It doesn't matter if you're a CEO, a business executive, or an emerging entrepreneur - we all face the same problem in today's fast-paced world - getting out of the office on time.
While you might start every day with a great schedule planned, you may find that your day often goes awry when you're left dealing with unanswered emails and lagging projects long after you should have started battling the traffic for your evening commute.
It's all-too-easy to tell yourself that you just need to respond to one more memo before you go or upload another file to the company intranet - then suddenly you're skipping dinner and rushing home in the middle of the night just to get a few hours of sleep before your schedule starts all over again.
Though it's safe to say that there are some days when the mountain of work you have to do will seem insurmountable, there are plenty of benefits to forcing yourself to actually stop when your workday comes to an end.
A lot of people over-work because they assume that the more hours they spend in the office, the more successful they'll be. However, pushing yourself to leave on time can force you to be more disciplined in the way that you spend your days [have you read Tim Ferris's 4-Hour Workweek?]. In other words, you still get the high-priority things done throughout the day, but you spend less time on the things that don't really matter.
For instance, if you know that you're not going to let your days run over anymore, you might stop holding meetings that aren't really productive for you or your team. Not only will this discipline make you more organized at work, but it could also spill over into your personal life so that you're better at getting things done at home.
What's more, if you leave work on time every day, it means that you get more time to do the things that you need to do each day that contribute to your productivity and wellness - like sleep, relaxation, and even exercise.
While anyone can benefit from pushing themselves to leave the office on time each day, it can be particularly beneficial for managers to commit to a solid schedule. After all, if you're responsible for leading an entire team every day, they'll be looking to you for an example of how they should behave. If you're at work every hour of the day, then your employees are going to feel pressured to be there too - regardless of what you might tell them.
Millennials were more likely than other groups [Gen Xer's, Boomers] to prioritize personal commitment overwork if they saw their peers, managers, and CEOs doing the same [Deloitte 2016].
Setting a good example by clocking out on time is a great way to save yourself the headache of dealing with overworked and burned-out employees. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to start and finish your workday at the same time as every other business in your area to be successful. You still have the freedom to choose whatever schedule works best for your company. Just make sure that whatever you choose - you stick to it.
Think that pushing yourself to burn the midnight oil will make you a more successful person? The truth is, it doesn't work that way. In fact, working too much can seriously damage your health, making you exhausted, unable to concentrate, and generally less productive.
When you don't have any time to yourself, and you're constantly running to keep up with your hectic calendar, your sleep suffers. Poor sleep means that your body and mind can't function at their best. You could struggle to concentrate and even suffer from feelings of anxiety and depression.
If the bad sleep wasn't enough, overworking could also mean that you don't eat right either. If you don't stop the clock until it's already 10 pm at night, the chances are you won't have time to go home and cook a nice healthy meal. Instead, you could end up living off fast food and takeaway - increasing your chances of high cholesterol, obesity, and even diabetes.
As strange as it sounds, forcing yourself to finish on time and sit down for a cup of freshly-brewed coffee and a good meal every day could be the difference between burning yourself out and living a happy life. Not only does coffee help to pack you full of the antioxidants that you might be missing out on by missing meals but pushing yourself to finish on time each day also means that you get into the habit of letting your mind and body rest and recuperate. Remember, you're not a machine.
Related: How to Solve for Chronic Unhappiness: The Four C's
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