After a few years with quite some overtime, I decided to get rid of my 'staying late' habit. That was never that excessive, but the hours add up. While staying late and doing overtime is a bit of a norm in the company, it's not my biggest problem so far. For some reason, I find it hard to leave early when my coworkers are still working. Here's the things I did recently to change my working habits:
- Be early - I'm usually the first in my team by one or two hours
- Set an alarm half an hour before it's time to go, so I have time to finish my stuff with some structure and set up my todos for the next day
- I try to cultivate the mental image that working overtime that doesnt get paid anyway makes about as much sense as stapling 50€ bills to the office walls, as a present for the company
- Talk, when the subject fits, to the coworkers I deal with most often about my times and that I want to spend some time with my kids in the evening - so that when I have to ask them to accomodate my schedule, they allready know why
I found that I'm actually more productive, as the thought of leaving early helps me to focus on the tasks at hand. So far I had no problems with my boss, I'll face that when it comes.
However. I know, intellectually, that I'm not doing myself a favor with staying late, and only a small one to the company. But still, I feel strange powering down my compiuter when my coworkers are still in the midst of their tasks. I also feel like its an aggressive act of me, that I have to explain, to leave early, when in fact I also started early. Apparantly I'm not very assertive. I think if I manage to keep up the habits above for a few months, this will be my new normal and easier to maintain. But is there anything that can help me to change my mindset away from presentism in the meantime?