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7 Secrets to Leave Work on Time

You told your partner you’d be home for dinner, but you often find yourself stuck at work late. You want to leave the office by 6 pm, but it’s usually closer to 7.30 pm. You often complain about not having time for your hobbies but don’t know how to be more efficient and leave work on time.

If you thought working extra hours every day would make you the best on the team, think again.

A recent poll found that working late doesn’t impress people. In fact, 35% of those surveyed said working overtime means you’re disorganized, while 32% said it means you’re given too much work.

Almost 18% thought staying late meant you were trying too hard to please others, and 15% believed it meant you were not performing well.

Instead of spending all your time in the office, experts suggest working smarter, being more productive, and leaving work on time to have a better work-life balance.

But when was the last time you left the office when you were supposed to?

It’s possible.

Craig Jarrow, the author of “Time Management Ninja,” wants to help individuals and companies take back their time. He believes that with some planning and learning to say “no” when necessary, you can leave work on time.

“Just like leaving your home on time, it takes planning and action, but it can be done. You can have a life after work,” says Jarrow.

7 Simple Tips to Leave Work on Time

#1 Start your day with the end in mind

If you don’t work towards it, the work day won’t end when you want it to. Best-selling time management author Brian Tracy writes that one minute of planning at the start saves 10 minutes of work later.

Going with the flow is the norm at the workplace, but people who prioritise and list down things that must be closed during the day are far better placed to leave on time than those who don’t block time on their calendar.

Tip: Joining a class or group that meets after work will ensure that you make a commitment to leaving on time.

#2 First things first: Eat that frog first

Mark Twain sure knew what he was talking about. If the first thing you do every morning is to eat a live frog, you can get through the rest of the day with the worst is behind you.

Do the most critical work – often the worst – first thing in the morning instead of squandering time on less important things.

Tip: A weekly planner with critical tasks detailed out, be it a monthly report or the agenda for a meeting, will keep you on track.

#3 Strategize when it comes to your workday

If you want to leave when you should actually be leaving, it’s time to rethink your workday. Try getting to work early to get in some quality solo time that you can use to “eat the frog”. Going out for lunch is fine once in a while, but a long lunch hour every day can throw the second half off track.

Tip: Ensure that you never schedule meetings for the end of the day. Extended meetings have a habit of throwing schedules off track.

#4 Set tough boundaries, and stay the course

It’s perfectly normal for meetings and calls to start running over. But you need to know when it’s imperative to say stop. Get ready to hang up or excuse yourself from the long meeting when your self-imposed deadline nears.

Tip: If you tell people you will leave at a certain time, you’ll circumvent last-minute assignments or meetings.

#5 Delegate all that you can, except what you excel at

If you try to do everything, chances are you won’t finish anything. James Cash Penney, the founder of the US-based J.C. Penney retail chain, has said that the surest way for an executive to kill himself is to refuse to learn “how, and when, and to whom to delegate work”.

Most of us know our strengths; keep those tasks with you and delegate the rest.

Tip: Stop thinking that you are the only one who can do the job perfectly and let go with complete job instructions.

#6 Work on improving your productivity

There are only so many hours in a workday, so it’s crucial to make the most of them. Work smarter to enhance your productivity: Set self-imposed deadlines, work offline when you can, hold standing meetings and take regular breaks.

The two-minute rule – if you can do it in two minutes, go for it – also helps.

Tip: Turn off your notifications to focus better. Instead of letting emails go back and forth, pick up the phone to save hours of reading and responding.

#7 Give yourself 20 minutes for pack-up

Announcing that you must leave at 6 pm is one thing; actually leaving at that time every day is another. It gets easier if you devote your last 20 minutes at the desk to tying up loose ends and prepping for the next day.

Tip: File your papers, clean your desk and send off the last-minute email to ensure you’re ready for tomorrow.

FAQ on Secrets to Leave Work on Time

Q:1 Why is leaving work on time important for work-life balance?

A: Leaving work on time is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance as it allows you to spend quality time with family, pursue hobbies, and reduce stress.

Q:2 What are some common challenges in leaving work on time?

A: Common challenges include workloads, deadlines, and office culture. Overcoming these challenges involves time management and setting boundaries.

Q:3 Can you provide tips for improving time management to leave work on time?

A: Certainly! Effective time management involves prioritization, setting realistic goals, minimizing distractions, and learning to say no when necessary.

Q:4 How can I communicate my intention to leave work on time to my superiors and colleagues?

A: Communicate openly and honestly with your superiors about your work-life balance goals. Be proactive in managing your workload and inform colleagues of your availability.

Q:5 Are there long-term benefits to leaving work on time consistently?

A: Yes, leaving work on time consistently can lead to reduced burnout, improved overall well-being, and increased job satisfaction, ultimately benefiting your career and personal life.

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