Productivity Tip: Making the Most of the First & Last Hours of the Workday

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Getting settled in and finishing up during the first and last hours of the workday are more crucial to a schedule than you may think. These bookend hours set the rhythm of each work day, week, month and year. How does one make the most of these hours and still be productive? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

What regular tasks do you do during the workday?

List everything and anything that comes to mind: answering the phone, working on a project, going out to meetings, maintaining supplies, going shopping for materials, reviewing documents, etc. Are there certain hours of the day where you are required to: attend and/or present meetings, meet with colleagues/clients and work on projects?

What tasks do you currently work on during the first and last hours of the workday?

List these hourly tasks separately. For example, you might write:

First Hour of the Workday
Check voicemail and emails
Go through the mail
Plan the day

Last Hour of the Workday
Review the day
Place or return last-minute emails or phone calls
Finalize a project component

Evaluate hourly tasks.

Using the above information, go through each task to see if it helps or hinders the rest of your work throughout the day. What would you change and what would you keep the same to help increase productivity?

Set hourly routine(s).

Having a set of routines will help not only help you physically start and end the day at work, but mentally as well. Common tasks such as turning on/off a computer or lamp, taking out/storing files, supplies and other equipment will help set the tone and rhythm of the day.

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.