Recommended Ritual: End of the Day Routine

After the mid-afternoon slump around 2PM, you’re faced with an hour or two of good productive time. The problem is you know you’ll be heading home soon, and that makes it difficult to dive in to a new task. I’m recommending a daily ritual to keep you productive through the end of the work day. We’ve discussed the principles of this ritual before in End Your Workday with a Beginning. Now you need both a plan of action and a few techniques to start this ritual and keep your motivation high—otherwise you’ll find that the last hour or so of the day is just dead time, and you’ll end each work day with disappointing results.

Don’t end your day with a completed project

So if you’ve just finished a project as it’s time to head home, that’s fine, but if you have fifteen to thirty minutes left in the day, it’s tempting to call it a wrap. However, if you take the time to start on your next project or make progress on an ongoing one, you’ll find you are more invested in your work the following morning. Because you don’t have to start from scratch each morning, you can continue working on the project you started the day before without missing a beat.

How can you get going on a project with only a few minutes to work on it? The most obvious answer is to outline the project. By going through the steps you’ll have to take to complete the project, you can map out your vision for execution and results. Then, the next morning, you can pull out your outline and start working on the first steps.

Other ideas to help you get going on these end-of-day projects are brainstorming, contacting people you need more information from, or researching similar projects or information you’d need to make progress on your project.

Generate 30-minute projects to work on

If starting your next project isn’t a possibility, keep a list of 30-minute tasks you can complete when you only have a few minutes to work on something. These tasks will vary between job fields, but generally they don’t take much mental effort and they aren’t necessarily time sensitive. The benefit of performing these tasks at the end of your day is that you go home on a high note. You leave the office feeling accomplished rather than defeated.

Review your next action lists

And if you are really out of tasks you can work on during the last hour of work, you could at least review your next action lists, waiting for lists, someday/maybe lists, etc. Refresh your mind about your goals. Give yourself some motivation to come back to work the next morning.

Start your ritual today, and you’ll find a definite boost to your productivity.

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