Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, Organized Executive, and Success.

Freeing Up Your Work Week

The onslaught of information and communication overload often causes many career professionals to have too many things to accomplish in one work day, forcing them to work over forty hours a week.

To avoid chasing the clock forever, an individual must leave work on time by making a dynamic bargain with himself. When you’ve made the conscious decision to leave on time on Tuesday, and have struck the dynamic bargain with yourself, the small stuff magically drops off. You focus on bigger, more crucial tasks or responsibilities. On the first Tuesday, and certainly by the second or third, you begin to benefit from a system of self-reinforcement, because the rewards you enjoy (leaving the office on time, actually having an evening free of work-related thoughts) are so enticing that you structure your work day to achieve this reward.

When you add Thursdays, then Mondays, and then Wednesdays to the process, you begin to reclaim your entire work week. A marvelous cycle is initiated. You actually:
  • leave the work place with zest,
  • have energy to pursue your life outside of the office,
  • sleep better,
  • arrive at work more rested, and
  • are far more productive.

Leaving On Time Whenever You Want

How does it all start? Declare that the following Tuesday will be an eight or nine hour workday–nothing more. Leave on time that day feeling good about what you’ve accomplished. That’s it–no grandiose plan, no long term commitment, no radical change, and hardly any pain.

Recall how long you’ve been in your profession, and that you will be for a lengthy run. On no particular day, and at no particular hour, are you rooted to your desk. You’re a professional. You’ve gotten the job done previously, and you’ll get it done now. Feel free to go!

During the day you’ve decided you’re going to leave on time, if it becomes obvious that you have more to do than you can get done that day (and when won’t that happen?), etch out exactly what you’re going to begin the next morning. This will reduce and ultimately eliminate any anxiety or guilt. After all, you have a life, don’t you?

Let everyone in your office know that you’re leaving at five. Announce to people, “I’ve got to be out of here at five today.” No one will resent you for leaving on time. People tend to support one another’s goal when that goal has been announced (Editorial note: This is covered extensively inThe Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing Your Time. For more information, visit

In summary, here’s what you can do on that first Tuesday, or any other day, to leave on time you when choose to:
  1. Announce to everyone that you have a personal commitment at 5:30 that evening. If you have a child, you could say that your child is in need of important parental assistance. Schedule something for 5:30.
  2. Mark on your calendar that you’ll be leaving at five.
  3. Get a good night’s rest the night before.
  4. Eat a light lunch.
  5. Strike a dynamic bargain with yourself at the start of the day, in late morning, in early afternoon, and in late afternoon.
  6. Regard any intrusion or upset as merely part of the workday.
  7. After striking the dynamic bargain with yourself, don’t be tempted to add on more items at the last minute.
  8. Envision how you’ll feel when you leave right at closing time (this is no reason for you to be staring at the clock for the last 45 minutes).
  9. Late in the afternoon, ask a co-worker to walk you out at closing time.
While it may seem like there’s too much involved to ensure that you leave the work place on time, if you only engage in two or three of the steps above, you’ll still find the reinforcement you need. This is intentionally simple: the more you have to do and remember, the less you’ll do and the less you’ll remember. Your only assignment: to leave work on time.

Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," is a preeminent time management authority, has written 65 mainstream books, and is an electrifying professional speaker, making 886 presentations to clients such as Lockheed Martin, Eckerd, Kaiser Permanente, IBM, American Express, Lufthansa, Swissotel, Re/Max, USAA, Worthington Steel, and the World Bank. Jeff is Executive Director of the Breathing Space Institute and the author of books such as:
  • Simpler Living (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • Dial It Down--Live it Up (Sourcebooks)
  • The 60 Second Innovator (Adams Media)
  • Breathing Space (CreateSpace)
  • Accomplishing Your Goals (Smart Guide Publications)
Jeff is the premier thought leader on work-life balance issues and has been widely quoted in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, USA Today, Businessweek, Forbes, and Fortune. Cited by Sharing Ideas Magazine as a "Consummate Speaker," Jeff believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his website

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