Leaving at Five

Setting boundaries and getting acquainted with the new ‘you’.

Mentor Mums
2 min readSep 27, 2022
Woman working late at a computer screen

The meeting’s overunning, the deadlines getting close, but nursery has a £10 per 5 mins charge for late pick ups…

Firstly, it’s time to accept, you’ve made the move to the dark side. As a new grad you might have moaned that it was always the young underpaid people working late, and now you’ve become the clockwatcher that runs for the lift like there’s going to be a crystal maze lock-in.

Don’t fight it. Accept the clockwatcher identity. It’s ok. But ALSO remind yourself that desk- time doesn’t equal productivity. In fact often the opposite is true.

  1. If you know you’re leaving at 5pm, code your to do list with a high effort/ high impact code. Focus on the high impact — even it that means investing more time to start with. Your boss will thank you for it.
  2. Manage expectations. If you’re logging back on to finish something late at night, make sure people don’t expect it until the next day. Ideally give yourself until noon, so you can check your work with a fresh head.
  3. If you’re working part time, say, leaving the office on Thursday, not back in until Tuesday, try not to be the log jam. Set people an end of Tuesday deadline to give you Wednesday to feedback or allow others to move projects forward in your absence.
  4. Finally, and most importantly, don’t guilt trip yourself. You don’t need to show people when you’re making up the hours. Just get the job done when you can, and keep communicating with others if your schedule is erratic. Trust yourself to get it done, and ensure your team trusts you too.

Post written by Annie Abelman, Charity Communications Consultant & Founder of Mentor Mums. Follow @annieabelman