Three Essential Boundaries When Working Those Late Hours

Bigstock Images

Bigstock Images

Today, it’s fairly common for people to work extra hours outside the typical work week. While none of us just aspire to work nonstop, there are occasions where additional time is required on a particular project or looming deadline. The sad truth about working after hours is that people don’t typically work as efficiently as planned.

The habit of putting in extra work hours and still not getting much done robs people of precious time with their personal relationships and individual goals. You may be asking yourself, what would it take for me to make my efforts more productive?

Be encouraged because just a few simple parameters will allow you to use your additional work time more strategically, resulting in greater efficiency. I call these boundaries the “Three T’s.”


When putting in extra hours, set a specific amount of time that you plan to work. In other words, give yourself a cutoff time. By doing this you’ll create your own sense of urgency to get a few things done rather than simply working until you are tired or worn out.


Select a specific task to tackle when working additional hours. Don’t get caught up working on “a little this or that.” You may find that you leave that evening, realizing that you didn’t accomplish anything. The goal here is to finish a task rather than just work on something. Always try to use the time purposefully so that what you work on gets finished rather than being tacked onto the following day’s to-do-list again. Task completion is essential to making those extra hours both profitable and beneficial.


Table the technology. I know it’s hard to put it down but stick with me. When putting in extra hours, it’s easy to let something as simple as responding to new emails get you sidetracked. You may feel like you have a few spare moments, but technology will often just derail your focus. Get it out your way so that it won’t disrupt your time and the task at hand.

“The Three T’s” will allow you to set boundaries for the work you tackle after hours. Setting limitations with your time, tasks, and technology will be enormously helpful with your workload and beneficial for your own personal renewal and important relationships. If you plan to put in some additional time this week, then maximize those hours by setting a few boundaries and enjoy the greater productivity that follows.

Jones LoflinComment