There is no better feeling than walking away from your desk in the evening with a sense of deep satisfaction for a job well done.
In fact, an entire crappy and unproductive day can end strong with just 15 hyper-productive minutes. Here are five ways to help you do just that:
1. Empty your inbox.
Productivity experts will tell you that keeping your inbox empty makes you dramatically more effective. I have found that an empty inbox late in the day gives me a strong sense of accomplishment and order in my life. If I want an empty inbox, it means everything is in a designated spot: either in the trash, in my calendar, or forwarded to someone else.
I go so far as to make sure that hitting the delete button on the last trashable inbox message is my last action, and then I immediately close my laptop (while imaginary victory music plays in my mind) and I walk away. It is an incredible feeling.
2. Determine what will make tomorrow special.
Too often we live with a time-and-effort mentality. “Well, I worked my butt off and it was a long day — I must have been effective.” Not necessarily so. Some of my most grueling days are my least productive. It is not about time and effort. It is about results. It is about a intentionally significant effort.
Plan out at the end of the day what will make tomorrow truly significant. What one accomplishment will make the entire day worthwhile?
3. Eat a frog.
Mark Twain suggested that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing else throughout your day could possibly be so bad. I agree, but the advice also holds true for the last thing you do before you go home.
If you leave a nagging and undesirable task until the next day, you will walk away from your desk with a dark cloud hanging over you and a sense of dread. On the other hand, handle the task before you leave, (get it out of your life) and you will walk away with a feeling of freedom and victory!
4. Do something nice for someone else.
The key here is intentionality. Plan to end your day by doing something specific and beneficial for someone in your life — a coworker, friend, family member, client, etc. It is impossible to do something nice for someone without feeling better yourself. You get to walk away from work knowing that you made someone else’s life better and you are in a better state of mind.
5. Say thank you.
You have a job. People pay you. Because of this, you can put food on your plate. You live in a great country. You have opportunity, education and hope. Do you realize how rare that makes you in the grand scheme of things?
Take a moment before you shut things down for the day to thank God for your very life. Regardless of what else has happened in a day, ending it with thanks is a rewarding approach. When you go big picture with gratitude, you get a new perspective on the grievances of any given day.
End your day with an exclamation point! End your day like you mean it. End your day on an upbeat. End your day intentionally and with purpose. End your day strong!