Usually, around six o’clock, I am amazed at how fast the day went by. And it always seems like I’m rushing to get out of the office for a meeting or dinner with my family.
But, did you know that if we took 15 minutes at the end of our day, we can be more prepared for tomorrow? Recently, I started to take just 15 minutes at the end of my day to get organized and it works. Here’s how.
Prioritize Those 15 Minutes
What better time to review your day than at the end? It allows you to do three very important things:
You can briefly review what happened throughout your day by jotting a few notes, which will strengthen your memory and recall. It’s also a good time to check off the items on your agenda and make sure that you’ve logged your time correctly. Research has shown that taking account of completed tasks lowers your anxiety and stress levels.
Simply taking a minute or two to review your day will also help you organize your evening. Figure out dinner or check in with loved ones. Are you picking something up? Need gas for the car? These things often get forgotten and make tomorrow a little more hectic. Plus, it gives you time to organize the work you are taking home with you.
To-Do List or Not To-Do List?
Reflecting upon your day will help you restructure your to-do lists. Priorities are always shifting. Some tasks gain a higher level of urgency.
As for to-do lists, I have seen a lot of opinions on them. Lots of consultants don’t like them and one in particular simply believes that to-do lists don’t work. However, research, lots of research, says otherwise. I’m a proponent of them, but with this caveat—I don’t put everything on it.
One major complaint of the to-do list is that it causes more anxiety, usually because there’s a list a mile long with things on there that should have been done weeks or months ago. Too many trivial things on it will cause anxiety.
One novel idea is to move the important things off your to-do list and placing them on your calendar. This raises their priority, while reduces the clutter of your list. Here are some other ways you can create a more effective to-do list:
- Shorten the list to three things,
- Use small Post-It Notes or index cards,
- Organize your list into smaller lists (calls to make, things to delegate, to purchase, etc.)
- Prioritize tasks in order of importance,
- View one task at a time.
You need to be faithful to the idea of ending your day thinking about tomorrow. This lets you get organized before you even step foot in the office, tomorrow.
Better Planning of Your Time
Time is the most important asset we have, yet we don’t value it enough. Meetings and late lunches can get in the way. There’s also the occasional drive-by meeting—”impromptu” for the visitor—but an inconvenience for you.
Taking a few minutes to prepare for your day, tomorrow, may get you out of a meeting or conference call that really isn’t important. With these final moments at work, you can also follow up with your employees regarding important projects. Even better, you can delegate tasks from your list to them.
Better Organization = Less Stress
Let’s face it, you’re only given so much time in a day. Organization doesn’t give you more time, but it does allow you to spend more time on the things that are truly important. Typically, these are the things that affect the bottom line.
You won’t regret using this time-saving tip. It will help you be more productive and less stressed about work and home. Give it a try for a month. If it works, pass it on to a friend or coworker of yours that could use it.