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Top-Shelf Tip No. 215:

"The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine."

Mike Murdock

Three Questions To Wrap Up Your Day

How many times have you reached the end of your workday and wondered what you actually accomplished? You may have felt busy, but you didn't make much progress on your to-do list. You know that the next day you will come in feeling overwhelmed by everything you still need to get done.

Charlie Gilkey, an author, entrepreneur and productivity expert, says there's a simple, easy checklist you can work into your end-of-the-day routine to save your work and your sanity. We share his three questions to ask at the end of your workday in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. What did I accomplish? When things come at you throughout the day, you probably don't add them to your daily to-do list. That means, even though you've been working hard all day, your to-do list shows little progress, with many of the original items still undone. By asking yourself this first question, Gilkey says you can take stock of all the things you actually did. It shifts your focus away from what you didn't get done and toward your many wins. Life is a series of small steps, and if you don't celebrate the small wins, you won't be able to build up the energy to contend with bigger obstacles later.

2. Is there anything I need to do right now to be able to disengage? This second question helps you deal with that nagging feeling you've forgotten to do something. Gilkey says to add a 15-minute checkout at the end of your day as a hard stop so you can disengage and come back fresh and focused in the morning. Check your inbox or to-do list one last time to catch anything that absolutely must get done today. Then ask yourself what would happen if it waited until tomorrow. If you're being honest with yourself, chances are it can. Gilkey notes that if you're stopping in the middle of a task or project, use the checkout to jot down a brief note about what needs to happen next. Such breadcrumbs make it easier to get back into something later, and at the end of a long day, allow your mind to relax.

3. When do I need to do the things I didn't get done today? There might be a lot of things left on your to-do list, not to mention new stuff that came up during the day. But no matter what you're telling yourself, they don't necessarily have to happen tomorrow or even in the next few days. This third question, then, reaffirms this, and helps you clarify things realistically. Rather than adding things to a to-do list that will stir up even greater feelings of 'undoneness' —schedule those tasks into whatever app, planner, calendar or other tools you like to use. Having a concrete plan for open issues or loose ends helps ease your mind and gives you permission to let go, according to Gilkey.

You might think the 15-minute checkout makes good sense and that it could surely help you. But you might also be thinking that you don't have 15 minutes to spare at the end of the day, especially when you could put that time to good use on something else.

Gilkey encourages readers to seriously consider their end-of-day ritual. They're probably doing trivial things such as checking social media or chatting with co-workers to mindlessly unwind. They're not thoughtfully working or seriously unplugging. Instead of going through the usual motions at the end of your workday, try doing Gilkey's 15-minute checkout instead. You might end up saving yourself time and frustration.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Charlie Gilkey is an author, entrepreneur, philosopher, Army veteran and renowned productivity expert. Founder of Productive Flourishing, Gilkey helps professional creatives, leaders and changemakers take meaningful action on work that matters. His new book is Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done.