***Set a Goal – Know when you are leaving. If you have a set time that you are working towards, you can adjust your work to meet that goal.
***Set Hard Boundaries – When things start running over, don’t let them. Excuse yourself from that meeting on time. End that discussion when appropriate. Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) is known for setting a hard-line that she leaves work at 5:30PM to get home with her kids. (Recommended reading: Sheryl’s book Lean In.)
***Set Expectations – Advance expectations can work magic. If others know that you need to leave on time, they are more likely to respect your time. This could meaning telling your team or boss in advance, that you need to depart at a certain time that day.
***Make An Appointment (With Yourself) – Leaving at the end of the day can be difficult, even from an etiquette standpoint. However, if you have an appointment, people tend to be understanding. You don’t have to say that it is a dinner with your significant other.
***Don’t Schedule Meetings at the End of the Day – Set aside the end of your day for admin, clean-up, and wrap-up. These are activities that you control. Meetings tend to run over. Don’t let meetings be the last thing on your daily calendar.
***Don’t Go Out For lunch – While fun, going out for lunch with the gang ends up punching a huge hole in your day. Don’t let the second half of your workday get derailed by an unexpected long lunch. Bring your lunch and if you finish early you can relax or get ahead on your afternoon.
***Start Early – Want to leave early? Try getting to work early. By arriving before others, you can get work done and be ahead of your todo list.
***Get your Deadlines Done Early – Attack those have-to-do tasks early. The ones that you must get done before leaving work. This will prevent you from getting stuck when you run out of time at the end of the day.