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Face Time: When You Can*t Stay Past 5:00 - Articles Surfing

*Now what should I do?* a reader laments. *I*ve instituted many of yourproductivity techniques, and now I*m getting out of the office on time. Iarrive before my boss does in the morning, so she doesn*t see how hard Iwork when I start my day. Now that I*m leaving by 5:00, she thinks I*mslacking. But I*m actually getting more work done than ever before!*

Though some companies understand the realities of time constraints due today care, most are still measuring employees the old-fashioned way*by theclock. The truth is the more indispensable you are and the more you candistinguish yourself, the more likely it is that you can gain someflexibility. Here are some ideas on how you can draw attention to the workyou do in the morning hours:

1. Speak up. If you have a conflict that forces you to leave earlier thanmost people each day, talk to your supervisor. Have an open conversation,explaining how important it is for you to be productive and do a good job,and why you must leave on time each day. Point out that you*re the first oneto arrive each day and how much you get done without people interruptingyou. One hour of uninterrupted work can equate to three hours withintermittent interruptions.

2. Use email as proof of performance. Send an email to your boss about abusiness issue as soon as you arrive at the office. The time displayed onthe message is proof you were working early. Similarly, email will alsodocument the late night or evening hours you worked yesterday from home.

3. Think inside the box. Drop completed work in her in-box by 8:00 a.m.with a message and the time written on a sticky note.

4. Just say Joe. Start the office coffee pot before others show up. Theyslyly ask your boss if she enjoyed the special Kona coffee you brewed. Afterall, you are the first one in to the office each day, so you have to get theJoe going.

5. Track your time. Use a time log consistently, so you can prove howmuch you*re getting done in the early-morning hours. Track youraccomplishments as you go, so that you have good material for yourperformance review.

6. Become indispensable. Just because someone works longer hours than youdoesn*t mean that person is more productive. The truth is the moreindispensable you are, the more you can distinguish yourself, and the morelikely it is you can gain some flexibility and still move ahead.

7. Use metrics. Devise a way with your boss to measure your results andvalue, not simply the number of hours you are at your desk. Explain how youoften work in the evenings at home after the kids are in bed, using yourInternet connection to check and respond to email. When you consistentlyaccomplish your performance objectives, your boss will care less about whenand how you get your work done.

8. Develop a reputation. Be the one people can always count on. No matterwhat, leaving on time does not affect your ability to get your work done, ontime, every time.

9. Stay visible. Volunteer for special committees, especially thoseinvolving other departments. Make it a point to talk about the value you addto the committees you*re on, and the projects you*re doing. Soon, peoplewill look to you when new projects come down the pike.

10. Focus on outcome. Write out a list of the top ten responsibilitiesyou have and rank them in priority order. Have your boss do the same.Compare the two lists. Are you working on activities and tasks that aren*tvalued by your boss? Are you spending too much time on tasks that don*t movethe company's main agenda forward? If something has to drop off your plate,make sure it's something less important. Once you*re completely focused onoutcomes, face time is less important.

11. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Politely let chatty co-workers knowthat you have a limited time to work today, since you must get out on time.Show your manager how committed you are to your job by truly working hardall day and not engaging in excessive socializing. When you demonstrate thatkind of clear-cut dedication to getting the job done, co-workers are lesslikely to questions your productivity.

12. Use technology to your advantage. Clearly communicate, *I leave at5:00 p.m. every day to go pick up my child from daycare. However, that doesn*t mean I*m out of touch. If you need me, my cell phone is on until 6:00 oryou can leave me a voicemail or email. Be willing to do what it takes tostay on top of business that is conducted after you leave the office.

In the long run, the workplace will inevitably move away from the conceptof face time to a more flexible, results-oriented workplace. Until then, tryone of the tips above to beat the clock-watchers.Make it a productive day! *

Submitted by:

Laura M. Stack, MBA, CSP

"Laura M. Stack, MBA, CSP, is "The Productivity Pro"* and the author of Leave the Office Earlier. She presents keynotes and seminars on time management, information overload, and personal productivity. Contact her at 303-471-7401 or Laura@TheProductivityPro.com."

TheProductivityPro.com



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