Leaving the office at the end of the day provides a brief respite from all the workday madness. As much as you want to log off from your workstation at 6 pm sharp to commence happy hour, it’s usually easier said than done. Tomorrow is another day, and what you can accomplish today can greatly impact your productivity and efficiency the next day. How many times have you experienced that moment when you’re enjoying dinner with family and suddenly you wonder if you were able to send the report that your boss requested that morning? For this reason, it’s important that you leave the office today with tomorrow in mind. After all, nobody wants to be greeted by chaos and flaring tempers way before your morning coffee kicks in. Here are five things you need to do before calling it a day at the office.
Clean your workspace
Some people like clutter, but a clean and organized desk is scientifically proven to improve productivity. So throw out the trash and wipe your desk clean. Clean up your desktop and create shortcuts and folders for easy reference. Turn off printers and computers that are no longer in use. Lock your work pedestal and secure important work documents. Make sure you have all of your personal stuff with you before leaving.
Clear your inbox
Make it a habit to clear your inbox before the end of each workday. Not only does it make daily workflow organized in so many ways, but you can also rest assured that you have responded to the day’s emails by order of priority and urgency.
Check your schedule for the next day
Before signing off, check your calendar and see if you have anything important lined up for the next day. If you have an early morning meeting, or if you need to visit another office site, or if you need to meet with potential clients, you can make arrangements beforehand and leave the house early to make it in time for your important meetings. This also gives you an idea of how busy or how available you will be, so you can manage the day’s events ahead of time.
Write down the things you need to accomplish for the next day
If there are tasks that you have not finished today, include them in your list of things to accomplish for the following day. Make sure that you prioritize them, do a follow-through, and complete the tasks in the morning, if possible. Writing down your “things to do” helps you organize, focus, and manage your time, as well as avoid the unnecessary piling up of work.
Say goodbye, and leave with a smile
Don’t leave in a hurry. Have a minute or two to reflect on the events that transpired and on how you can better handle them in the future. Say a quick goodbye to your boss and colleagues. Give them a brief rundown of the things accomplished for the day and what else needs to be completed the next day. Give a staff member your congratulations or your commendation for a job well done. Thank a colleague who helped you out of a sticky situation.
It’s always a great feeling to end a work day in a happy and organized manner. You leave your workplace in a mess today, you arrive the next day to a mess, too. Let these positive workplace habits stick because, in the long run, these are the habits that will separate the successful and extraordinary professionals from the mediocre ones.