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Starting your days early is one of the best ways to get ahead at work—and in life

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Sep 25, 2022 5:03 pm

We all have our own mottos and philosophical beliefs that we try to follow to keep us going in this harsh journey of life, and I'm no exception.

I have this one motto that I always strive to abide by no matter what. It's not something as deep as Socrates' "The unexamined life is not worth living" or as profound as Democritus' "The brave man is he who overcomes not only his enemies, but his pleasures." It's something that has helped me through my years in high school and college, and made my life so much easier.

My motto is: "Daig ng maagap ang masipag."

Essentially, that phrase translates to "The early bird catches the worm," which means that your chances of success will increase if you start something as soon as possible.

That line has stayed with me for as long as I can remember and I can attest that it has helped me so many times back when I was still a student. For instance, when I was in Grade 11, I remember our teacher assigning our class to make a short film in a span of a few weeks. Being in a group with no experience in video editing and scriptwriting, I had to step up and manage the tasks if I wanted all of us to pass the project.

Long story short, we ended up making a whopping 40-minute film with me as the sole editor.

Let me tell you this: editing is not a walk in the park, so cutting segments, sequencing clips, and adding transitions for a 40-minute video all by myself in just a short time would have been impossible for me had I not started working on it early.

And this is precisely why you should consider starting your work at the earliest time possible, be it a project with a long deadline or a simple activity that seems like a cakewalk to do.

It seems that a lot of people struggle too much with procrastination, especially students. According to tutoring service Oxford Learning, students frequently put off working on their assignments and projects because they fail to see how they are relevant or important to them, don't understand the material, or they simply just have no clue how to get started.

But it's important to stop this act since it can give you several disadvantages in life such as undermining your career, disrupting teamwork, and even losing your job.

I confess that I am not perfectly consistent, and there are times when I just can't find the motivation to do my assignments as early as I often do. But I always try to remind myself of the benefits of starting work early. 

First, it helps you master time management.

As Remy from Ratatouille puts it, the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability. For now, you may just have one or two assignments on your plate, but sooner or later, you may have your hands full with a lot of tasks to do that you no longer know which one to prioritize.

Starting your tasks early will help you finish them early, and this helps you be better prepared for additional work that might pop up along the way.

Second, you can have more control of your workflow, which lets you have more freedom to spot mistakes, repeat the task if you have to, and generally be more organized. After all, slow and steady wins the race.

Even if you're the hardest worker out of them all, doing your tasks five minutes before the deadline is not good for you because rushing can lead you to underperform and be prone to mistakes.

Whereas by starting your assignments ahead of the deadline, you can have a more focused and relaxed mind to accomplish your to-dos and determine areas for improvement.

At the end of the day, it's a given that we all have different ways of tackling life's neverending projects and assignments. But if you want to better manage yourself and lessen sleep-deprived moments, I suggest you stop putting off that looming task you have and just start working on it.