We’ve all been there – 8pm and still sat at the office finishing off one last thing. But too many hours spent working late in the office aren’t good for you. Here’s our guide to breaking the habit.
Ever feel that after you’ve been working late your brain isn’t functioning properly? The truth is, it isn’t. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology discovered that those who work more than 55 hours a week actually score lower on vocabulary and reasoning tests than people who work 40-hour weeks.
Now is the time to break the habit. And here’s how:
1. Set deadlines
A lot of people work late because of deadlines – they need this report in first thing tomorrow or a client is visiting and they need to be up to speed.
But if you set earlier, smaller deadlines you can break up the workload into easier chunks. This will mean less last minute cramming after hours.
2. Start to delegate
If it gets to the point where even if you’ve hit your smaller deadlines you still have to work late, it might be that you’re taking on too much work. It’s time to delegate.
Delegating skills are hugely underrated but vital. Ever wondered why other bosses go home on time and look relaxed? It’s because they’ve got staff doing a lot of their work.
See if you can delegate some of the small, day-to-day tasks to someone else first, then work up to larger ones.
3. Hire the right staff
But you can only delegate if you’ve got the right people. If you’re the boss and you’re not comfortable delegating then you haven’t hired the right people.
Those immediately below you should be able to handle pretty much anything you can – they’ll have their eye on your job, so why not let them prove they can do it?
4. Make plans
A good way to stop yourself staying late is to make plans for after work. This could be a relaxing drink with friends or a stress-busting jog. By having these in your diary you’ll have a reminder that it’s time to go.
It’s also worth planning in a summing up session for the end of the day. At 4.45pm, put in your diary a session to go over the day’s work, see what needs to be done tomorrow and what you’ve ticked off the list. And then go.
5. Turn off
If you’ve managed to get out of the office, it’s time to turn off. Mentally and physically.
Switch off the phone, power down the laptop and stop thinking about work. Even if you just turn off the phone for an hour, it gives you time to switch your brain from working to relaxed mode.
6. Do a bit at a time
You’re not going to cut your working day from 10 or 12 hours to 8 in one week.
Start by going home 30 minutes earlier every day. Keep doing this until you’ve found a nice balance between getting the work done and being home at a reasonable time.
7. Get a virtual office to take messages
If you’re worried about missing calls with your phone turned off, sign up to a virtual office service. They can take messages and handle your calls whenever you need them to.
If you’re interested in a virtual office, call us on 0330 031 8057.
Posted by The Secret Businessman