Monday, February 21, 2011

The Last Five Minutes of the Day

With the increasing workload, I would come in to work and be overwhelmed with the areas and issues that needed my attention. So, I started doing a to-do list at the end of the workday. That worked pretty well, except I had items that were left undone and carried over to the next day for extended periods of time. Taking a good hard look at this meant acknowledging that either 1) the task was not that important (to allow it to lie undone for so long) or 2) it was too huge to process. I had to break big tasks down into manageable steps I could actually demonstrate to my fearful self that the big project could be done.

I recently found another way to better use those last few minutes of the workday from the Harvard Business Review Blog:

Every day, before leaving the office, save a few minutes to think about what just happened. Look at your calendar and compare what actually happened—the meetings you attended, the work you got done, the conversations you had, the people with whom you interacted, even the breaks you took—with your plan for what you wanted to have happen. Then ask yourself three sets of questions:

•How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges did I endure?
•What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do—differently or the same—tomorrow?
•Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?

This is a pretty good tool for prioritizing the next day's tasks as well as for growing and maintaining relationships.

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