I had a job once where people lingered. It wasn't necessarily that we had to stay late, it was more than no one wanted to be the first to leave. We would clack away at our keyboards until our boss would pack up and head out.
When it comes to work life balance, stepping out at the end of the day often means navigating career making or breaking office politics.
In summer time, a quick and easy exit from the office seems even more necessary when daylight extends longer and it's still possible to take an after dinner stroll.
A few years ago, I wrote a column called The Art of the Exit. This month's Working Mother Magazine said only 44 percent of moms get out of the office on time. It featured some great tips from organizer Laura Stack. I combined both to bring you some suggestions for exit strategies:
1. Do a daily 2 p.m. check in. Look at your to-do list and figure out what still needs to get done. If you wait until 5 p.m. you will end up staying later.
2. Say no to last minute requests. If your co-worker or supervisor waits until 6 p.m. to make a request, let them know it will get it done the next day. Train them to respect your schedule.
3. Block off the last half hour. That's the time for picking up what you printed out, cleaning off your desk, making a to-do list for the next day or grabbing you Tupperware from the fridge.
4. Make a date. Put something fun on your calendar after work hours and give it importance. Treat it like an impending deadline.
5. Check in with your boss - briefly. Give him a quick update or at least wave on your way out. If you think you're going to slip out unnoticed, it often backfires. You may need to assert yourself politely and firmly to let him or her know you have a commitment outside the office.
Readers, do you struggle with leaving the office at the end of the work day, checking email one last time or making a phone that lasts longer than you expect? Have you come up with any strategies?