BUSINESS

9 Little Tricks To Keep From Staying Late At The Office

Welcome to Don't Ruin Your Life With Overwork 101.

This story is part of our monthlong “Work Well” initiative, which focuses on thriving in the workplace. You can find more stories from this project here.

Nothing makes a week drag on quite like staying late at the office. Working into the wee hours totally disrupts work-life balance, causes you to miss out on time with loved ones, and more often than not, leads you to lose precious hours of sleep. There are times when it simply can't be avoided, but often it's just a bad habit that's hard to break. 

It doesn't have to be such a struggle. You don't always have to wait to leave the office until it's dark outside, nor should you feel guilty about leaving right on time or even if you slip out early every once in a while. To help ensure you're balancing your work life and your personal life, we've come up with nine tips to help you leave your cubicle at a reasonable hour. 

1. Sign up and pay for a workout class after work. That way, there will be more of an incentive to get out earlier. 

2. If hitting the gym isn't your thing, make a standing dinner date with a friend. If you get stuck at the office, it will mean having to bail on a someone, which is even more motivation to finish up and get out.

3. It's easy to lose track of time when you're working away at your desk, but if you set an alarm to go off at the time you hope to leave the office, you'll have a gentle reminder that it's time to go home. 

4. Catching up on e-mail is a big reason people stay late. Never schedule meetings during the last half hour of your day, so you can use this time to get through your inbox and get out. 

5. If you have to schedule a meeting at the end of the day, make it an offsite meeting. That way, when you're finished, you'll be more inclined to go home instead of back to the office.  

6. Carpool with a coworker, so you both leave at an agreed upon time. 

7. If you're really trying to get something done in order to leave at the end of the day, put on a pair of headphones so people will be less likely to interrupt you.   

8. Enforce deadlines. If your co-workers are handing in projects late, it will likely cause you to work late, too. 

9. Leave something in your slow cooker that will overcook if you don't get home in time. (But of course, be responsible about it!) 

The Huffington Post’s “Work Well” series is also part of our "What's Working" solutions-oriented journalism initiative.

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