The line between on the clock and off the clock has been blurred beyond recognition. Today's workforce is finding it increasingly difficult to stop working. Ever. We work at home in the evening, in the morning before work hours begin, and even, sadly, on vacation. I've allocated myself 7 hours during the day for work and, to be completely honest, I struggle to stop working even then. When I lay my head down in the evening, I'm exhausted from a day full of work and chasing Benedict.
We need to develop a hard stop in the evening. We know where the starting line is in the morning, but we've lost the finish line in the evening. Work will expand to the time that you give it, and there will always be more things for you to do. By initiating a time that's a hard stop in the evening, you know where the finish line is. Once you cross it, you're done until the next day. It really is that simple and it really is completely necessary.
Our work needs boundaries. We were made to work, and work is a very good thing- when it doesn't take more than its share of your time. Work provides for your family, helps you grow as a person, contributes to your sense of dignity, and helps your customers to live a better life. Yet, when work creeps into off time and family time, it not only burns you out, it robs your family of the time that they're due.
A hard stop in the evening can make you more productive. If you know that you stop working at 5:30pm and that's all the time that you have, you'll naturally stay more focused. There isn't any bonus time, there aren't any more minutes after 5:30pm. Here's what you have to work with, now go get it done. You'll surf less, daydream less, and you'll also skip low importance tasks that might have suckered you in before. It's a productivity tip that's proven to work.
Your life needs space. You need time to focus on the other aspects of your life so that you'll remain a balanced, healthy person. Plus, working too much will lead you to hate a job that you might truly love. Burnout gets the best of far too many people, and the quickest way to get there is by working endlessly.
Find a hard stop time in the evening when you know you can achieve it 80% of the time. If you have a job with a lot of night meetings, you need to be creative. More likely than not, you can find that hard break. Commit to it and then do it! Once you hit that hard stop, leave everything for the morning. Your wife will be glad you did.