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Soul-destroying Meetings, Chatty Cathys and Other Workplace Time Sucks

When I was a young singleton working for a large PR agency in New York, I was always jealous of my married colleagues who would leave the office "early" (that's 6pm in the PR agency world) to pick up children from daycare or relieve nannies. The rest of us worker bees would work until about 8 or 9 at night. We'd often slag on the offending managing director behind her back. What made her so special that she could leave early while those of us who "really" did the work toiled in the trenches for mere bread, water and the occasional faint praise for an awesome media placement in the New York Times that she could never get? Screw her!

Now as a working mother looking back, I have a whole new perspective on these "slacker" mothers. What I now know in retrospect, is they had mastered the art of ruthlessly managing their time at work so they could leave to get their kids on time (and avoid nanny overtime or those outrageous day care late pick-up charges.) I now recall all of the emails I'd receive after 10pm from these colleagues/supermoms, who fired up their laptops after the kids were in bed and the house was quiet.

How did they do it? How did they manage to leave on time nearly every day and still stay on top of their busy careers? I have a hunch:

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