It’s 5:00 sometime

You kick the soccer ball down your office hallway to your son positioned near the elevators, who responds with a solid return into the row of file cabinets that shake in a loud clatter of metal-on-metal.   You lean into the boardroom for an angry exchange with your daughter who wants to road trip with a heavily tattooed leather aficionado, only to be interrupted by the succinct DING of the microwave from the break room. Dinner must be ready.

(Tina Fey makes it look easy)
(Tina Fey makes it look easy)

This is the reality for so many of us, work and home life squished together in a blur of one long, exhausting day that goes endlessly on in every direction.  Our brains rarely get to rest, instead flipping from personal to professional tasks like a TV remote.  Without an off switch, the chatter in our heads continues long after we attempt anything resembling sleep and is there, babbling about to-do lists, when we get up in the morning.

We think this is productive, this 24 hour multi-tasking dance of death, but in fact all this ensures is that we are forever halfway out of every moment, and never fully invested in the task at hand. Learning to leave work at the office can go a long way towards enhancing your job performance and expanding your life, and a great way to start is to designate an END of the day.

Here’s 7 reasons why:

1. Stress – My GOD the stress of the never-ending day. Having a hard out time allows you to set your pace and organize your time. If the 100-yard dash was endless the track would be strewn with dead bodies.  Give yourself the gift of prep time, full-court press and then a wrap up.

2. Priorities – When everything is a top priority you are making a mockery of the whole priority concept. Knowing you are walking out of the office at a designated time forces you to choose only the most pressing things for today and leave others for tomorrow.

3. Energy – The knowledge that the day is finite keeps you energized, you can tackle today’s issues with clarity and force because you don’t have to keep the reserves simmering indefinitely.

4. Perspective – Turning away from work to give the other things in your life your full attention is like turning over the pillow to the cool side. Ah, the cool side of the pillow, as underrated as noticing how beautiful your children look running around your backyard or smelling the crisp, Fall air.  Deep attention brings appreciation, which brings gratitude, which brings contentment and more cool pillows to be grateful for.

5. Imagination – Too much logic and tedious paperwork is the enemy of creativity, which is unfortunate because the best ideas come out of creative thinking. Pull your mind out of the office and let it play, the results may astound you.

6. Interests – Work might consume you, but unless your job is being shot from a cannon, it’s a boring topic of conversation. Develop other aspects of your life beyond work and you will be interesting to clients and a fascinating contribution to any office or production team. Plus, it never hurts to share a hobby with your boss.

7. Organization –  Tackling pressing issues and deciding what comes tomorrow helps to outline your thoughts and create a picture for the future. When tomorrow comes you will know what’s ahead and can hit the ground running, but there’s no need to think about it until then. Isn’t that great?

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