Office productivity is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. And while some people are blessed with the power of concentration, most of us aren’t. By the time the workday starts winding down, a person’s willpower badly needs replenishing. That’s why it is so hard to finish the day as strong as it was started.
Luckily, forming habits can help preserve a person’s willpower. Creating and following a specific routine can help you get the most out of your last hour at work without having to think about it too much.
Here are six strategies (broken up into two categories) every worker can implement at the end of the working day:
Before the last hour
- Check your emails: Review any unread messages and respond to the ones that need to be addressed before the end of the day. Mark the remaining emails requiring a response as unread so you remember to deal with them later.
- Leave your communication channels: Signing out of your inbox and leaving other messaging applications is crucial to keeping your concentration. Not being able to view your notifications means you’re not left wondering what they’re about and thus, avoiding being distracted.
- Take a quick break: Take a couple of minutes to drink some water, eat a healthy snack or go to the bathroom. Make sure you stretch your legs, as you’ll need to stay put to ensure the last hour is as productive as possible.
During the last hour
- Reprioritise your to-do list: Use this time to assess your list. Identify what is most important and what could be pushed to tomorrow. See if there is anything that can be entirely removed from the list. If you need to, move items so you can determine what your real priorities are.
- Review tomorrow’s schedule: Before you get to work on the next step, make sure there’s nothing you’ve forgotten about today. Have a quick glance at your schedule for the next day to gain a sense of how busy you’ll be and what priorities will need to be addressed.
6. Do the thing: Pick the most important of your priorities to finish now and leave everything else for later. Spend the last hour making as much progress as you can.