How to leave work on time

Running late

It’s Friday, you’ve had a busy week and you really don’t want to be leaving late today. Here are a few tips to get you out of the office and finishing work on time or even early.

  • Start by giving your work colleagues and your boss a heads-up that you need to leave early. This will reduce the risk of last minute questions or urgent work requests.
  • Plan your day – make a list of the tasks you absolutely must get done today. Allocate time slots in the day when you’re going to do them.
  • Prioritise your list – what’s important, what could wait until Monday? Can anyone else help or do the task for you? Be realistic about how much you can complete in the time available.
  • Work backwards from the time you need to leave. Manage your time and plan the tasks on your to-do list accordingly.
  • Stay focused – avoid any distractions or interruptions that stop you from getting on with your tasks or delay you e.g. lingering for a chat by the coffee machine, interruptions from colleagues etc. Work in short bursts – you’ll stay focused and be more productive.
  • If you can’t avoid Friday meetings altogether, avoid last minute or late meetings. Keep them to the morning. If they run over you’ll be under even more pressure to complete any follow ups or actions before you need to leave, along with your now delayed tasks.
  • Make phone calls or send emails that need a response in the morning to allow time for them to reply and for you to action. Remember to add this requirement in any requests.
  • Stop work at least 10-15 minutes before 4pm to give you time to clear your desk, file any paperwork, shut down your computer.
  • Book an important personal appointment that means you absolutely must leave on time. You’re less likely to start ‘just one more thing’.

Set the intention of leaving on time and treat the end of the working day as a ‘deadline’ not a movable timeline where you just keep working until you’ve finished.

Creating a definite end-time will help you stay focused.