How To Be Twice As Productive

“Most of the methods for measuring the lapse of time have, I believe, been the contrivance of monks and religious recluses, who, finding time hang heavy on their hands, were at some pains to see how they got rid of it.” – William Hazlitt (“On a Sundial,” Sketches and Essays, 1839)

As an ambitious, hard working ETR, you sometimes find it impossible to leave work and get home when you want to. If getting home late has become a habit — and is putting a strain on your personal life — you may be interested in the following four suggestions.

1. This first recommendation comes from yours truly: Do the most important jobs first. By executing your tasks in order of their ultimate importance (see Message #602,  “Do One Significant Thing Every Day”), you will end up, at the end of the day, with only less-important tasks to complete. It’s much easier to put off less-important tasks than critical ones. Less guilt. Less reason. Less worry.

The next three suggestions are taken, with creative adaptations, from a list that came from a book by Paula Peisner-Coxe titled “Finding Time: Breathing Space for Women Who Do Too Much.”

2. On your calendar, every day, make an appointment with yourself to “close up shop” 30 minutes before you want to leave. When that time comes, stop doing whatever you are doing and begin clearing your desk, packing your bag, and checking off your daily task list.

3. Fifteen minutes before you leave, stop taking phone calls and close down your computer. Start making the next day’s task list.

4. Five minutes prior to leaving, get up from your chair and look around the office. Did you forget anything? Do you have everything you need? If all is well, leave a few minutes early.

I tried this yesterday, and it worked like a charm!

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]