There’s nothing worse than sitting down at your desk at the start of a new work day and feeling disorganized. I don’t know about you, but it throws off my morning a bit! Luckily, there are a few things you can do at the end of every work day to start the next day off even more productive!
Review Your To-Do List
As the end of the day nears I like to take a quick glance at my to-do list to make sure I finished everything and if there is anything left, make sure that it can wait until the next day. I typically try to get the bigger tasks done earlier in the day, which means the small tasks typically happen in the second half of the day.
Review Your Calendar for the Next Day
Before I leave at the end of the day, I like to take another look at my schedule for the following day. First of all, this will tell me what time I need to get to work, especially if I have any early meetings. Checking the calendar also helps me know what tasks I’ll be working on the next day.
Write the Next Day’s To-Do List
I always like to start the day with my to-do list ready to go, so I try to get everything written before I leave the office the day before. Most days I only have a few tasks on my list, but the list certainly grows through the day as more things come up. It’s also easier to write my to-do list for the next day once I’ve checked my calendar and I know what meetings I need to prepare for.
I love keeping a paper to-do list so I can physically cross things off as I go and make additional notes. My favorite is this to-do list notepad!
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Organize Your Desk
To be honest, I’m a bit hit and miss when it comes to the organization of my desk. For the most part, I’m pretty organized and have all of my papers cleared and put away in folders on a stand on my desk. I’m typically pretty good at keeping it clear, though sometimes miscellaneous items do start to pile up. It’s always nice to start fresh with a clean desk in the morning, so before I leave for the evening I try to clear up some of that paper clutter that may be starting to take over.
Clear Out Your Inbox
I used to have a bad habit of using my inbox as a running to-do list. Anything that would come in that I wasn’t quite ready to deal with, I would just let sit in my inbox, sometimes for weeks (or even months) at a time. Instead of letting things pile up in your inbox, handle things as you go through them. For me, that means one of four options. 1. I delete the email right away if no further action is necessary. 2. I take action right away, then delete the email. 3. If it’s information I need long-term, I move the email into a designated folder. 4. I add the follow-up task to my to-do list, then delete the email. I make sure I’ve done one of these things with each email in my inbox before I leave at the end of the day so I’m not arriving at work the next morning with all those emails waiting on me.
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Disconnect When You Leave
So to be fair, this one is still a work in progress for me. I’m not great at unplugging evenings and weekends. I have my work email on my phone and get a notification each time one comes in, so I think it’s safe to say I’m still pretty connected. However, I try not to deal with anything after work hours unless it’s urgent. What I really should do is take my work email off my phone (or at least turning off the notifications) so I have to be really intentional about checking my work email.
With everyone having smartphones, it’s a lot harder to disconnect when you’re out of work, and I feel like a lot of employers take advantage of that. I think the important thing is just setting boundaries and not feeling obligated to check in often when you’re off the clock.