It isn’t just your job: According to the UN’s International Labor Organization, Americans log in longer hours than any other workers in the industrial world. “Companies would take 24 hours a day if they could,” says Laura Stack, author of Leave the Office Earlier. Some tricks to reclaim your life:
1. Nix last-minute interruptions Close your door ten minutes before quitting, so co-workers with “emergencies” won’t drop by. Cubicle-bound? Turn on voice mail and put your bag and coat in a visible spot.
2. Map out tomorrow Before you leave, prioritize the next day. Plan important tasks for morning so you won’t buy yourself a late night.
3. Schedule personal time Block out “appointments” with your family, your gym or yourself. If someone asks to meet at six o’clock, you can honestly say you’re booked.
4. Minimize meeting time If only part of a meeting is relevant to your project, arrange to go first. Say you have another appointment you couldn’t reschedule or a pressing deadline (even if it’s just getting home on time).