4 Wise Ways to Skip Working Late
By Sandy Schroeder
We all do it. Time just slips away as a mix of commitments and good intentions mess up our regular schedules. Then it’s too late, and we wind up working late digging our way out. Usually we vow to never let it happen again, but we all know how that works out.
If this sounds way too familiar, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, a time coach and author of Divine Time Management, offered some solid advice in fastcompany.com that might actually help us meet our deadlines.
Saunders says, ”Give yourself a break. Time management is a difficult skill. Don’t stress yourself out, trying to work faster.”
Shake Things Up
Be proactive and see what happens.
Move your deadlines up – Give yourself a little breather, setting due dates a day or two ahead. That allows for any unexpected extra work that suddenly pops up, rethinking completed work, or making last-minute changes. When the actual due date shows up, your work may be in good shape, and all done.
Spot schedule priorities – Ask yourself what might trip you up and take more time. What are the “must do” items? Move these items to the top of your schedule and knock them off first. Telling yourself that you will get to them later usually leads to disaster. Late afternoon looms and there may be too many complex things left to do, guaranteeing a late night session.
Schedule two short task management times – Use one short time in the morning to review emails and check the schedule. Catch anything that has been missed before you launch into the day’s projects. At the end of the day do another short review of your “to do” list. This helps provide closure, letting you leave without spending half of the evening thinking about loose ends, or worse, finishing things on your laptop before bedtime.
Establish an end-of-the-day routine – Clearing loose papers off of the desk, returning phone calls, discarding clutter, and emptying your coffee mug can become nightly steps to close out the day. Without that routine, it can be all too easy to finish just one or two more tasks, making dinner late and the evening shorter.
We can’t plan everything perfectly, but putting a few habits in place could help us balance our lives better. When I impose new guidelines and routines, my family says they can tell the difference by the number of my smiles.
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