Most people enter the workplace with no plan and work without thinking about their value to the organisation. As a result, by the end of the workday, they find that they have not accomplished anything. The projects they missed then give them sleepless nights and feelings of underachievement. In case this describes you, it is high time you stopped being lazy and learned how to get more done in less time. This way, you will be able to get home early, unwind and know you spent your hours in a worthwhile and meaningful way.
If you are still stuck at the office after 7 p.m., the problem isn’t your workload. Rather, it could be that you are not working efficiently. To this end, you need to learn how to be the most productive in your office and still get home by 5.30 p.m. Although it is difficult to get your work done and be home for dinner, you can still manage it. By eliminating time wasting, disorganisation and inefficiency, you will have an easier time leaving work on time.
By being the most productive employee, you can easily get your work done and go home when the clock chimes 5. Adopt the following habits and watch as you start getting out the door early:
- Have the End in Mind
Start each day with the end in mind. Most people are not able to leave work on time because do not expect to. Instead, the go with the flow at work, and focus on whatever is tossed their way.
By so doing, they neglect blocking time on their calendars for work that needs to be prioritised. Therefore, when departure time comes, they find that they still have a lot to do simply because they failed to plan ahead of time.
To ensure you do not get sucked into this quicksand, decide what time you want to get back home before you even have breakfast. Mark it on your calendar and set an alarm on your phone. Alternatively, commit to the set departure time.
- Clarify Your Values
It is easy to tell what you value by looking at your calendar and your checkbook. Most people claim that they value their friends and family. Others want to be great parents. However, their actions tell a different tale.
The secret to becoming to most productive employee and getting home by 5.30 p.m. revolves around knowing what you value. It is also related to how well you schedule your time to meet these values. To succeed, therefore, think through your priorities, schedule time for each priority, and stick to your decisions.
- Inform Others
You can also become more productive by telling your boss and colleagues the time you wish to leave. This will make it easier for you to work hard during the day so you don’t leave any pending projects.
For instance, if you tell your colleagues that you need to get home by 5.30 p.m., they will let you know whenever they need something. This will encourage them to use your talents appropriately, instead of waiting till the last hour to ask you to help them out with something.
As you go about doing this, however, ensure that you are assertive. Tell them that you have to be home by 5.30 p.m. because you have a commitment you must adhere to. It is none of their business that such a commitment is with your family or with yourself.
- Work on Important Projects First
If you spend time on such low-value projects as scheduling meetings and answering emails, chances are that you won’t get anything constructive done before the day ends. This will eventually force you to stay at the office past hours.
To stay on track, create a list with 2 columns. On the right side, list the 3-5 most important projects you need to work on. Then, list other activities on the left side.
When the work day ends, match the list up. Check how much of what you accomplished on the left side provided direct support to the key priorities on the right. If there is no stellar match – up, you need to reevaluate what you typically do when you get to work.
- Schedule Meetings before 4 P.M.
If you have some level control over meetings, ensure that the latest work meeting starts at or before 4 p.m. You should also schedule it to end by 4.30 p.m. Block out your calendar from 4 p.m. to ensure your colleagues and boss cannot schedule with you.
- Make Transition Time
It is near impossible to get out the door before 5.30 p.m. unless you have time to wind everything down. Therefore, consider blocking out some 20 minutes or so prior to your departure. Then, use this time to finish up on such details as organising your workspace, making sure all essential emails have been cleared out, and filing papers.
Overall, you can easily learn how to be more productive and still manage to get home by 5.30 p.m. if you realise that you have more hours to accomplish your goals on the following day. Never be a slave to your office. Rather, let your work fit in with your personal aims and preferences. When this concept truly sinks in, it will dramatically change your work dynamics and you will be able to get home on time.