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


  1. HA HA! You have sent me emails at midnight and every other time so you still do it! But I think you do more work than anyone I know, so I don’t know how you do it all anyway.

    I know two people who do that but not as much as you. One of them makes a big deal about how many hours she works, the other one is like you and always in a good mood and doesn’t act like she minds at all. I leave on time, most of the time, but your friend Mike gets here early and stays late, so I’ll send him this. Happy Labor Day! P.

    Comment by P.A.H. | August 31, 2008

  2. Tina says:
    Thanks Phyllis! I DID say I have trouble doing it! When I was in grade school I used to hang around the classroom until the teacher left. It was fun to help Ms. Carpenter put things away, and I’d find Weekly Readers and read them until she would make me leave so she could lock up. I guess I have always liked to hang around work! I hope your Labor Day is not too laborious! T.

    Comment by TLR | August 31, 2008

  3. Very true, very true. But as you know, I’m retired but I work at home,working all the live-long day. I don’t know if I’m knocking off too soon or staying too late.

    Comment by RNA | September 4, 2008

  4. Tina says,
    Thanks for your comment, Pastor Bulldog. I think it’s safe to say that the 18 hours a day you work qualifies as too much, and staying too late. Turn off the computer and go for a walk. 🙂 Tina

    Comment by TLR | September 5, 2008

  5. I leave work exactly at 5 p.m. and don’t step in the door until 8:30 a.m. I do it because I think it sends a bad message to employees if the boss is so downtrodden he can’t have a life. Also, when I was thinking about taking the job I told my wife to be prepared for me to be working a lot of hours and she supported that, but I decided she deserved better than that and so did I.

    So, I don’t let up while I’m at work, but I don’t let myself get involved with anything that is more than I should be involved with. That was my biggest problem before.

    At 4 p.m. I spend about a half hour walking through the area talking with people if they’re not busy and by 4:45 I have things closed down. I don’t leave before 5, but I’m gone by 5:01. I have to admit, I’m also lucky to have a great staff of people who help me keep on top off things all day.

    Good article. You hit on a big problem for most managers. S.J.

    Comment by Stormin' | September 5, 2008

  6. Tina says:
    WOW! I’m impressed Stormin’! (And since I know who you are, I’m doubly impressed, because you are thought of as a very effective manager!)

    I think the job one has makes all the difference, as well as the number of extra things to do. I have friends who have work, but also committees, special projects and other things that take up a full work day anyway. Or, they do training and I can vouch for the fact that anyone who does training can’t get prep work done and also do regular work.

    The solution in those cases is to cut back on the extras. But oh my is that hard to do for some of us! But, in your case, you seem to do it all. So, I’m going to come visit you and see how you do it! Thanks for your comment! Tina

    Comment by TLR | September 5, 2008

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