How to Leave Work Early without Feeling Guilty

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

As the workday winds down, it can be tempting to sneak out a bit early. After all, who doesn’t want a little extra time for themselves? But having a good excuse to leave work early can come with feelings of guilt and anxiety, especially if you’re worried about what your co-workers or boss might think.

If you want to leave work early without feeling guilty, you need to take a strategic approach. Below are some tips and strategies for leaving work early without feeling guilty – and even making the most of the extra time:

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  1. Make sure your work is done: Before you consider leaving early, make sure that all your important tasks are complete. This way, you don’t have to worry about unfinished business coming back to haunt you later. Prioritize urgent tasks before taking on less important ones so that your colleagues don’t have to pick up the slack when you leave.
  2. Cut out distractions: To ensure that all your essential tasks are completed on time, eliminate any distractions that could be preventing you from getting them done quickly. This could mean turning off notifications or blocking social media sites while at work or setting yourself mini deadlines throughout the day so that nothing slips through the cracks when it comes time to leave early.
  3. Set boundaries: If there is an expectation in your workplace for employees to stay late regularly, consider setting some boundaries with your manager or colleagues about when it’s ok for you to leave and why it is necessary for you personally (e.g., childcare responsibilities). If this isn’t possible due to other commitments then it may be necessary for someone else in the team picking up the slack in order for everyone else can still leave on time – such as swapping shifts with someone who works better in evenings or weekends than during regular working hours etc.. It’s also important not overpromise what can be achieved within certain deadlines so as not avoid last minute rushes which often result in overtime hours being worked unnecessarily (Huffman & Lattuca 2019).
  4. Schedule ahead: Take advantage of planning tools like calendars and project management software so that tasks are scheduled ahead of time and there aren’t any surprises when it comes time to clock out early (Cottrell & Anderson 2017). This way, everything will run smoothly even if one person leaves earlier than expected because everyone knows exactly what needs doing by whom and when – meaning no-one has any excuse!
  5. Be honest: Don’t feel like lying is necessary – instead just let people know why it’s important for them (and yourself) if they need help completing tasks before leaving on time. Being honest about why it’s important will allow others around them understand where they’re coming from which may result in more understanding from their peers if ever needed help staying motivated at work until completion of their duties (Konrad 2018).
  6. Make sure others know: Letting people know ahead of time that you plan on leaving earlier than usual is key! This will give them plenty of notice so they can plan accordingly – plus they won’t be surprised if something needs changing last minute etc.. Inform those who would benefit from knowing e.g. colleagues, managers etc. Not only will this give everyone an opportunity prepare but also ensure nobody feels taken advantage off or left behind due too sudden changes happening without warning which could lead too feelings resentment towards yourself (Bryant et al 2019).
  7. Don’t forget breaks!: We often underestimate how much we need breaks during working hours but taking regular short breaks throughout day can actually help us stay productive – plus allow us enough energy still get things done come clocking out times! So make sure take enough water/coffee/snack breaks throughout shift, this way won’t feel drained by end day meaning more energy left tackle anything else needs attention before finally going home happy satisfied with days output!
  8. Enjoy Your Time Off!: Finally, once its clocking-out times embrace extra moment freedom! Don’t feel guilty just enjoy those moments away from desk workspace – whether its indulging favorite hobby catching up friends family just simply relaxing… whatever chosen activity use those moments recharge batteries ready face next challenge head-on! Following these steps should put anyone at ease when wanting leave workplace earlier than usual without feeling guilty afterwards! It all boils down being organised proactive ensuring everything required complete before hitting roadways home sweet home.


  1. Bryant S et al 2019 ‘The Value Of Flexible Working Arrangements : A UK Perspective ‘Human Resource Management Review 29 pp 469-481
  2. Cottrell S & Anderson C 2017 ‘Project Portfolio Management Software And Its Impact On Project Performance : A Systematic Literature Review‘ International Journal Of Project Management 35 pp 170-183
  3. Huffman B & Lattuca LR 2019 ‘Redefining The Work Extensive Curriculum : Why Is Work So Important?’ Academy Of Management Learning Education 18 pp 504-521
  4. Konrad AM 2018 ‘The Benefits Of Being Honest At Work‘ Harvard Business Review October 16

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