How to get ahead without working late every night

  1. Output, not input Focus on delivery, not on hours spent sitting at your desk or elsewhere. What will define success today, this week or this year? Be clear about what those goals are and then work to achieve them.
  2. Mark your progress Make a list of what you need to do in a certain time period and review it at the end of the day to identify what you've accomplished or not. Do you need to work more hours today to get close to that, or can some things be done tomorrow?  It also helps to note down two or three things every day that you can say you've completed if anyone asks.
  3. Be yourself Avoid trying to be somebody else or looking at how another person is doing their job, because it won't be the same as yours. If you can do your role and fulfil your priorities within the normal working hours each week, why would you try to fit in with the crowd?
  4. Don't dilly-dally If you work somewhere with a culture of long hours, and you're trying to work normal ones, focus on your job when you're there, to the exclusion of everything else. People will note your commitment and productivity, and won't have any excuse for calling you a slacker.
  5. Agree on a contract with your boss Whether you write out a formal document or make a friendly adult-to-adult agreement, you should decide what is expected of you from the outset, and then stick to it. That may not be easy at first, especially if people comment, but by being consistent and meeting requirements, after a while the gossip will subside and you'll be seen as a role model. Then, if your boss still constantly asks you to stay late, remind them of the contract you made at the start.
  6. Enough already Eventually, if there's no way forward and the push for long hours continues to rely on long hours over productivity, perhaps this is not the place or the role for you.

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