Statistics show that 75-80% of the corporate workforce works late 1-3 nights a week. Don't get me wrong here bucko — there are times during the year when you do need to work late — emergencies or a deadline deliverable to a client. Most of the time — working late is due to one of three reasons:
- Poor Planning - On your part or your bosses. Remember the phrase: "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine?"
- Time Management and/or Procrastination - You spend work time on unimportant activities and push the more important stuff to later in the day.
- Showoff - The need to portray to management, the board, your clients, your peers, your staff, or even your family that you are a "hard worker".
Which one are you? Are you a composite of two or even three of these? I was. And it took me YEARS to realize this.
If you can't fit your position into a 40-50 hour window (that's working from 7 AM to 5 PM each day), you need to change a few things. So here goes (in no special order):
- You need to SDR - Streamline, Delegate, or Retire - You probably do too much. Leverage your staff and others to pick up the simple stuff. (check out my post)
- You go to too many meetings (see this post from last week on meetings).
- You haven't set specific boundaries with your boss. You need to train them just like a dog. I'm not kidding - if they try to catch you at 5:30 for an 'important talk' every night, you need to let them know that they can talk to you in the morning.
- Stop goofing around at work. No surfing, no personal phone calls, no wandering the office for casual conversation. Do your work! Check this out.
- Stop procrastinating. Work on the hard stuff first. Break it up into manageable chunks and get it done. Check this out.
- Leave at a reasonable hour. 5 or 6 PM is fine. I know people will notice. But at the end of the day, leaving work to get home for more important activities is critical to your long-term happiness. Work is important — but life springs eternal!