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How Exceptionally Productive People End The Workday

https://doist.com/blog/end-work-day/

doist.com

How Exceptionally Productive People End The Workday
My workdays used to go something like this: Sit down in front of my computer with a vague idea of what I wanted to get done. Check email. Get distracted by all of the new messages in my inbox. End up spending way too much time on urgent, but ultimately unimportant tasks.

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Clean up your workspaces

End the workday by taking a minute to tidy your desk, save everything you’re working on, and close of all your tabs and windows. Make sure your work app notifications are automatically snoozed outside of work hours.
A physical and digital declutter will help your future self start the next morning focused and distraction-free.

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Review your "to-done’s"

Boost your mood and motivation by taking the time to review your completed tasks at the end of each day.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to stay motivated and build momentum at work is to celebrate your progress.

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The procrastination “doom loop”

The procrastination “doom loop”

Confront the things you’ve been putting off. If you keep putting things off, you'll feel guilty and that makes you want to avoid them even more. You will get stuck in the “doom loop” of anxiety and avoidance.
Break this loop by identifying the tasks that you’ve been avoiding, break them down into smaller tasks and schedule the next step for the following day.

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Prepare tomorrow’s to-do list

Doing so at the end of your workday boosts your productivity:

  • It helps you stop thinking about work: writing out a plan to finish uncompleted tasks provides the same mental relief as actually completing the task.
  • It increases your willpower: starting the day with a clear, prioritized to-do list also cuts down on the number of decisions you’ll have to make early in the day.

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The most important task

Use your end-of-the-work-day routine to make it as easy as possible to get started on tomorrow’s Most Important Task (MIT) in the morning.
Or leave a quick-win to do first thing tomorrow to help build momentum.

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Set a time to end your workday

... and stick to it.
Knowing you have to complete your work by a certain hour will help you finish more work in less time.
Ending work at a set time also gives you a chance to relax and recharge, an essential part of long-term productivity.

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The Zeigarnik Effect

Our brains are hard-wired to keep us thinking about our unfinished tasks until we’ve completed them.
This psychological phenomenon is called the Zeigarnik Effect.

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Parkinson's Law

It states that work expands to fit the amount of time allotted to it.
For example, if you have 2 days to finish a task, it will take 2 days to finish. If you only give yourself 2 hours to finish the same task, it will take 2 hours.

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End the day on a positive note

  • If you didn’t do everything you planned on doing, don’t beat yourself up about it. Forgive yourself.
  • Show gratitude. Reach out to a co-worker at the end of the day to say thank you.
  • Do someone a favor. Doing something for someone else is scientifically proven to make you happier.

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Completion Bias

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Make planning a habit

Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

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Align your to-do list with goals

  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.

Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.