If you work long hours, making it home in time for dinner can seem impossible. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get work done, let alone leave early.
Want to know a few secrets to being more productive at home and in the office? Here are five tips that can help you get things done and get out of the office at a reasonable time.
1. Spend Time on Sundays Prepping Meals
No one wants to come home after a long day at the office to then have to cook an entire meal. Make a point to carve out a few hours on Sunday to get meals ready for the week. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to cook everything on Sunday and eat leftovers all week. But it does mean that you can do the prep, or at least the planning, on Sunday.
If you can make meals that you’ll still be able to enjoy reheated later in the week, go for it. If not, at least take the time to plan a menu and do some prep. And if you’re going to go out to eat, plan that too!
2. Get To Work Earlier (So You Can Leave Earlier)
Not everyone has the option to work a flexible schedule. Some employers demand that you’re in the office from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. But if you get in at 9:00 a.m. every day yet never seem to leave before 7:00 p.m., it might be time to start your day a little earlier.
If you’re a morning person, you can use this to your advantage. First, you can avoid rush hour traffic. Second, it’s safe to say there aren’t many people in the office at 7:00 a.m. The peace and quiet you’ll enjoy will result in solid hours of productivity!
If that’s not possible, at least let your boss know that you’ll be coming in earlier each day. And make it clear that means you’ll be leaving when the clock strikes 5:00 p.m.
3. Start Wrapping Up 30 Minutes Before You Want to Leave
It’s no secret that the last hour of work is the least productive hour of the day. Exhaustion from a busy day starts kicking in and the last thing anyone wants to do is start another to-do list item.
Spend the last 30 minutes of the day planning for tomorrow and the rest of the week. This is also a great time to finish wrapping up any items that aren’t as pressing or as important.
Set a reminder on your calendar for 4:30 p.m. every day and stick to your wrap-up routine. That way, when the clock strikes 5:00 p.m., you’re ready to hit the road. Using this time to finish your day on a high note will leave you feeling accomplished and ready to tackle tomorrow.
4. Do Important Tasks Early In the Day
Don’t wait till after lunch to tackle your most important project. Regardless of what business you’re in, problems and issues can arise at any moment. If you start your day by addressing the most important tasks, you’ll be able to deal with issues when they arise.
Even the most well thought out plans can go awry. If a crisis occurs at 3:30 p.m., you might have to stay later. But if you have a crisis to handle and still have to do that report for tomorrow morning’s meeting, that’s even worse.
5. Don’t Let Your Inbox Rule Your Life
This is a problem that professionals in almost every industry struggle with. According to data from Adobe, people spend more than 20 hours a week checking email. That’s more than half of the time we’re supposed to be on the clock!
Instead, create a schedule for reading and responding to emails. Check your inbox when you arrive in the office each morning.
If making it home in time for dinner is important to you, then make it a priority. The hours you spend in the office might not be an accurate reflection of the work you’re getting done. 9 to 5 workers can get out of the office by 5:00 p.m. not by working less, but by working smarter.
Cat Thomas currently works as the Director of Marketing for Broadstone Brickell an upscale Miami apartment building that ensures you won’t need to venture far to satisfy all your professional and social desires. Live up your lifestyle, surrounded by first-class shopping, dining, arts and entertainment. Cat has over 15 years’ combined experience in multifamily, retail and other industries. As the Director of Marketing, she oversees research, discovery and execution of creative, content, digital and strategy efforts.