising your five dear children. Sending you hugs and encouragement! xoxo


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