Are you used to coming home from work after everyone else has gone to bed? Do you set yourself up at the kitchen table with stacks of files and your laptop, ignoring your family while you try to meet a deadline?

No one likes to feel that they live to work, and no one feels good about neglecting their family. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are a few simple ways that you can spend more time at home with your loved ones, enjoying yourself, instead of glued to your computer screen pounding out those final emails.


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You may have a legitimate reason for staying at the office late. However, a lot of this extra time can be avoided if your work is prioritized, starting at the beginning of the week.

Set a schedule for yourself, and work on the most urgent tasks first. There’s no reason to blow most of your working day on something unimportant when you have a massive presentation due in a couple of days.

You’d be amazed at how much prioritizing your tasks will cut out excessive time at work.

Take a Shorter Lunch Break

The one-hour lunch break is normally the highlight of every employee’s day. You get to turn your brain off for a minute and enjoy the company of your coworkers, call home, or take some time to yourself.

However, if you cut your lunch break in half, that’s half an hour more you get to be at home. Would you rather be spending quality time with your sandwich or with your children?

Go in Earlier Instead of Staying Later

Most of time spent together is in the evenings, after your spouse and kids are home from work and school. The mornings, however, are hectic. Everyone is running around showering, getting dressed, and inhaling breakfast before they’re out the door to get to work or school on time.

Getting to the office early instead of staying late has a few benefits. First, you’ll be one of the first there, which means you’ll face fewer distractions. If you start early you can finish early, which will give you the chance to be with your family when they’re winding down the day, instead of creeping in when they’re asleep.

Avoid Procrastination and Focus

In 2008, conducted a study related to work practices, and found that 36% of workers waste at least two hours a day at work. Getting up five times a day to get coffee, talking to coworkers about non-work related matters, and reading personal emails are all distractions that keep us from getting work done.

There might be a big project to finish or a phone call to make that isn’t very appealing, so you put it off. You waste your work day instead of working, so you end up spending more hours trying to cram all the work in you’ve been avoiding before it gets too late.

A big part of working less is biting the bullet and trudging through the work you would rather put off until tomorrow.

Check E-mail Twice a Day

Is it really necessary to keep your inbox open and check it obsessively? In reality, there are very few jobs in which this is required. If you can, reduce the reading of emails to twice a day.

You’d be amazed at how much more productive you can be if you aren’t fielding the office chain letters that come in every five minutes.

Spending less time at work and more time with your family will make everyone happier.

(photo source)


J. Stephenson is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on the subject of earning your High School Diploma at Home for the Guide to Career Education.


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. This made me laugh out loud, literally! I’m just now getting home (@ 7:30) & it’s the earliest I’ve been home in a couple of weeks.
    I read all of these wonderful tips & just laughed. I had to in order to not cry. I work in Ecommerce & there’s no way I can check my email 2x a day. I have, however, cut out checking personal emails. And yeah, I waste time…discussing what has to be done, what should be done, & then redoing it bc our product manager had a whim. And I no longer take a lunch. So that does help.

    *sigh* I know I’m just bitter. I hope that these tips help someone else! Checking emails & shorter lunches will help with earlier departure from work, but so would a management team that says no 😉

    1. I feel you, Ellyn! I recently left a job that sounds a lot like yours because it just got to be really old working all the time. I still have a professional gig that requires extra hours, but it’s much more reasonable.

      I hope that you can start transitioning toward a position that is more sustainable and brings you more happiness! 🙂

  2. Dustin,

    I coach couples on time management principles and these are some great ideas. We become so addicted to technology that we allow it to take over our lives. Yes, technology is fantastic but it should be left off on dates, and at home. Couples need to spend more time “Engaged” in conversation with each other and leave the love of their technology alone.

    Good job on the site.

    Happy Voyage,

    Travis Parry
    Thriving Marriage

  3. Just being at home isn’t enough. I work at home, and sometimes it takes all day and some of the night to get everything done. It takes a real effort when there is so much to do to keep a family fed, but it is really important to make sure you set aside time for having fun with the family.

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