End your Day by Doing These 5 Things to Increase Your Productivity
For most, the end of any workday is like a much coveted finish line after a multiathlon of meetings, email, conference calls, fighting drowsiness, training, etc., etc. It is virtually one big proverbial sigh of relief as you pack your suitcase and put your laptop away. Some say the end of a workday is like reaching the end of a tube of toothpaste. You can go all out and squeeze it to its last drop of paste, but why bother, yes? Just throw it away and open a new tube tomorrow.
Then again, an entire workday is not a tube of toothpaste and its last few minutes, instead of getting tossed in the discard bin, is better filled with purpose. Dedicated business owners can actually reverse the downwind and turn it into a purposeful routine that will greatly enhance one’s overall productivity. Here are recommended practices to repurpose your end-of-day routines.
Respond to as many emails as you are able. Make it a habit to read and address as many email messages as you can in a 30-minute window. A greater number of important emails are received in your inbox throughout work hours. And so by the end of the workday, you will have received the most relevant emails. By responding to 80% or so of these, you significantly reduce the following day’s workload.
Turn off your computer and all work-related mobile devices in your office. This way, you are setting a “holding area” of the occasional email or work messages that may ambush you outside of work hours. Close programs, turn off notifications, and terminate programs or apps that manage email or instant messaging platforms that may interfere your end-of-day process. Exit your internet browser and kill all tabs you’ve opened throughout the day. This controls the deluge that might greet you in the following morning. If you allow these to sit active during the length of time in between work days, you can easily start the next workday distracted by the Facebook article you left the day before or feel daunted by the unread emails that crept to your inbox through the night.
Perform a “brain dump”. Jot down all To Do’s on your mind, whether personal, family, or work tasks. The goal is to reduce your mental clutter. A person’s productivity has more to do with mental control rather than awesome time-saving tricks. This clears your mind and potential distractions are stored and organized elsewhere.
Related to the brain dump, plan out the next day. It is better practice to plan out your day before it actually starts. A day that begins without a prior plan is like running an engine that needs to warm up before it is safe to drive. Productivity experts have suggested that it is actually possible to devote more time perfecting or intermittently tweaking your list of To Do’s than actually getting things done. In other words, if you start your day planning, you are throwing out your most productive time planning instead of doing. A previously planned out day enables you to jump in readily and more preparedly from minute one.
Finally, clear your office. Cleaning your office is a highly effective productivity hack that greatly enhances your work capacity. Consider your office space as the main “environmental factor” that affects how you work throughout any work day. The condition of your environment greatly affects the way you think and the way you work. Studies have found that “searching and gathering information” is the second largest time expenditure of the typical office worker, taking up to 19% of the workday or approximately 1.76 hours. A more organized worker can put this chunk of time to better use, instead of spending it looking for misplaced files or equipment. It likewise brings closure to the workday, besides that it feels relaxing and even fulfilling to know that, somehow, working the next day will be a lot more comfortable.
Take active charge of the end of each workday. This way, you indirectly master the beginning of each workday, as well. Developing these end-of-day habits will greatly free your mind – not to mention, your office space – from unnecessary clutter.