I believe the first and last hours of the work day are sacred. The first hour is when you dig in and tackle your top priority task for the day, which sets you on a course for a day of productivity (and not down the rabbit hole of email). And the last hour of the day is not to be neglected, as it’s a powerful way to end the day with a punch!

  1. Determine your top 3 priorities for tomorrow. If you got nothing done the next day besides 3 things, what would they be? Color-code them in your online calendar or write them where you will see them all day tomorrow. Be ready to tell someone else what they are when you get to work in the morning and get asked, “What’s on your plate today?” And set out the files/materials for those 3 things as the only things on your desk, so you can hit the ground running tomorrow and not get distracted.
  2. Tidy up your desk. It’s discouraging to leave work or come in the next day to a cluttered workspace. Take a few minutes to put office supplies back where they go, to close out tabs on your computer, to file loose papers in manila folders, and transfer post-it note scribbles into action items in your schedule. Experience the sense of peace that comes with being able to see your desk instead of piles and scraps.
  3. Encourage a few people. Whether it’s through a text, email, written thank-you note, or verbally on your way down the hall to leave for the day, make someone’s day with specific praise or a thank-you for what you appreciate about them–or how they’ve added value to your life or the team. You never know how your kind words might set them up for a more positive evening!
    1. Mentally make the shift from work life to home life. Declare today DONE with a hard stop. Shut your electronics down and don’t plan on popping them back on when you get home. Leave today in today, knowing you did your best work, and more work will be there tomorrow to greet you. Maybe you need a transition ritual in your car like music or prayer or gratitude thoughts or a quick text to your loved ones, to shift to being fully present at home. Anticipate the joy of being with your family or having some me-time when you get home. And fully de-compress before bedtime.

These 4 habits will help you with work-life balance and set you up for success in your relationships and personal management. Let me know what your habits are, so that I can add to this list. I’m at pcgrowingforward@gmail.com. Other free articles are at my web site www.paulcasey.org.