How To Leave The Office At 5pm, Without Feeling Guilty About It

Dec 01, 2017 1 Min Read

Would you like to leave the office at 5pm to make it home for dinner?

Would you like to do it without feeling guilty?


Early in my career I was constantly overworked and overwhelmed.

As the founder and president of a fast growing startup, I worked long days, slept too little, and literally jogged down the office corridors as I found myself permanently needing to rush from one meeting to the next.

Even when I was at home, my mind was still at work.

Going through the motions of date night, stacking blocks with my daughter, but thinking the whole time about the million dollar pitch I still had to work on.

My life changed when I read High Output Management, by then Intel CEO, Andy Grove.

In the book, he describes how he always arrives to work by eight in the morning, but never leaves later than six, and he never brought work home with him.

The CEO of a major tech company clocks out at 6pm every day? How is that possible?

Later I would read about other highly successful people:

  • Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, leaves work at 5.30pm every day so she can have dinner with her children at 6pm.
  • Doug Conant, as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, made the time to hand-write 20 thank you notes each day.
  • President George W. Bush held an annual reading contest with his deputy chief of staff Karl Rove; although he lost the bet, President Bush read 95 books that year.

You just know the President of the United States of America has a million things to do.

At the end of each day, there are more foreign leaders to call and influence, more CIA briefings to read, more campaign contributors to appease, more veterans to visit, more voters to rally, more, more, more. And yet, President Bush “found” time to read 95 books in one year.

In his book, Grove described a fundamental time management truth: “My day ends when I’m tired and ready to go home, not when I’m done. I am never done. There is always more to be done, more that should be done, always more than can be done.

That simple realisation – there will always be more to do – hit me like a ton of bricks.

The ultimate secret: There will always be more to do; I will never be done.

Highly successful people don’t just burn hour after hour trying to cross more items off their to-do list. Instead, they think through their priorities, schedule time for each, and then enough is enough.

Kevin is the New York Times best-selling author, keynote speaker, and leadership expert. He is the founder of The Kruse Group. To engage with him, e-mail us at

Reposted with permission.

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