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Getting Out of Work on Time

Something I seem to struggle with is the ability to clock out at 5:30. No matter how hard I try more often than not 5:30 comes and goes just like 6:30 and sometimes even 9:30.

I know I am not alone when I say public relations is not a 9-5 job. However, overtime has actually been linked to a 60% higher risk of heart problems. So maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing to figure out how to get out with enough time to exercise.

Here are a few things I am going to start/already am doing with some serious effort:

  1. Doing my most important task first. One of the things I love about PR is that your day can change in the blink of an eye. But from now on, the night before I am going to decide the most important project for the next day. This will save time spent mulling over my to-do list and may boost my productivity for the rest of the day because I will feel accomplished.
  2. Prepare for meetings. A co-worker (you know who you are if you actually read the post instead of just the headline) sets reminders on her calendar to prepare for meetings. Even though I create agendas and read materials beforehand its time that I start thinking about what I am going to say and contribute so I am not wasting my client or team’s time.
  3. Avoiding Chatty Kathy. I like the people I work with, a lot. We tell fun stories and have inside jokes because when you are with people for 40+ hours a week, you have to find something to do other than work. But, I have learned that a lot of my day goes to those laugh breaks we take. In an effort to be more productive I now set times where my co-worker (same person here) and I “go dark.” Both of us get more work done quicker and its really working out great.
  4. Stay organized. Somewhere between high school and three years of working I lost my organization skills. My desk and filing system make me nauseous.  I need to start keeping “hot” folders—the things I reference most on my desk. Also I should try to have one spiral notebook per client…it’s amazing how easy it is to refer back to notes when you know exactly where it is.
  5. Figuring out where my time is going. (Right now, it’s looking for apartments UGH NYC apartment hunting is so stressful) In a perfect world doctor’s offices would open at 7:00 and close at midnight. Sometimes you just have to make those personal calls to the Credit Card Company and what not. I found that if I do it all at once, instead of sporadically I am not distracting myself over and over again. For example, my doctor’s office opens at 9:00 I use the time from 9:00-9:30 to do what I need to do and then I am done. It worked out really nicely the other day.
  6. Planning to leave early. Don’t laugh. Really stop it. Here’s the thing, when you have a deadline, you’re less likely to waste time. I am not saying I should be leaving at 4:30. But setting a goal to leave 30 minutes sooner than I do now, could potentially give me something to strive to.
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