8 Ways to Get Out the Office Door On Time

Out the Office Door

It’s time to leave work.

You are about to head out, when your last meeting runs over.

Then you realize you have one more deliverable that is due, as well.

And suddenly, you are stuck at the office.

Is your departure from work like an obstacle course intended to keep you from leaving on time?

Stuck at the Office

You start the day with the best of intentions.

You plan on leaving work early to hit the gym and then you are having a dinner date.

But, one thing leads to another. One meeting runs into another.

You end up being held late at work. And after meetings, you still have to finish up your work.

Soon, it’s well into the evening.

The gym has already been written off. And you are unfashionably late to your dinner date. (Or maybe you missed dinner altogether…)

Tomorrow you repeat the same pattern.

Is your office determined to prevent you from having a life?

Escape the Office

With a little advanced planning and saying “No” where appropriate, you can get out of the office on time.

Just like getting out the door at home on time, it takes some planning and advance action.

But, it can be done. You can have a life after the office.

Here are 8 Tips to help you Get Out the Office Door On Time:

  1. Set a Goal – Know when you are leaving. If you have a set time that you are working towards, you can adjust your work to meet that goal.
  2. Set Hard Boundaries – When things start running over, don’t let them. Excuse yourself from that meeting on time. End that discussion when appropriate. Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) is known for setting a hard-line that she leaves work at 5:30PM to get home with her kids. (Recommended reading: Sheryl’s book Lean In.)
  3. Set Expectations – Advance expectations can work magic. If others know that you need to leave on time, they are more likely to respect your time. This could meaning telling your team or boss in advance, that you need to depart at a certain time that day.
  4. Make An Appointment (With Yourself) – Leaving at the end of the day can be difficult, even from an etiquette standpoint. However, if you have an appointment, people tend to be understanding. You don’t have to say that it is a dinner with your significant other.
  5. Don’t Schedule Meetings at the End of the Day – Set aside the end of your day for admin, clean-up, and wrap-up. These are activities that you control. Meetings tend to run over. Don’t let meetings be the last thing on your daily calendar.
  6. Don’t Go Out For lunch – While fun, going out for lunch with the gang ends up punching a huge hole in your day. Don’t let the second half of your workday get derailed by an unexpected long lunch. Bring your lunch and if you finish early you can relax or get ahead on your afternoon.
  7. Start Early – Want to leave early? Try getting to work early. By arriving before others, you can get work done and be ahead of your todo list.
  8. Get your Deadlines Done Early – Attack those have-to-do tasks early. The ones that you must get done before leaving work. This will prevent you from getting stuck when you run out of time at the end of the day.

Leave the Office On Time

Getting out of office on time can sometimes seem like an escape scene from a Jason Bourne movie.

But, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.

With a few standards and advance planning, you can get out of the office on time.

You just might find that you still have a life waiting for you.

Question: How do you get out the office on-time? Leave your comment for a chance to win a TMN shirt. Each month one lucky commenter will receive a free TMN t-shirt. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

12 thoughts on “8 Ways to Get Out the Office Door On Time

  1. The key to #2 is contained right there in the text: Sheryl Sandberg is known for setting a hard line.

    If we don’t respect our time, no one else will either.

  2. One of the biggest reason why we don’t leave office on time is because the most important task is left behind in 20 other non-critical tasks which were tempting and easy. The easiest way I found to get back home on time is by finishing the most critical task early during the day (ideally before lunch) and then tackling the other non-critical activities during the second half.

    The second rather smarter trick that i am practicing right now is to really cut down on the amount of tasks to be done everyday to the “really” important ones. I have found this to be working quite well because at the end of the day, I always leave happy know that fact that the most important tasks related to my Key Goals have been taken care of.

      1. Good question. The essence of high productivity is to sense your own pattern and give your best based on available time, energy and priority. Try to identify your own mental pattern and adapt your work-style accordingly. The pattern i have identified for myself is that I am super-charged during mornings and most of my creative stuff comes out at this time. There are other bloggers like Time Ferris who sit very very early morning like 4:00 A.M. to pump out the great stuff. My advice is – create your own rules, see what works for you, refine and improve based on your observation of yourself. I am sure that you will strike the right chord.

  3. Great tips to get out of the office when you are supposed to,… whether the reason is personal time, family time, workout and relaxation time, or to take a mini vacation break after work.

    My advice is to set a calendar reminder that tells you to go home. It will pop-up on your computer or ring your phone with a audible reminder to LEAVE WORK NOW. That could be your “appointment with yourself” that you recommend to tell your co-workers that you have to be done for the day.

    The temptation is to always do “just one more thing” so an alarm clock like reminder can be used to raise your awareness of the goal to leave work on time to enjoy a healthier work-life balance.

    -Scott VacationCounts – Take More Vacation Time Off

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