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The flight to San Juan was scheduled to leave at 7:25 AM, so my mental math looked something like this:
“Want to get to airport an hour early, that’s 6:25 AM.

Thirty minutes to get to airport, that’s 6:00.

Half an hour to get ready, gotta get up at 5:30.”

But here’s what happened:

Was still jet-lagged from my trip back from Southeast Asia and California the day before, so I went to bed early and was wide awake at 4:30 AM. Finally got out of bed at 5:00. Took 40 minutes to leave house and 20 minutes to get to airport because of early hour, so I arrived at 6:00. Zipped through TSA pre-check, grabbed a snack and still got to gate at 6:15 – at least 45 minutes before boarding time.

Know what happened next? Absolutely nothing. I read the paper, sipped my coffee, and boarded the flight when they called my section. No stress, no drama, no nothing.

Flight on the way back landed late and I was pulled over by a policeman for speeding.

“Where’s the fire, Mario?” he asked.

“Sorry officer,” I answered. “I’m late for a meeting.”

“You should have left sooner.”

Damn it! Why didn’t I think of that? I had no good response, so I just nodded and opened my hand and took the ticket.

Leave early, stress free. Leave late, stressful.

Can it really be as easy as that?

“Leave early?!” I hear you screaming. “Who’s got time to leave early? And anyways, what the hell do I do when I get to the airport or meeting with an extra half hour to kill?”

Here’s a radical idea – you’ve probably got your smartphone, laptop or iPad with you already – why don’t you do what you’d do if you were still sitting at your desk? Answer messages and emails, reread your proposal or presentation, read the newspaper, write blog posts, or just sit quietly and think.

The simple point is that thanks to today’s technology, where you are has less and less to do with what you can accomplish than ever before. And so the old rules just don’t apply anymore. The trick is to figure out how to apply the new realities and possibilities to make your life as enjoyable, productive, and stress-free as possible.

All of a sudden, location and productivity are not joined at the hip. A workspace can be anywhere with power and Wi-Fi. The inspiration muse can be serviced wherever you are. An hour in a Starbucks between meetings can be more productive than running back to the office only to turn around and run back out again. And when you are in the office and face-to-face, that time can be better spent doing the personal warm and fuzzies — the “atta-boys” and “atta-girls” that are best done in person.

Running late and making yourself and everyone around you crazy no longer needs to be a part of your life – or your brand. All you have to do is change the way you approach your calendar and your to-do list.

Try it. I think you’ll like it.