6 Things to Do at the End of Your Workday
(to Make Tomorrow Easier)
What does the end of your typical workday look like?
If you’re anything like most people, it usually goes a little something like this: You take a quick glance at the time, realize it’s already later than you had planned to leave, quickly grab your work bag and your half-empty coffee thermos from that morning, shut down your computer, and run out the door.
Sound familiar? When you leave the office in the evening, you feel frazzled and stressed. And, as if that wasn’t already bad enough, that feeling tends to carry over to the next day.
When you return to your desk in the morning, you see unanswered emails, your dirty lunch dishes, and scribbled post-it notes from the day before—and the whole cycle starts all over again.
But, what if it didn’t need to be that way? What if you could make every single one of your workdays significantly easier (and more productive!), simply by reserving a little bit of time at the end of each day?
Here’s the good news: You can! All you need to do is block out about a half hour on your schedule at the very end of your day to take care of these important to-dos, and you’ll come back to the office the next morning feeling, refreshed, clear-headed, and ready to tackle your work!
1. Wrap Up Lingering Tasks
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your desk and being immediately inundated with those little, obnoxious tasks you didn’t get a chance to complete the day before. As a matter of fact, you’d probably rather be greeted by a hive of wasps.
This is why you should take a little bit of time at the end of your workday to wrap up any of those lingering tasks. Whether it’s answering your remaining emails, filling out your expense report, or cleaning up that spreadsheet, these little to-dos are the perfect thing to do when you’re finishing up for the day—they’re not hard, they’re just a little annoying.
So, gather your motivation and get them completed before you leave the office. That way, you can start fresh in the morning—without those hanging over your head!
2. Make Your To-Do List
Writing things down is a great way to both clear your mind and organize your thoughts. You don’t want all of those little reminders and tasks to slip out of your brain before the next morning.
This is why it’s a good idea to end your workday by sitting down, flipping through your schedule, scrolling through your inbox, and making your to-do list for the next day. Not only will this help you check out of “work mode” and relax for the evening, but it also means you can arrive at the office tomorrow with a detailed action plan in place.
Kicking off your day with a solid idea of what you need to be working on will help you be that much more productive—without feeling frazzled and scatterbrained!
3. Clean Your Workspace
Stacks of paper, piles pens, and tons of coffee mugs—oh my! Your desk can quickly become a collection spot for lots of, well, junk.
Your physical space can have a bit impact on your attitude. Scientists have even found that clutter can negatively affect your ability to focus and process information. Basically, a messy desk equals a messy mind.
So, if you want to start your next day on the right foot, spend just a little bit of time cleaning up your desk. Toss out any trash, straighten up your piles of paper, organize the files on your computer desktop, and bring any dishes to the break room.
If you’re feeling extra motivated, you can even take a disinfecting wipe to your desk, phone, and computer mouse and keys—your workspace can be a literal breeding ground for bacteria!
4. Get What You Need
Sometimes the hardest part of your workday is just getting started. So, why not take care of that first step the night before?
Track down any resources you need and are still missing for the projects you have on the docket. Print any information that you need hard copies of so that it’s ready to go in the morning.
The more you can do to get yourself prepared and set yourself up for success, the better. That way, you’ll be able to sit down at your desk and get started on your real work—rather than having to spend time getting all of the groundwork in place.
5. Reflect on Your Workday
When your days are so busy, reflection is something that can easily get pushed to the back burner. But, making some time to look back on your day is key for making tomorrow that much better.
What went well today? What were some roadblocks and challenges you ran into? How will you do better tomorrow?
Take just a few quiet moments to think through those questions—jot down your answers if you have to! You’ll clear your mind, while also identifying ways that you can take steps forward during your next workday.
6. Shut Down and Disconnect
Do you bring your work home with you? Even if you don’t physically take home your materials, chances are your mind is still churning over your work-related matters when you’re around the dinner table or relaxing in the evening.
Yes, it can be tough to disconnect. But, not giving yourself adequate time to take a break and recharge will ultimately only lead to feeling stressed and burnt out the next day.
When you turn off your computer and leave the office, take a deep breath and make your best effort to leave your work troubles behind in favor of enjoying your time away. Actually unplugging from your work for the night will mean you can come back the next day feeling refreshed—rather than wiped out.
Your workday can get stressful. But, it only ends up being more stressful if you left the office in a rush the day before.
Instead of running out the door, reserve some time at the end of your day for these six small—yet important—tasks. That way, you’ll start each workday feeling clear-headed and ready to tackle your to-do list!