You have trouble leaving work when your shift is over. The overtime pay is nice, but how much is that extra time at work cutting into your home and personal time? As a nurse, you expect there will be emergencies that prevent you from leaving sometimes. But every day? If this describes you, develop these five habits to get out of work on time.

1. Prioritize and Delegate
Is there always too much to do in your eight or 12 hour shift? If you can, do the most important tasks when you first arrive at work. Plan your day before you begin. Are you the only one who can do all the tasks? Delegate any work you can. If there still seems to be too much to do, write down everything you need to do and the amount of time it takes you to do it. If the time it takes to fulfill your job responsibilities is more than the number of hours you work, ask your supervisor if there are any duties you can eliminate.

2. Manage Time Wisely
Reduce any time you waste during your shift so you do not end up trying to catch up later. Do not skip breaks and meals. They can revitalize you. Try working harder and faster at the beginning of your workday when you are fresh. That way you can wind down when you are more tired at the end of your shift. Document as you go instead of waiting until the last minute. If you have a big project, break it down into smaller steps. Do a little each day.

3. Be Imperfect
Do you have to do everything perfectly? If so, everything will take longer to do. Or you may never get anything done because you can not finish work that has to be perfect. Insisting on perfection is unrealistic and impossible and will exhaust you. Just do the best you can. You will learn from any mistakes and do better next time.

4. Leave Work Behind
Does everything have to be done before you leave? Accept that some work will have to wait. In the last hour of work, evaluate what is left to do. Pass it on to someone else or leave it for another day. Take two minutes at the end of your day to list the five most important things to do when you get to work tomorrow.

5. Look at Your Systems
Analyze how efficient your processes are at work. Do you have access to the computer when you need to? Are you expected to take off orders until the end of your shift or is there a cut off time? Do you have a quiet area to chart or are you constantly interrupted? Work at solving these problems. If you need help, ask your supervisor. She / he may be as motivated as you are to get you out on time.

Whatever reasons you stay late at work, you can solve them with some introspection, ingenuity and some help. Adopt these five habits to get out of work when you are supposedly to. As a nurse, you work hard and save lives every day. You deserve to have as much time for yourself as you can.

Read Nancy, the Nurse Mentor's, blog to Be the Best Nurse You Can Be