How to make the most of the end of your day, in order to get ahead for the next
At the end of a busy day, it can be tempting to take it easy during the countdown until clocking off. Recognising the last 15 minutes of your day as a time to think proactively – a crucial time to organise your space, review your to-do list, note your achievements, and set yourself up for the morning is a game-changer in terms of your productivity, stress-levels and focus.
So, what do the most productive people do at the end of their workday? What can we learn from them? Here are three tips you can end each day with:
CLEAR YOUR WORKSPACE
It’s a fact, a cluttered, disorganised environment has an effect on our ability to focus and restricts our capacity to process information – keeping us from doing some of our best work.
And it’s not just physical clutter, those 10+ tabs open on your browser at the end of your day... need just as much attention as everything that’s strewn across your desk. It’s said that having multiple tabs open at one time makes us prone to distractions and task-switching – having an effect on our productivity, and slows our thinking down. Switching between multiple tasks can cost us around 40% of our time.
For a more focused you, take a few minutes to end your workday by decluttering your desk, saving everything you’re working on, and get on top of those tabs!
REVIEW TODAY’S TO-DO LIST
One of the easiest ways ways to celebrate our progress is to acknowledge our achievements. There is no reason why we should only celebrate our long-term goals and big milestones – as these may not come around as quickly as out smaller achievements.
This can be as simple as reviewing our to-do list from the day. Why? A study at Harvard has shown that when individuals’ ‘best’ and ‘worst’ days were compared (based on overall mood, specific emotions, and motivation levels), it was found that the most common event triggering a ‘best’ day was any progress in the work made by the individual or a team. The most comment event triggering a ‘worst’ day was a setback.
By spending the time to recognise progress, and then celebrate the progress made, we are making an overall improvement to our mood, emotions, and motivation.
SET YOURSELF A HARDER TASK FOR THE MORNING
You may have heard of the Mark Twain saying, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In short, this translates to ensuring you do your most difficult, or important task of the day first – the rest of the day will come with ease. Do your future self a favour, by using the last 15 minutes of your day to get started on tomorrow’s most important task – making it easier to jump into when you arrive at your desk.
Accomplishing a chunk of the task in a small space of time can be easy. Our top tip? Work from one tab on your browser, or have one document open on your desktop open – nothing else, close it all down. This way, you’ll be free from all distractions, and have the desire to complete as much as possible in 15 minutes – with home time at the other end. Another win? You’ll also be able to shut your computer down immediately, and have the document waiting for you as soon as you clock on.
Just a few small changes in the final minutes of our day can set you up for a highly productive future you. Making these slight shifts, in such a small amount of time, can help you to build momentum, find mental clarity to get going with new tasks – and open up space for being a more proactive and productive individual.