What to Do When You’re Early to a Meeting

What to Do When You're Early to a Meeting

Did you arrive early to a meeting that you or someone else scheduled?

Are you wondering how to pass or spend the time?

Picture this: you’ve arrived early to a meeting. Not just one or two minutes early, but with fifteen minutes to spare.

You sit down and start to think about what you could do in the next several minutes to pass the time.

The only sticky wicket? Your meeting will begin before you know it.

Which leads you to wonder, “What should I do?” “What’s the best way to spend my time?”

The good news is that there is a way to make the most of the time you have…without getting overwhelmed!

In this post, you’ll find several tips to help you pass the time with ease.

Make yourself comfortable.

You’ve got a nice chunk of time available to you, so why not settle in, and take care of your personal needs?

If you’re hungry, you can grab a quick bite to eat. If you’re thirsty, you can get something to drink. And if you hear the call of nature? You can make a trip to the restroom.

This is also a good time to physically prepare yourself for your meeting.

You could store your jacket and umbrella in a closet, or unpack your purse or bag. You could recharge your electronic devices, and double-check your cell phone or internet connectivity. 

Check-in with meeting organizers.

It never hurts to let meeting organizers know you’ve arrived early for a meeting.

Ask the organizers if they are ready to receive attendees. If they are ready, you can get settled in the conference room or meeting space. If they’re still finishing up their arrangements, you can take a seat in the lobby or waiting room.

Don’t mind lending a helping hand? You can ask the meeting organizer if they need any assistance setting up the meeting room or materials. 

Review materials related to your meeting or appointment.

You’ve arrived early, so how about taking a moment to prepare your mind for the upcoming meeting? You could take this time to related articles, review your notes, or glance at the meeting agenda, if you have it.

Do you have a meeting-related question or concern? Now would be a good time to jot it down now on a piece of paper, or type a quick note on your tablet, cellphone, or laptop.

Do a little bit of work.

If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you might consider spending your time doing some unrelated work. Whatever you choose, make sure your work can be wrapped up in a short amount of time and is contained.

For example, it’s probably not a good idea to spread out fifty sheets of papers on a conference room table to plan a project or get buried in series of complex calculations before your meeting.

Better options would be compact and discrete tasks. Some ideas include reviewing your calendar for the week, deleting emails from your inbox, checking the weather for the day, or reading a few pages of a book.  

Take time to relax.

Time will still pass whether you “fill” it or not. How about giving yourself a break from your busy schedule and enjoy some much-needed down time?

This is the perfect time to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. You could sit quietly and close your eyes or listen to some relaxing music on your smart phone.

And don’t forget, you could just simply take in the scenery and watch the world go by as you wait for your meeting to begin.

How about you? Are you more likely to work while you wait for a meeting to begin or do you prefer to take a couple of minutes for yourself to rest and regroup? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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About the Author


Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based productivity consultant who helps entrepreneurs manage their time and energy so they can reduce stress, work less, and make more money in their businesses. She has been featured in Fast Company, NBC News, The Washington Post, Business Insider, NPR, Huff Post, Fox Business, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.


  1. Lori Kidwell

    I like to take the time to go over the agenda, any handouts that were sent in advance, refresh my memory about why the meeting was called, etc.

    Professional athletes call it “getting your game face on”. This wait time gives me a few extra moments to really pull it together.

    • Rashelle

      Hi Lori, thanks for your comment! I hadn’t thought about the professional athlete analogy, but it is certainly quite apt. Thanks again for stopping by. Rashelle


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