Motivation

How You Spend The Last 20 Minutes of Your Work Day Today Can Set Your Mood For Tomorrow

This curated column is authored by Thomas Oppong, Founding Editor at Alltopstartups

productivity

I am a huge fan of starting your day on purpose.

You can use the same principle to end your day with a plan for tomorrow.

Every day, before leaving the office, save a few minutes to process the day. Look at your calendar and compare what you should have done and what actually happened.

If you make it a habit to spend a little time every day planning your day and wrapping up your day on purpose, you will continue to have an amazing day every week.

How you finish the workday today can impact your relationships when you leave the office, your overall well-being, how well you sleep at night, and ultimately your mood tomorrow.

Many people spend the last 20 minutes everyday staring at the clock or counting down the minutes and even the seconds.

Others bury themselves in their work until the very last-minute and start the next day with the same mindset and even less done.

If you feel trapped at work — time will pass agonizingly slowly.

Remember, 80 percent of your output is determined by 20 percent of your input, according to the Pareto principle.

It pays to know how you are using your time and on what tasks.

Spend your last 20 minutes everyday to reflect, process, and prioritise for the next day.

Take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished today

If you started your day on purpose, you would have accomplished high-value tasks today. Review them. Write them down. Focus you on accomplishments and progress. Keep a done list to boost your level of satisfaction.

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Celebrate your small wins.

The importance of progress was highlighted in The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. Their research, studying 12,000 diary entries provided by 238 employees in 7 companies, found that making headway on meaningful work brightens a person’s inner work life and boosts long-term progress.

Try not to allow yourself to get distracted or caught up in non-work related activities. Just reflect using a journal. You will be in a better state of mind before leaving work.

Identify your high-value tasks for tomorrow

If you have planned your week, or months ahead of time, you know what you will work on tomorrow. Remind yourself.

In his book, 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, author Peter Bregman explains:

“Each morning, I ask myself some questions: Am I prepared for this day? Prepared to make it a successful, productive day? Have I thought about it? Planned for it? Anticipated the risks that might take me off track? Will my plan for this day keep me focused”

Determine the three most important tasks you need to do tomorrow. Write them down. Rank them on your list and assign priorities.

Aim to get them done preferably in the morning when you are most active.

Review other tasks you need to do for the rest of the day.

Visualise how the day will unfold. You will feel better prepared, more confident, and less stressed when the day begins.

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What outcomes do you want tomorrow?

What meetings, calls and activities do you need to follow up on tomorrow?

Declutter your desk

Research that shows that clutter distracts you, inhibiting your overall productivity. Take a few minutes every day to clear your desk.

Use the 5-S Principles to organise your desk before you leave.

5S is the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: Sort (Seiri), Set In Order (Seiton), Shine (Seiso), Standardize (Seiketsu), and Sustain (Shitsuke).

  1. Make work easier by eliminating obstacles (Sort)
  2. Arrange all necessary items so that they can be easily selected for use (Set In Order)
  3. Clean your workplace on daily basis completely or set cleaning frequency (Shine)
  4. Maintain high standards at all times (Standardize)
  5. Self discipline, also translates as “do without being told”(Sustain)

Leave the office on a positive note and your next working day will be incredibly amazing.

Before you go…

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