Work smarter, not later: how to leave the office on time
Avoiding distractions and establishing a work schedule can help you work more efficiently. (Shutterstock)
You might lack the willpower to leave when the clock strikes 6, you may feel like you have to re-do something or complete a task that can easily wait, or maybe your coworkers are still there.
If you are having trouble leaving work, try these tips:
1. Have a family member call you
If one of your primary concerns about working late so frequently is that you're missing out on time with your spouse, partner, friends, or children, have one of them call you when it's time for you to go home.
2. Schedule an activity right after work
If you've been meaning to get into shape, take a yoga class, or volunteer at a local charity, make sure you sign up for activities that will force you to leave the office at a regular time every day to give yourself incentive to leave the office every day on time. My incentive was taking French language lessons right after work.
Review your month; if your 40-hour week has become 60- or 70-hour week, and you’re wasting significant amount of time managing your inbox or in meetings, it’s time for some restructuring.
4. Schedule your workday
Rather than simply putting together a half-hearted to-do list, go a step further and establish a schedule for your workday. If you're planning on working for eight hours, allot an estimated time for each project or task even for big and high priority projects. It’s good to know how much time you were supposed to spend vs. the actual amount of time you spent. This will put things in perspective.
Make your workspace as distraction-free as possible. Close out all of unnecessary tabs on your browser, silence your phone, and put your headphones on if it helps. It's easy to let daily work distractions like coffee breaks pull you away from getting things done.
6. Learn to say no
After scheduling your work day, you know you have a busy day ahead of you, but you still accepted that conference call invitation. Just say "no," rather than trying to stuff unnecessary meetings and tasks into your already jam-packed day. While it isn't always possible to turn down every meeting invitation, try your best to make a case when you're especially busy. You can instead ask to leave early or have someone share the meeting notes with you.
By Shaden Abdulraman