Having a hard time leaving work at a reasonable time each day? Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life, shares tips for getting out of the office and having a life outside of work!
Reward someone for helping you leave on time. Whether it’s your assistant, a coworker, or your entire team, pay someone to make sure you get out on time for the first 30 days. If you make public your plans to change, several forces will converge to assist you. One, your coworkers will all hold you accountable for following though on your commitment. Two, you’ll feel obliged to make good on your public promise. And three, the people you work with will learn to stop bringing you assignments at 6 p.m.
Leave with a buddy. Find someone at work who leaves earlier than you do, and make sure you leave when they do. It’s better to attach yourself to a person who has no trouble leaving at their designated time than a fellow reforming workaholic.
Set measurable goals for your leisure time. Workaholics tend to find satisfaction in the tangible results they receive from getting work done. Fill your new time off with goal-oriented activities that you can check off a list when complete — seeing four plays or films per month, going to the gym three days per week, learning to play an instrument, mastering the fine art of baking. You may not always need to be so task-oriented in your time off, but this allows you to make the transition more gradually.
Develop yourself in unexpected ways. Trust that if you pursue some interest outside the office (e.g., strolling through a museum, walking through the park, or finding a hobby) you will still be industrious. By becoming an enriched human being you provide a great contribution to the world. It’s a slower payoff, but no less meaningful.
Tempt yourself with the familiar joys. You may have high hopes to start all kinds of new activities in your time off, but when you are first trying to break this habit, start with the things that are most familiar and fun. It’s harder to sacrifice the things that bring you the most joy than an activity that is unfamiliar.
Make time-specific commitments immediately after work. Arrange dinner with a friend, go to a concert, schedule a trainer at the local gym. Enroll in a continuing education course, spin classes, etc. Anything with a hard start time that will force you to put a cap on your work day. If it’s something you’ve prepaid for, all the better.
Recognize the benefits of recharging. Next time you feel tempted to stay late rather than go home to relax, breathe and slowly count to ten. Picture your kids’ faces, your friend’s smile, the joy of sitting on the couch next to a loved one and getting a backrub. Give yourself permission to relax, and remember it will make you more productive tomorrow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Morgenstern is the New York Times bestselling author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life (Copyright © 2008 by Julie Morgenstern), Organizing from the Inside Out, Time Management from the Inside Out, and Never CheckE-Mail in the Morning. She lives in New York City. Visit her at www.juliemorgenstern.com and join the free SHED community.
MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR
- Read Chapter 1 of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck
- Get the author’s top 3 tips on getting your life in order, misconceptions about clutter, and more
- Watch the video: Julie Morgenstern on how to SHED your stuff