Illustration: Ashley Siebels
A well-defined plan for leaving early today will facilitate many additional hours of time away from work where you can optimize doing absolutely anything else. Hone your leaving early today skillset (LETS) with these best practices to help you slip out undetected nearly every day of the week.
1. Craft a story, tell no one
Make a mind map to generate ten unique yet believable reasons you need to leave work early. Challenge yourself beyond the usual “not feeling well,” or “my kid needs me.” If you are going to really be a practitioner of leaving early you need an arsenal of stories along the lines of “The rash on my thigh is bleeding again.” Tell no one this story. Honesty and transparency are for the accounting department. You can only speak these stories if you are caught in the act.
2. Leave undetected
You might be tempted to say good-bye to your coworkers and tell the story you so carefully constructed in #1. But you can’t. People seeing you leave is evidence you are not there. So, to leave undetected make sure to park away from any windows, slip out the back door and leave your coat on your chair. Who cares if it’s cold outside, this is about leaving early. Extra credit goes to leaving your purse at your cubicle too, just grab your wallet and GTFO.
3. Set the stage
Don’t pretend your degree in theatrical stagecraft is useless. Use your desk to show that you must have just stepped away to the restroom. Leave a pen uncapped, notebook open and a half cup of coffee waiting for your return. Keep your computer on, even better create a screensaver that looks like your desktop. Leave a half-eaten sandwich out, who cares if it attracts mice, you’re not there.
4. Know your enemies
Do your due diligence. Be proactive and observant. Does the Executive staff meet offsite once a month? Do you have access to your supervisor’s outlook calendar? Is there a Tuesday 5th grade soccer game your CEO leaves early for every week? Any time you leave after the boss has already left counts as a full day even if he left at 10am to go have that vasectomy.
5. Pretend you’re still there
Keep yourself on the “hard at work” radar by scheduling an email to be sent out at 5:15pm. Not only will it look like you are on task but it also shows that you are working late, which means you can also leave early tomorrow.