Simplify Your Professional Life With These End of Workday Habits

We often think about morning and bedtime routines when we think about productivity and setting ourselves up for success. I have a few things I do before bed each day and a few things I do first thing in the morning out of habit. I can get more strategic if necessary to make these routines more productive. One day, I realized I can apply the same principles to my workday as well. These timeframes can have bookends to them that help bring structure and purpose to the day and help set me up for greater success.

As with most things I share on this blog, I want to share that I don’t always succeed with these habits. I’m often talking to myself and giving myself advice. I might share some things that work well for me, but I’m just as susceptible to backsliding into old habits as the next person. Please don’t think that I do these things well every day. I’m a work in progress, but a few things DO help set me up for success and some of these things are habits I know lead to even greater success. 

End of Workday Habits to Simplify Life:

  1. Clean out email:  One of the more successful habits I’ve employed over time is to do a clean-out of emails in the last chunk of my day. I aim for the last 30 minutes, but it could be the last fifteen or last five minutes. The goal here is to archive or address as many emails as you can. By doing so, you take action on them as soon as possible and don’t leave them to linger overnight. Some emails you can’t archive and actually do require more attention than you can give in this chunk of time. That’s okay. But, taking a sweep through your inbox before you sign off for the night can help give you peace of mind that you know what’s on your plate. 
  2. Delete miscellaneous files. In my line of work (content marketing/social media), I take a few screenshots every day of images or ideas and I download a lot of information. If I don’t pay attention, I can easily clog up my computer with downloads alone. A simple sweep through these two folders (screenshots and downloads) at the end of each day, ensures that these folders don’t get out of control. 
  3. Save and organize files. A good habit to get into is to turn your computer off each night. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m horrible at doing this. The main reason is because I have many projects that are mid-project and open on my desktop. I have many documents that I’m still working on and I like to keep them front and center when I return the next day. That said, if I can close down any files and save untitled documents, it’s a good practice to get into. When I do this regularly, I am able to keep up with the quantity of files I have on my computer (saves me time organizing things further down the road) and also allows me the ability to shut my computer down on a regular basis. 
  4. Map out the next day. I learned a few years ago that I’m a kinesthetic learner, which means that writing things out can be a helpful process for me to remember information. As a result, I’ve leaned heavily on written to-do lists. At the end of each day, I like to review my to-do list and look at what items are my top priorities for the next day. 
  5. Set boundaries. While I’m not always successful at this, I try to set the boundary of not checking my email after I shut down for the day, which is usually around 5:00pm or 6:00pm. This is a nice rule of thumb to allow me space to be with my family in the evening, have some time away from work, and to allow for space. 

Peace of mind is worth more than gold. We need to be intentional about how we wrap up our workdays so that we can be present in the moment with whatever we fill our time with. Life is ultimately not about working all the time and by wrapping up my workday with a few simple habits, it allows me the mental space to transition and be present in my home life. 


Looking to end your day well before you go to bed? Take a look at another recent article about nighttime routines.