How to spend the last hour of your workday and be more successful

By Mel Sim

Wrap up every day of the week on a high.

It’s nearly 6pm and you’re itching to get out of the office. You stare at the computer, fiddle with your phone, pack up your things … but time is moving so slowly you simply cannot handle.

If this is you, we’ve got bad news – you’re wasting that last golden hour at work! Why? Because instead of counting down the minutes, you should actually use this last hour to be even more productive at work, bringing you one step closer to achieving your career goals.

You’ve heard of how starting your day right can make a huge difference to your career (read all about it here!) but ending it right can also be a major success factor. In fact, experts say that how you end your day can impact productivity the next workday.

Ready to end the day with a bang? Try these.

#1 Plan for tomorrow
You want to come to work the next day ready to hit the ground running. But if you’re planning your to-do list for the next day only when it happens, that’s valuable time you’re wasting. Instead, on your last hour write out that list so that you know exactly what you want to accomplish tomorrow. This will make all the difference in having a productive start the next day.

#2 Bring your inbox down to zero
Or as close to zero as you can. Unread emails today means a new task tomorrow, on top of all the other things you have to accomplish. Make it point to sit down and declutter your inbox by organising old emails, replying what you can, and even scheduling emails you want to send out the next day. There’s nothing more gratifying than leaving the office knowing you’ve taken care of things – and coming in the next day with a fresh start.

#3 Clean your desk
A Princeton University study states that it’s harder to focus, multitask and process information when there’s clutter around you. But you don’t need a study to tell you that; imagine having piles and piles of documents all around you. Where do you even begin? During your last hour of work, that’s where. Use this time to do things that don’t demand much brainpower but can still contribute to your overall productivity – like clearing your desk. Coming to a clear and organised desk the next day will help put you right into work mode.

#4 Do some reflection
Schedule in some time for reflection during this last hour of work. Write down some of the things you’ve been good today, this week or the entire month. Take note too of the areas you want to improve on. This will help put you in the right direction for your professional growth as well as bring more meaning to your job.

#5 Leave work behind
And by this we mean say a proper goodbye to work. Check that you’ve done what you set out to do today. Create an end-of-work ritual like turning off your computer, taking out the trash, checking your calendar for next-day meetings. This will help give your brain a signal that the day is over and it’s time to shut down from work mode.

What are some of the things you do during your last hour of work? Share it with us on Twitter @Graduan !

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

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