Whether you’re a new employee, the CEO of the company or your own boss, we guarantee you’ve found yourself working late at some point in your career. Who knows, you could be reading this right now while sitting at your desk, hours after your official finishing time.
Working late is one of those things a lot of employees do to show their dedication and impress their superiors, especially if they’re a new employee or up for a promotion.
But finishing work on time will ensure you’re a happier employee in the long run. Sure, we all have to work late occasionally, but if you find yourself staying past dinner time more often than not, it’s time to make a change before it negatively impacts your performance.
A study by Workfront shows 38% of employees have missed life events because of work. Add to this the notion that work/life balance is harder to come by what with our work emails accessible from our phone, and we have a problem.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, read our tips below on how to finish work on time.
1. Organize your day in terms of priority
Don’t make the mistake of spending the first hour of every work day drowning in your inbox. According to Atlassian, Employees spend an average of 16 minutes refocusing after going through new emails.
While it’s assumed most of us will check our emails first thing, instead do a scan for important messages and leave anything non-urgent for later in the day.
When writing your to-do list, tackle high priority items at the beginning of each day and leave other tasks for later. This will ensure you get everything done that you need to, while administrative tasks and email replies can be left for the following day.
2. Schedule time for your inbox
Just as it’s important to make sure you don’t drown in your inbox each day, it’s also important to ensure you’re staying on top of your emails. The easiest way to do this is to set aside time each day and dedicate these minutes to your inbox. When you’re finished, use Kiwi for Gmail’s Zen Switch feature to stop the notifications and let yourself get back to more urgent tasks.
No notifications = a more productive day.
3. Group together similar tasks
If your to-do list is an ever-growing mountain of tasks, one way to get a handle on it is by taking 10 minutes when you first arrive to organize that list.
Write down everything you need to do today, and group together tasks that are similar. Say it’s 5 things you need to do for one client, or 6 emails you have to send to different staff members. Grouping together similar tasks will ensure your mind stays fresh and your brain isn’t trying to jump around to different tasks. That way, you’ll be able to tackle your to-do list in half the time.
4. Block out your calendar for you-time
If your to-do list is more electronic than the usual pen-and-paper style list, you may already be doing this. If you aren’t, we suggest starting.
Block out the last hour of your day in your calendar so team members can’t schedule meetings with you. This way, you can complete outstanding tasks with no distractions and feel confident about leaving when the day is over.
5. Learn to say no
While it might be in your nature to want to please everyone, saying no is one of the most important lessons you can teach yourself. We’re all guilty of taking on a little extra from time to time, but start small and learn what you can say no to. If your to-do list is filled with only things you absolutely must do, you’ll find yourself able to get your work done and walk out of the office once 5 o’clock hits.
As a bonus tip, we’ll let you in on our secret: download Kiwi for Gmail and watch your productivity skyrocket. You’ll never work late again.
H/T: Tech Republic, Parents.com, Forbes