Have you found yourself working later and later at the office?
In this post, I offer a few simple pointers that will help you leave work on time.
It’s important to remember that our workloads do not always hinder our ability to say goodbye to the office at the end of the day.
Sometimes, we may be mentally holding ourselves back…without even realizing it!
Prioritize daily tasks.
Sure, that quarterly report needs to be completed this week, but does it really need to be completed today?
Not all of your work has to be finished at this very moment. Take a moment to prioritize current work tasks.
What tasks can wait until tomorrow or sometime later in the week?
Clarify project due dates in advance.
You stayed late at work last night putting on the finishing touches for a research document. This morning, you learned the assignment wasn’t due until the end of next week. Sigh. If only you had known about the due date ahead of time…
Instead of making wild guesses or assumptions about project due dates, ask your supervisor and/or colleagues to confirm exactly when a project is due. If possible, secure a specific date, as well as specific time.
You’ll be able to better plan your workload throughout the week, plus you won’t have to pull unnecessary all-nighters.
Set a specific time to leave work.
Saying you’ll leave the office sometime after 5 P.M. is fraught with danger. Sure, you’ll eventually go home at the end of the day, but when exactly will that be? Will it be 6 P.M., 8 P.M., or some hours later?
Do yourself a favor and choose a specific time to leave the office. Think of it as setting a daily deadline for yourself.
What better incentive is there for you to finish your work for the day when know for certain you are going to pack up your tools or shut down your computer at 5 P.M.?
Be smart about your work habits.
A good rule of thumb is to start finishing up your work somewhere between thirty to sixty minutes before you have to leave for the day. This way, you’ll have enough time to finish up any lingering daily work, and leave your desk in an orderly state.
Of course, you can adjust this amount of time as necessary to suit your needs. The important thing is that you mentally switch gears from merely working, to wrapping up items, and preparing for your departure.
Thinking about staying just a wee bit later to do more work? Remember, there’s plenty of time to do that tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that…
How about you? How do you go about leaving the office on time? What techniques or methods do you use? Are you going to try any of the tips listed above? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!