Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Go Home!

“Physician, heal thyself.”

This post certainly comes under the heading of “do as I suggest, not necessarily as I do.” But, how can we justify not trying to help others avoid the mistakes we have made? In this case, I feel like Jacob Marley telling Scrooge, “It’s too late for me, but you can save yourself!”

(Incidentally, in the New Testament of the Bible, in the book of Luke, Jesus said he expected to be told the proverb, “Physician, heal thyself.” That says to me that people have probably always given advice they do not apply to themselves. Since Luke was a physician, I suppose he picked up on that before anyone else would!)

So, I’m not being hypocritical when I advise you, ask you, plead with you, and, if it will help, command you, to start leaving work on time.

Why do you stay at work after quitting time? If you stay more than a very few minutes after quitting time, give careful consideration about why you do it.

*If you do it because you have so many things left to do, challenge yourself–order yourself–to delegate some of it, stop doing some of it, or discuss it with your manager and see what might be eliminated or reduced to allow you to leave on time. Do not even let yourself think that it is impossible. Make the assumption that it is possible–especially since the person before you and the one following you will probably manage to go home on time!

*If you do it because you are a poor time manager during your work day, learn better skills, and discipline yourself to stick with them. As long as you let yourself think you can tack a couple of hours onto the end of your work day, you will dally when you should be doing.

*If you do it to impress people, you can stop now. If employees or others respect and like you, they will continue to do so if you go home on time. If they do not respect and like you, they will think you are a dope for having to work so late. (As someone once said about me, “I don’t see what’s so great about her taking ten hours to do a four hour job.”) (Ouch!)

*If you do it because you feel fearful or guilty about leaving on time, ask someone you trust if they would think less of you. Ask an employee if it makes his or her work easier when you stay late. Or, ask your boss if he or she will be angry if you are as punctual about going home as you are about coming to work. You know what the answers will be.  

*If you stay late to socialize with others, that might be semi-acceptable. But, really, you all need to go home.  If you decide it is fun to stay later to chat, at least turn off the computer and be ready to walk out the door the minute you have finished your after-work social time.

How to break the staying late habit: (I have had to glean this information from others, since I was never very good at it myself!)

1. Make a commitment to do it. You say you are good at self-management–prove it.

2. Get ready for tomorrow an hour earlier. Most people who stay late do not even start thinking about leaving until leaving time. Be ready to go by getting things ready for the next day–when you probably will  be there two hours early.

3. Make the thought of going home enjoyable. Have something in a crockpot; have a ritual of sitting on the patio with a glass of iced tea; go home to a fairly clean house; ask your family to help you by not confronting you with chaos every evening; look forward to hugging your spouse and children…or your dog or cat. (Actually, if you get a dog, you will have to get home on time to let it out, but that seems to be a high price to pay!)

4. Like any other habit you must break or make, stick with your plan for at least a month, until it becomes a firm habit. Remember your commitment. If you told an employee to be at work on time, you would expect him or her to find a way to make it happen. In this case, you are telling yourself to go home on time. Find a way to make it happen!

If you enjoy working, you have received a great blessing. Thomas Carlylse said, “Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.” It is an equally great blessing to be competent enough and confldent enough, to go home when it is time to go home. 

OK. I’m outta here!


August 31st, 2008 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Supervision and Management | 6 comments