How to Leave by 5pm Everyday

I am tired. I am not even going to suggest I am busier than anyone else. We’re all busy. I’m also frustrated that I’m in the office until 6pm, get home at 6:15pm, immediately sit down for supper, then get 30 minutes of time with my kids. (Anyone give me an ‘Amen’?) So the time management and productivity has to change.

The goal – leave the office at 5pm! Lofty? Maybe immediately. But not if some simple adjustments are made. There’s 90,523 books listed on Amazon under ‘time management’. None of us have the time to read them all so here’s a summary of the finer points of time management* – February’s Five @ 5:

1. Write things down – A common time management mistake is to try to use your memory to keep track of too many details leading to information overload. Using a to-do list to write things down is a great way to take control of your projects and tasks and keep yourself organized.

2. Prioritize your list – Prioritizing your to-do list helps you focus and spend more of your time on the things that really matter to you. Rate your tasks A, B, C by importance and due date. Then rate the As 1, 2, 3, etc. Rate the Bs 1, 2, 3, etc.

3. Plan your week – Spend some time at the beginning of each week to plan your schedule. Taking the extra time to do this will help increase your productivity and balance your important long-term projects with your more urgent tasks. All you need is fifteen to thirty minutes each week for your planning session.

4. Carry a notebook – You never know when you are going to have a great idea or brilliant insight. Carry a small notebook with you wherever you go so you can capture your thoughts. If you wait too long to write them down you could forget. Another option is to use a digital recorder.

5. Learn to say no – Many people become overloaded with too much work because they over commit; they say yes when they really should be saying no. Learn to say no to low
priority requests and you will free up time to spend on things that are more important.

There’s more. If you’d like another 5, drop me an email and I’ll get them to you.

* from Rodger Constandse – Goals to Action

(Originally posted February 4, 2010)

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2 Responses to How to Leave by 5pm Everyday

  1. L. Sanders says:

    On #3: I learned the real secret to planning my week thanks to Rodger Constandse’s Achieve Planner: FIRST, make actual appointments on your daily schedule to do what you really want to do (like “6pm-7pm: Play with kids”), THEN schedule everything else in the time left. The principle behind this: we always find a way, either consciously or unconciously, to make the time to do what we REALLY want to do. It sounds to me as though you REALLY want to spend more time with your kids, so put them on your calendar in the same format you would for any serious, non-negotiable, non-cancellable business appointment.
    The corallary to the principle: if, no matter how often you schedule in your kids, you’re still leaving the office late, then take a very close look at what benefit it is you’re getting from work, that makes it a strong enough “want to do” to pre-empt your kids. Sometimes that “benefit” may not look like one: fear of getting fired if work isn’t completed is a strong motivator!
    We all have a will, and if you decide that your kids come first, then your will may have to take charge and simply force your body and mind to leave the office at 5pm. I discovered this years ago when I was putting in 50-60 hours per week. When I finally decided to just stop doing that, and only put in 40 hours, I discovered that I got just as much done in 40 hours as I did in 60 AND my life improved in numerous ways as well.

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