How you start your day at work is a great indicator for how productive your day will be, but few people give as much consideration to how they end the work day. The truth is that the last hour you’re at work is a great opportunity to end on a good note and start the next day off right. So instead of counting down the clock, try these tips for making the most of the end of the workday.
Tie up loose ends.
We all get excited to go home, but don’t let yourself today screw over yourself tomorrow. If there is some work you know should be done before you leave, put aside some time to tackle it instead of leaving it as part of tomorrow’s problems. It can be hard to summon the motivation in the last hour of work, but getting it out of the way and not leaving it open-ended is the wise move.
Recap the day.
If you don’t have a to-do list, then you should really start one. If you do have a to-do list, then it’s probably the first thing you check out when you arrive at work, but it should also be one of the last things as well. Go over your to-do list as a way of recapping what you did today. Identify problems that came up, or work that is unfinished that may need to be addressed the following day. Chances are that when you’re going through the list, it will remind you of some last-minute task you need to take care of.
Review your schedule for the next day.
Once you’re done reviewing the work you did today, you can turn your attention to tomorrow’s work. Begin compiling your to-do list for the next day. Some people wait until they come into the office the following day, but this way allows you to hit the ground running as soon as you arrive.
Check-in with others.
Before you start getting ready to leave, do a walk around the office and check-in with any members of the team that are necessary. Meet with your manager to go over the progress of any on-going projects, discuss collaborative work with colleagues. This gives you the piece of mind to leave the office without wondering if you’ll be needed once you’re gone.
One last look at your inbox
You email inbox can be a real time drain on your day, which is why you should only leave certain scheduled periods of the day for replying to emails. The end of the day is not the best time to tackle your inbox, but it is a good time to do a quick review to see if there’s anything you can strike off the list in the last few minutes of the day.
Leave your desk tidy.
A tidy workspace can increase your productivity a lot more than you might have assumed. If you left your desk in a mess when you leave for the day, it means you’re starting your next day off on the wrong foot. Take a few minutes to throw out any clutter, put away any work and make sure you’re returning to a neat desk the next day.
Have an unwinding plan.
With the day done, you can now focus on how you’re going to relax for the rest of the day. Work can sometimes be stressful, but in order to live a healthy and happy life, you need to be able to leave that stress at the door. Plan your own unwinding routine for quitting time. Listen to something that helps you relax on your commute home, make plans for the night and be social. Being a professional is great but keeping work and life separate is important.