The 5 Best Ways to Spend the Last 10 Minutes of Your Workday

By Brittany Lyte on 28 October 2014 0 comments

It's 4:50 p.m. Hunger pains are rousing. The midday coffee buzz has gone and your ability to focus is fleeting. Do you forfeit these last 10 minutes of the work day over to the zombie that you've become or do you power up and finish strong? (See also: The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Work Day)

Just as with marathon running, the way you end your day in the working world is as important as how you start it. If you bide your time wisely in the final minutes before you clock out, you can set yourself up for success the following morning. Now that's a formula for a fruitful career.

Read on for our roundup of the most productive ways to round out the work day before heading home for dinner. (You'll thank us the following morning when you're prepped and ready to take on the world — or at least the office.)

1. Review Your To-Do List

Did you check off everything you needed to accomplish? If not, is there something you can quickly finish up before clocking out? Even if you missed a mark or two, it's important to evaluate the day's work and forward any incomplete items on to tomorrow's checklist. Speaking of…

2. Write Tomorrow's To-Do List

You'll save yourself time in the morning if you scribble down tomorrow's to-do's the night before. That way when you arrive at your desk a little bit bleary eyed the next day, you'll have a list of tasks all ready to focus on. Experts say it's best when we begin the work day by crossing off a task with a single focus — something we can truly feel accomplished about. So take some time to identify what that task might be and put it at the top of your list.

3. Complete Easy Tasks

It doesn't take a whole lot of brainpower to finish up your paperwork and read through your email — but they're tasks that have to get done. That's why it's best to save these and other mindless chores for the end of the day after you've already near-depleted your energy on more difficult tasks. By completing a string of simple tasks before jetting out the door, you'll restore a sense of accomplishment and order to your day. Just be mindful not to actually send any crucial emails at this late hour. All emails of importance should arrive in the recipient's inbox when they're actually alert, at their desk, and ready to respond.

4. Clear Your Desk of Clutter

Throw out the empty disposable coffee cup and that stack of memos from last week. Studies show that a cluttered workspace actually hinders our ability to process information and concentrate. We aren't aware of it, but clutter competes for our attention in much the same way as a whining child or a barking dog does.

5. Say Goodbye

"We tend to think about the importance of checking in and saying good morning to kick off the day," international business speaker Michael Kerr told Forbes, "but we forget that it can be just as important, and make us feel good as well, to say a friendly and proper good bye to everyone rather than just silently drift off into the night. This is triply important if you are the supervisor."

How do you end your work day? Please share in comments!

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