Earlier this week, I came across this article by Richard Moy about managing work schedules on http://www.workingmother.com and thought it was a great one to share:
I, like many of us find it difficult to “leave the office at 5”, even though I know that I will be responding to emails in the evening and before I go back into the office in the morning. Even on days where there are specific times that I have to pick up my kids, I still struggle with giving myself permission or feel ready to “leave” the office.
Here are 4 great take aways from the article to help manage your time:
1. To get out of the office at a set time every day, you must be intentional about your schedule.
That means having enough structure around meetings, work time and email to get it all done in the day. Take a step back and look at how and when you need to use your time. I try to avoid conference calls in the first hour of my day to allow me to work on key deliverables. Schedule calls or appointments in blocks and when you can, ensure that the last call ends at least 30 minutes before you have to leave to be more efficient and avoid the stress of running late.
2. To leave at 5, you have to get more done during the day.
Think strategically about when you are most productive and schedule your uninterrupted brain power for those times. Avoid distractions like checking email constantly. A woman I met on a recent flight talked about how to be more efficient with email including checking email every hour vs. every five minutes or when they flash up on your screen. Ensure that you complete the action with the email once it’s opened (delete, store or respond). We lose a lot of time each day if we are constantly jumping from one thing to another and not finishing what we start. Set rules that you live by to maximize your time.
3. The World Won’t Come Crashing Down if You Leave Something for Tomorrow.
While we all know that work deadlines need to be met, it’s the self-imposed deadlines that add the extra pressure and drag us down. Few things are as urgent as we actually make them. Know when you really need to get it done today and avoid obsessing over the nice to haves that can really wait until tomorrow.
4. Make the Best Out of the Time for You.
It’s amazing how much better we can feel when we have that extra time to get away from work. Thirty more minutes each day can make a big difference to be there for your family or to just detune and recharge for the next day. Setting limits around your schedule is not a sign of lack of dedication to your job, it’s a clear signal that you have commitments outside of the office too.