What would you do with an hour more free time after work?

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What would you do with an hour more free time after work?

Today (November 21) is national Go Home On Time Day, which means you've a little bit more of an excuse than normal to get out the door at a reasonable hour.

Yes, you read that correctly, today (November 21) is national Go Home On Time Day.

Backed by The Australia Institute and beyondblue, the idea is to make people think about unpaid overtime and irregular working hours, and the effect they have on workers and their families.
 
If you're self-employed or a business owner (and that's pretty much the same thing), you've probably become used to working excessive hours on the grounds that if you don't get the job done nobody else will, or because you're struggling to bring in the revenue that you or your business need to get by.
 
Even though you're well motivated, that doesn't protect you from the stresses and strains imposed by a poor work/life balance.
 
So give some thought to knocking off at a sensible time today, and do something worthwhile with the hour or three that you save: visit the gym or swim some laps, go for a walk with your partner, take the kids to the park, phone your parents, catch up with a friend that you haven't seen for months (they might be finishing on time too!), cook a proper meal (especially if someone else usually does that for you), go to the movies - anything that you struggle to find time to do yet helps provide meaning to your life.
 
Obviously you shouldn't neglect your business, but a little thought and reflection may reveal tasks that don't really deserve your attention, or workday habits that waste significant amounts of time.
 
One that's often cited is being immediately alerted to every email that arrives. If you have a busy inbox, those frequent interruptions reduce the amount of work you can complete during normal hours.

Some people say you'll be more productive if you avoid checking your email first thing in the morning. That tip assumes you're unlikely to have received urgent messages from customers overnight, so apply it with care.
 
While there's a lot to be said for flexible working hours, don't fall into the trap of going home at a reasonable time today and then shutting yourself off behind a notebook or tablet for a few hours.
 
Excessive hours are excessive hours, however you choose to break them up.
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