Most of us look forward to getting home as our workday winds down, and we may rush through our last few tasks in a hurry to wrap things up and hit the road.
Not so fast: The end of the workday is actually the very best time to set yourself up for success and happiness beginning the next morning.
Instead of rushing out the door to your car or Uber or bus or subway, take 10 or 15 minutes at the end of every workday to reflect on what you accomplished and what remains to be done the next day. This small investment of time will pay off big-time when it comes to getting a jump on the next day’s activities.
Here are 7 things happy people do at the end of every workday to set themselves up for success.
1. Take time to reflect. Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? If not, what should you do differently tomorrow? Make mental notes or write them down. Either way, when you take time to reflect on your day, you set yourself up for more success tomorrow.
2. Touch base with your co-workers and employees. Connect with key people on your team to discuss the day’s positives and negatives, and how you can do more of the good (and less of the bad) in the future. Make sure everyone on your team is aligned on what needs to be done — and what should be discarded — moving forward.
3. Make a to-do list for the next day. One of the most powerful things you can do is also one of the simplest: make a to-do list at the end of each workday. Write down three to five things (no more than that!) that absolutely must be tackled the next day. If you don’t complete each item on the list tomorrow, put them on the top of your list at the end of the day for the next work day.
4. Limit yourself. To be at your best on the job and in your personal life, do everything possible to avoid overworking yourself. Overworking causes stress and exhaustion, and it lowers your performance. Focus on getting your most important tasks done early so you can head home at a reasonable time.
5. Get organized. Clean up your workspace, go through your email inbox and stage your desk for the next day. By getting organized at the end of the day, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you arrive at work the next morning.
6. Make plans to unwind after work. Work can have quite an impact — often negative — on your physical and mental health, so it’s important to unwind and decompress after work. Whether that means meeting up with friends or family, heading to the gym or taking a walk, make plans before you leave the office — and then follow through on them.
7. Don’t bring your work home. Avoid the habit of bringing your work home with you. Not only will you feel like you never get a break from your job, you’ll become disengaged from your family and friends as you constantly interact with your smartphone. Sure, everyone sometimes has to work overtime or bring some work home. But make that the exception, not the rule.