What do you do to keep your workdays in line?
For most of us, we have some routine in place that keeps our days starting on the right note and sailing smoothly throughout their course. Though, some days run just a bit more smoothly than others, right?
How about routines that help you close out your workdays effectively? Do you have a reliable method in place, or do you find yourself bringing your work home with you a little more often than you’d like?
This week on Episode 151 of the podcast, I’m chatting with Laura, a busy wife, mother, and career woman who has a lot on her plate at the university where she works with faculty, students, and staff to support the use of technology in the curriculum.
While Laura and I talk about the importance of creating systems that will help keep her priorities front and center, we also touch on developing routines to help us pivot between one role we play each day to another when necessary.
So in the spirit of all things #routine, I want to take just a bit of time today to dive into one of the most important routines of my day, which happens at the end of each workday.
I find that both my morning and my end-of-day routines work together to help me create a life that I truly love living; a life that allows me to feel secure in the work I’m bringing to the table at the IWP studio, and in the work that I have in front of me on the homefront.
Because it’s like I said before: some days run smoother than others! But what’s important is how we are setting ourselves up for each day that comes.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at how to end your workday on a solid note (as best as you can, no matter what) with the help of a new routine!
As you’re winding out that last hour of the workday, a great practice to implement is to take some time to reflect on the progress you’ve made throughout the day.
What has gone well, and what hasn’t?
If you use a planner, or a Weekly Kickstart Notepad (or Inserts!), as I do, then you might take this period of reflection to run down your task list. Is there anything left on your plate that you will need to put front and center tomorrow?
Another great thing to reflect on is where your distractions if you experienced any, came from on this particular day.
If there were few, beautiful! Pat yourself on the back for avoiding a stumbling block that so many of us encounter.
If you experienced a few more distractions than you’d like to on a typical day, then assess some ways that you might overcome them quicker the next time they arise.
By reflecting on how the day has gone, we can better prepare ourselves for what might lie ahead of us tomorrow.
After reflection, I like to spend some time creating a (loose) plan for tomorrow.
Now, keep in mind, I also take a couple of minutes in the morning when arriving at the studio to map out my tasks via my Priority List. Still, I have found that getting myself in preparation mode before I’ve even left the office the evening before does wonders on how productive I feel each day.
Referring back to the task list you have ongoing, whether on paper or via your favorite app, this is where I encourage you to pull a few items from your list that feel reasonable enough to tackle when you’ve got a new day ahead of you.
Map out an action plan to ensure that you will get those new priority items taken care of, and remember: the key here is to be reasonable!
The more reasonable (i.e., flexible) that you are with your time as you’re creating an action plan for yourself, the better off you’ll be–especially if you face a challenging day.
Remember what I said about the best-laid plans? Keep it in mind!
I don’t know about you, but if I can avoid surprises cropping up during my workday, I’m all the happier for it.
For some, this might fall in line with the “creation” step, but for others, this could be a separate part of your end-of-day routine. It’s all the same.
What are some things (events, tasks, and so forth) you have coming down the pike? What should you have taken care of before you add those items to your existing load of responsibilities?
By looking ahead, we can get a better sense of where our energy will need to go.
And when we have an understanding of where our energy will need to go, we can set ourselves up nicely for impact, so they say, before it even happens.
Honestly, this step is probably my favorite part of my end-of-day routine: organizing.
As I’m shutting down my workspace for the day, I like to take a few moments to get everything for the next day organized.
Now, this usually means that I’m cleaning the surface areas in my office, getting out any supplies I’ll need to tackle the next day’s tasks, and so forth.
But for you, it could like all of the things I mentioned above and then some. The key here is to have fun with it!
Do what you need to do to ensure that you’re setting up a workspace genuinely designed for you and your needs, and see what happens!
When I arrive at work each morning and find my office clean, set up for the day ahead, and ready for me to dive in, the excitement (and even the relief, let’s say!) is palpable.
I love incorporating a great mantra here and there, and this is especially true if I’ve had a particularly trying day.
What mantras could you use to close out your workday, to signal to yourself that the day is over and that it’s time to switch gears from work mode into personal / home mode?
A few fun mantras you could recite to yourself, include:
My work is done, time for fun.
Shutting Down in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
And so on.
You get the idea here: Don’t forget to celebrate another workday down before you head home for the evening!
Once you’ve settled on a fun mantra (or some other celebratory ritual) to employ, it’ll help you get into relaxation mode that much quicker.
What does your current end-of-day routine entail? I want to hear about it! Feel free to share your routine, the steps, and any rituals you have in the comments below.
And check out Episode 151 to hear all about systems: why they’re essential (plus how they boost your productivity while freeing up some time), AND how Laura and her family were able to implement them at home to keep their days running smoothly!