Do you want to leave work on time?
Are you looking for some no-nonsense tips to help you to leave your job at a reasonable hour?
Let’s face it: work is a fact of life.
The good news?
You don’t have to spend your entire life at the office, especially if you find yourself working more and more from home.
Even if you throughly enjoy your job, it’s still a good idea to set some practical boundaries for yourself.
Doing so will allow you to properly rest and recover from your work days.
Plus, when you’re rested and refreshed, your productivity levels may increase…for the better!
In this post, I offer thirty-one smart ways for you to leave work on time.
I’ve organized these tips into the following helpful sections:
- Productivity Ideas
- Time Management Ideas
- Organization Ideas
- Inspirational Ideas
Take note: some of these ideas are relatively quick and easy to implement, while others require a bit more attention and preparation.
The most important thing you can do, however, is practice these tips on a regular basis.
You’ll be able to focus better on your work and leave work at a reasonable hour.
Leave Work on Time Productivity Ideas
Want to get more done at work without working harder? Try any of these productivity ideas the next time you want to finish up your work, stat:
Get off your cell phone.
It’s time to put an end to those impromptu texting sessions, games, and mindless web surfing. Temporarily turn your phone while you work. At the very least, disable social media, email, and text alerts so you can focus on what you’re doing.
Focus on projects and assignments, not tasks.
Take a broader view of your work to put things in perspective. Remember, tasks are the building blocks of projects and assignments. But if you’re focusing on the wrong tasks, why you’re just wasting your time and energy.
Prioritize assignments due today and tomorrow.
Carefully evaluate which assignments are due today and tomorrow. Then make a plan to work on them throughout the day. Everything else can wait; there will always be more work to do, tomorrow, and the day after that.
You’ll only dilute your attention and energy. Choose one task, roll your sleeves up, and tackle it. Move on to the next task as necessary.
Stop planning your wedding, birthday party, anniversary, etc
Yes, you may be excited about planning that upcoming event, but remember, you’re at work! Leave your personal projects at home.
Avoid or block web sites.
Five minutes spent watching one cute cat video can quickly turn into an hour’s worth of cute cat videos. If you need to, avoid or block web or video sites at your computer.
Set up email filters.
Setting up or using email filters can help you visually process emails. Try pre-sorting your emails by either sender, subject, or date, and spend less time sorting through your messages.
Do important tasks first.
Tackling important tasks first can help you start the day off on the right foot. Plus, you won’t have to spend the entire afternoon worrying about finishing up that report or slide deck for tomorrow.
Give up gossiping at the water cooler.
Is finding out what “she said” or “he said” more important than leaving work on time and enjoying your personal time? You’ve got better things to do with your time.
Leave Work on Time Time Management Ideas
Managing your time at work is an absolute must. These time management tips will help you better manage all those minutes and hours.
Eat your breakfast at home.
Wake up on time, bathe, get dressed, and eat your breakfast at home. Remember, there’s no reason to waste valuable time at work (or making a mess at your workspace) juggling a cereal bowl or a breakfast sandwich.
Get to work on time.
Arrive on time to work every day. If you need to, try a few different time management experiments to find the optimal travel route and times from your home to your place of employments. Remember, your lateness affects not only your schedule, but others’ schedules as well.
Avoid scheduling meetings late in the day.
Aim to hold meetings no later than 4. P.M. if possible. You can spend the late afternoon wrapping up work from today or preparing for tomorrow’s work day.
Schedule an appointment right after work.
Try scheduling a personal appointment immediately after work hours. A doctor’s appointment, personal meeting, or must-do errand will motivate you to finish your work and leave on time.
Set a stop work and leave office time.
Designate two separate times at the end of your work day. The first is when you effectively stop working and put your work away, turn off your computer, and tidy up your desk. The second is when you should be walking out the door.
Start meetings on time.
Starting meetings on time helps everyone keep to a schedule. Plus, you can actually spend time covering what’s listed in the meeting agenda.
End meetings on time.
Ending meetings on time is an important skill everyone should learn. It keeps all parties involved happy and on schedule.
Track your work hours.
Tracking your work hours will show you in no uncertain terms just how many extra minutes you’re spending at the office. Try doing this for a week or two for some valuable feedback.
Stop holding so many meetings.
Did you know? The majority of meetings don’t need to be held in the first place. Carefully evaluate whether or not it’s necessary to hold a meeting. These tips can help.
Set calendar reminders.
Never be caught off guard again when it comes to regularly recurring tasks. Set recurring calendar reminders for yourself on your computer or write it reminders in your paper planner on an as-needed basis, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Ask daily requests to be sent to you no later than 12 P.M., if possible.
This will give you enough time to review the request, ask questions, and complete the necessary work. Plus, you’ll have a comfortable buffer of time for all of your other work tasks, too.
Leave Work on Time Organization Ideas
Getting organized at work can help you save a lot of time, energy, and frustrations. Invest some time in getting yourself organized and reap the benefits for weeks to come with these tips:
Create a couple of templates.
Creating templates for your work makes it easy to perform routine tasks and assignments. Take a moment to consider which documents, forms, layouts, or illustrations you use on a regular basis. Then, create a template or two to help speed up your workflow.
Streamline a process or system.
Do you have processes and systems in place at the office? If your current filing, reporting, scanning, indexing, researching, recording, writing, or other process or system is functioning less than desired, you may want to consider doing an overhaul. If you don’t have a process or system set up, you may want to consider building one.
Keep track of recurring task, project, meeting, and assignment preparations or requirements by creating a couple of checklists. You can use the same checklist over and over again in your work to stay organized.
Be mindful when labeling and storing items.
Take a few minutes to properly label and store items in your workspace. Be it cleaning supplies, quarterly reports, or digital resource folders, or conference posters, you’ll know exactly where to find items when you need them.
Move personal or non-work email newsletters to your personal email account.
Do a survey of your current work inbox and deleted items folders. If you have non-work newsletters or information coming to your account, update your email subscription preferences to a personal email account. You’ll keep your work email looking professional and clutter-free.
Leave Work on Time Inspirational Ideas
Looking for a few inspiring ways for you to leave work on time? Here are some fun and thoughtful ways to help you leave the office at a wholly reasonable time:
Take your lunch break.
You’ll feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and most importantly, satiated. You’ll work more efficiently after your break than if you just tried to push on through your hunger and fatigue.
Give yourself an incentive.
Grab an empty glass jar or plastic container at home and label it, “Left Work on Time.” Place a dollar bill in the jar for every day you leave work on time. At the end of three months’ time, buy yourself a small present or treat yourself to lunch.
Make a friendly bet or wager.
Tell your friends and family you’ll buy them dinner if you continue to work late. Another option is to set aside $20 dollars for each night worked late over the next two months. At the end of two months’ time, donate the amount to a charity of your friend’s choosing.
Take up a new hobby or class.
Learning a new skill, language, dance, craft, or art can be a lot of fun. Plus, having a personal commitment after work can motivate you to hunker down and finish your work before your class or workshop begins.
Change your job.
Sometimes you have to do what’s necessary to put your life in balance. If you’re constantly staying late at the office and/or if things are really horrendous at your current place of work, you may want to consider searching for a position with a different employer.
Be honest with yourself.
Chances are, you’ve got a fairly good idea as to why you’re putting in those extra hours. What’s really going on? Be 100% honest with yourself. When you identify the real problem, you can take appropriate steps to deal with it, once and for all.
How about you? What steps do you take to leave work on time or at a reasonable hour? Which of these tips are you going to try out? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!
Want to master time management? Check out The Order Expert’s Guide to Time Management, a self-guided eWorkbook designed to help you learn basic time management skills.
If you want to take your time management skills to the next level, learn more about my time management coaching.