We all know that starting your day right can be half the battle when it comes to being productive—and if you didn’t before, you do now. What many of us don’t realise is that you need to end the previous day the right way for your next day to get off to the best possible start.
If you take about 10 minutes at the end of your day to do these three little tasks, your morning will run smoothly, easily and optimally.
Go over your to-do list
If you don’t have some sort of to-do list system, get one, because your last 10 minutes at work should start with reviewing this list. Move tasks according to your progress that day and add any new ones that you’ve accumulated. Pick three that you know you should focus on tomorrow and put them at the top of the list.
These lists not only a great reminder of tasks you need to do, but they’re also a necessary part of evaluating your progress. By looking back on what you’ve completed and what you still need to do, you can determine how you should be scaling your efforts. If you leave a task on your list for too long, it’s either something you shouldn’t really be doing, or it’s something you may want to pass on.
The best to-do list systems have three things: mobility, deadlines and a social component. If you think of a task you need to do while on the bus or train ride in the morning, you should be able to whip out your smartphone and jot it down. If your boss texts you on your way home that you need to get those reports in ASAP tomorrow, you’re going to need to put that on your list and prioritise it. It also helps keep you accountable if others can see and track your progress on your list.
Trello’s got it all – you can create separate boards for different task groupings, move your cards between categories within those boards and assign specific members to those cards. Most teams at finder.com.au use Trello to manage their day to day activities.
Organise your tasks the same way you work so it becomes a visually productive process.
Once you’ve moved three tasks to the top of your to-do list, you need to figure out how you’re going to complete them. For me, that usually means opening a few programs and tabs on my internet browser. Macs have an option to open your current windows/programs upon restart, so I close anything that’s unnecessary for the following morning and open up what I’ll be working with the next day.
Chrome and Firefox will allow you to open up your last session the next time it runs. Just go to Settings > On Startup > Continue where I left off. I pick the web pages and the programs that I’ll need to use first thing in the morning and I’m almost ready to head out the door.
Clean up your desk
Cleanliness is next to godliness, but more importantly, it just looks nice. It’s been said that people feel more refreshed if they’ve slept in fresh-made beds, so it makes sense that you should feel more productive working at a freshly cleaned desk.
If you’re the kind of person who accumulates stubs of paper, empty coffee cups and stacks of files and reports throughout the day, this step alone will boost your pre-lunch productivity.
Move all the trash to the trash. It’s not fair to your coworkers to have to sit next to a slob. Empty cups, dirty dishes, wrappers—all of it. Gone. Also, it’ll be a whole lot nicer to the office cleaners.
Then you need to prioritise those paper reports the same way as your other tasks. Your to-do list and your startup programs are aligned to your morning tasks, and so your files should be the same way.
End your day the way you want to start it; fresh, clear and organised. Getting out of bed in the morning is hard enough without having to worry about the little details that can hold you back. Get up, get started—that’s the way your morning is supposed to work.
Fred and Frank started finder.com.au together and now the comparison service receives over 400,000 visits a month. Fred loves to share his experiences in getting it off the ground to help other Aussie entrepreneurs succeed.