You've read every article and list about what to do each day when you wake up. But have you thought about what you need to be doing at the end of each workday? Did you know that the activities you partake in as the day winds down are actually incredibly important? Perhaps the first few hours at work can significantly impact your levels of productivity, but do not discount the power of the final few hours, too.
Ending your day properly keeps work separate from home, and sets you up for success the following day. Here is what you should do:
1. Say no to last-minute and less important items.
Off work at 6 pm but an email with a request comes in at 5:59 pm? Unless it's an emergency, don't allow yourself to get involved in a new end-of-day project. You are free to get to it the next day.
2. Go over to-do lists.
What did you accomplish, and what still needs to be accomplished? Make a new priority list for the next day. This allows you to show up to the office prepared and ready to take on the next day.
3. Get tidy.
Don't underestimate the power of cleaning things up. Whether it's your personal desk area or your inbox, keeping your spaces neat and organized will clear your path towards success and eliminate the noise and nonsense.
4. Check in.
A responsible and successful worker makes sure to tie up any loose ends with his or her boss or colleagues before leaving the office. Is there anything urgent that needs to be taken care of? Not only is this check-in the mark of a smart worker, but it improves office camaraderie as well.
5. Go home.
Don't wear yourself out. Don't be afraid to leave the office. Hard work is important but becoming a workaholic is a different story.
Author and international business speaker Michael Kerr says what you do at the end of the day has major effects on your happiness and stress levels. And it is this happiness and stress that you take with you outside of the office or at home, impacting your "health, your marriage and family life, your ability to sleep and your overall level of happiness."
Remember, what you do at the start and end of each day counts.