In the last few weeks, I’ve realized the last things you do to finish your workday are just as important as the things you do to start your workday. And I’ve found that this applies both when you work from home and when you work in an office.
Whether I realized it or not when I worked from home, the way I ended my workday had a significant impact on how my next day started.
I’ve noted a few things I do every day in the last 20 or 30 minutes before I leave, that help me start the next day on a better, brighter note.
7 things to do before the end of your workday
1. Clean up your desk.
The one thing I hate is when I come into work and realize I left myself with trash and clutter from the day before.
I try to clean up as I go, taking an opportunity to rinse out my water cup or throw away a piece of trash as an opportunity to walk around and get away from my computer screen. But at the end of every day, do a quick pass for papers that need filed away or tossed, trash and other stray items out of place.
2. Clean up your desktop.
Get rid of digital clutter and trash, too.
I delete files off of my desktop that I’m no longer using and close out my browsers. I also power my iMac down to conserve power overnight. Periodically, I’ll empty my downloads folder and empty my trash, too. Just had to do that because I had accumulated about 500 PDFs in the last few weeks.
Also, I like to make sure I plug my laptop into the charger about 20 minutes before I leave, so when I do leave, I’m leaving with at least some battery. I hate getting home and having to go searching for my charger as soon as I settle down on the couch!
3. Revisit what you got done and what you didn’t.
Take a look at your to do list and evaluate how productive your day was.
This is a great time to identify what your priorities for the next day will be, but it’s also important to see what got done and what didn’t. Is there anything you’re procrastinating getting done? Is there anything with an impending deadline?
You should also take this time to celebrate any wins from the day – finally scheduling a phone call you’ve been avoiding, finishing a big project that has been taking up a lot of time.
4. Note tomorrow’s top 3-5 priorities.
I like to write down my big five priorities for the next day before I walk out of the office. Something about putting them down on the notepad on my desk makes it easier for me to walk out of the office and leave work behind me.
This also gets you in the right mindset to walk in the next morning and get going on the big priorities. You won’t have to spend precious morning productivity on writing out your to do list.
5. Review tomorrow’s schedule.
Highlight any important meetings or calls that are on your radar for the next day.
Again, this is almost entirely about mindset. Don’t let yourself walk into a meeting or get on a phone call without being fully prepared for the conversation.
6. Tie up loose ends.
Don’t walk out the door with big things looming over your head.
Make an effort to tie up any loose ends that came up during the day, if at all possible. Reply to any messages or emails that you weren’t able to get to, and if you promised to pop by someone’s desk to talk about something, do that before you go.
7. Let everyone know you’re heading out.
Give your boss and coworkers (if they’re still around) a 10 to 15 minute warning that you’re about to head out.
That way, if they need you for anything, they’ll mention it when you give them the heads up – not as you’re walking out the door or via email in an hour once you’re already home.