There are many elements that make a day a productive and meaningful day. Today, I would like to share some thoughts with you about the beginning and the ending of a work day. The following five tips reflect what I learned about how to ring in and out workdays:
Tip 1: Never look at your phone/tablet/computer for anything work related before you actually start your workday. Taking your time to prepare for the day will make you way more productive. The last thing you need is distraction in the form of many urgent but really not that important emails or (depressing) world news. Rather, I recommend you focus on a routine that nourishes your mind and body. This will give you the strength and resolve you need to succeed in your workday.
Tip 2: Always start your workday with writing down your goals and reviewing your calendar for what is coming up. I encourage you to critically ask if the scheduled activities really reflect your goals for the day. If they do not, I recommend (and yes it feels uncomfortable) you cancel the items which are not aligned. For example, if my goal is to work on an important grant proposal but my schedule is full with unrelated meetings, I will cancel these meetings. Pro Tip: Never lie about why you cancel the meeting. Simply state that you have something important that requires your full attention. If somebody asks (nobody does), explain in more detail.
Tip 3: Set an alarm for when it is time to start wrapping up your day such as 30 minutes before you want to walk out of the office. When the alarm rings, put everything down and start wrapping up.
Tip 4: Before leaving the office, clean off your real and your virtual desktop such that you are prepared for a fresh, new start the next day.
Tip 5: Make sure you get the chance to reflect on your day at the very end of the workday. Be willing to see the good and the bad, and make plans for the next day based on what that day has taught you. Be open to learn, change, and improve.
I hope these strategies help you getting your days structured and fulfilling. Please let me know how it goes by posting a comment below.