Time Management Tip: What to Do When You’re Early to a Meeting

posted in: Time Management 2

Image of a clockLast month on the blog I covered several tips to help you manage your time when you’re late to a meeting.

I thought it would only be fitting to cover the polar opposite on today’s post…how to manage your time when you unexpectedly arrive early to an appointment or meeting.

Here are a few tips to help you pass the time:

Get comfortable.

Take care of all your personal needs while waiting for the meeting to begin. You could grab a bite to eat, get a beverage, stand up and stretch and/or use the restroom. When you’re back in the conference room, be sure to properly store your outerwear (coats, jackets, umbrellas, etc.) and unpack your bag for all the different items you’ll need for the meeting. If you are using your laptop, tablet, smart phone or other electronic device for the meeting, check to see if you can connect to the internet. While you’re at it, you might as well plug-in your device to recharge.

Check in with meeting organizers.

Introduce yourself and let the meeting organizers know you’ve arrived. Ask if they are ready to receive meeting participants, if so, go ahead and get settled in. It’s a nice gesture to offer your assistance in setting up for the meeting, but only make the offer if you are truly willing to help. If there’s no one about when you arrive, simply wait in the building’s lobby or waiting room.

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Review meeting materials.

Get your mind ready for the upcoming meeting by re-familiarizing yourself with the agenda and any other relevant materials. What’s the goal of this meeting? What do you want to take away or contribute to the gathering? Is there a question or two you want to ask of some or all of the meeting participants?


Time will still pass whether you actively “fill” it or not, so why not make the most of your early arrival status and enjoy some down time? Take a few deep cleansing breaths, calm your mind of thoughts and concerns, close your eyes and sit quietly. Alternatively, you could listen to some soothing music on your smart phone or MP3 player, or just sit quietly and take in the scenery as you are waiting for your meeting to begin.

Now to 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? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!


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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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2 Responses

  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