5 Work Day Secrets to a Better Tomorrow

The secret to being focused and productive at work
is to take a few minutes at the end of each day to prepare for the next.

1. Check Your Calendar

Whether you work in a home office or outside the home, take a look at your calendar and review your appointments for the following day before you clock off. Make sure you have everything you need for your meetings, like presentation materials, documents or props at the ready. For away meetings input the address and phone number into your smart phone. It is also a good idea to clear your desktop of non-work related things like coffee cups, spare change, newspapers etc. and tidy up your project piles so you have a fresh clean surface to work on in the morning. 

2. Check Your Ongoing “To Do List”

After reviewing your calendar, we recommend taking a look at your ongoing “To Do” List. Is there anything that’s been done and can be scratched off? Can you find items that should be moved up the list or scheduled onto the calendar?

Think about the work you did today and the ideas you had and decide if anything new should be added to your list. Getting items out of your head and onto paper or into the computer will free your brain up to relax. Emptying your brain of “To Do” items helps reduce stress and has been proven to aid in a better night’s sleep.

3. Create a Daily “To Do List”

Once you’ve updated your ongoing “To Do” list take a moment to make a list of the things you want to accomplish tomorrow. Group all the calls together and include the phone #s. Make a note of any specific questions you may have or points you want to make.

When writing up your list, separate items that can be accomplished at home or at work from items that need to be done on-the-go. If you have lots of places you need to go, map out a route that incorporates all your stops so you won’t find you’ve left any place out because you got side tracked as happens to all of us from time to time.

Be realistic about how much you can accomplish and if you don’t think you can actually accomplish everything you want to do, prioritize your list and put the less urgent items on the calendar for another day. Using a daily “To Do” list in conjunction with your calendar is a good way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

4. Get Prepared

Now with your Daily “To Do” List in hand, take another look at the calendar. Often you can accomplish a couple of errands during the day, perhaps, after driving the kids to school, at lunch time, or after work; but only if you have the items that you will need with you. How many times have you driven past a store and thought, “Oh, I could have returned those clothes” or “I could have gotten that piece of equipment fixed if only I had thought to bring it with me?” So choose a couple of tote bags or shopping bags and make a note of what items you need to take with you.

Here are some ideas of the type of tote bags you may need: 
  • Store Returns – Put your return items in a tote bag and remember to put in the receipts.
  • Errand Tote Bag – Are you planning to have a picture framed or shoes repaired? Perhaps you are working on redecorating your home and need to have samples, photos or specifications with you. Having these items in the car will make you more efficient and help you complete the tasks on your “To Do” list. 
  • Briefcase – You may want to carry a briefcase for the files and loose papers you need for meetings, your child’s school or for your mobile office. Think about tucking in a magazine to catch up on your reading while waiting for an appointment. 
  • Sports Bag – Don’t forget to pack up your exercise clothes, running shoes, water bottle, sunscreen, hat; whatever you need to exercise during the day.
  • Lunch/ Snack Bag – Getting your lunch or snacks packed up and ready the night before saves time in the morning and you’ll be sure to get the nutrition you need during the day.

5. Relax

Preparing at the end of the day for the following morning should only take a few minutes but the benefits of being organized and feeling prepared will last all through the following day and beyond. After taking the time to get ready for tomorrow take a few minutes for yourself to clear your mind and relax. You have cleared your desk, scheduled your appointments on your calendar, jotted down notes on your “To Do” List and packed things you will need into your tote bags and now you are free to transition into family time or whatever it is you have planned for the evening. Taking time to relax is as important a productivity tool as maintaining your calendar. 

This post was created by the following NBOC members

Jillian Stocks of  Jillian Stocks Organizing
Teri Mendelson of  Full Sail Organizing