At the End of the Day


10 Things Successful People do Every Morning!

12 Things Famous Entrepreneurs do Before Breakfast!

15 Things…

Fifteen? Either Richard Branson gets up at four in the morning or he rolls into the office at lunchtime.

If you want to learn how to get your day off to a flying start you’ll find millions of words on the subject – including on this blog. But that message has sunk in now. Who doesn’t start the day with a 10k run while listening to the latest business podcast? Then come home to fruit, nuts, seeds and a healthy sprinkling of motivation…

This week, I’m more concerned with the end of the working day – a time when my internet search suggests that even our famous entrepreneurs are far less busy. According to Google the most they can manage is ‘3 Things…’

Then again, we all have a tendency to ease off towards the end of the day. You’re getting tired, it’ll keep until tomorrow and, besides, no-one’s going to return your call at ten to five…

That’s a shame: the last time I checked, the pound you earned at 4/30 was worth exactly the same as the pound you earned at 8/30. “Do a full day’s work every day,” as my first sales manager remorselessly drummed into me.

So here’s my attempt to redress the balance. Five things that I try – or tried in my previous life – to do at the end of every working day.

Say goodbye and ‘thank you.’ I could never get my head round bosses who just disappeared at the end of the day. As soon as people were reporting to me I made a point of saying goodbye to them every day, and of finding a way to end the day on a positive note – whether it was simply saying ‘thanks for your efforts’ or more specific praise for something they’d achieved. It was a two minute time commitment that cost me nothing – and went a long way to building team spirit.

End the day with something positive. See above, perhaps, if you’re in charge of a team. But supposing you’re not? This is where work/life balance becomes important. For me, ‘something positive’ doesn’t necessarily mean a new member of TAB York or even an appointment with a prospective member. ‘Everything’s crossed off my to-do list and now I’m taking the boys to rugby’ is a remarkably positive end to a day – and reinforces why I started my own business.

Review the Day. I like to spend five minutes going back over the day – and there’s one question I always ask myself: ‘What could I have done better?’ Did I handle the Board meeting as well as I could have? Did I find out what that potential new member really wants out of life? It’s a lot like my golf – there are always one or two little things I could improve on…

Plan the next day. For me this breaks down into two: firstly, reviewing my appointments and/or meetings and making sure I’ve done all the necessary prep work – or that I’ve definite time set aside for it tomorrow.

Secondly, I want to see my day from someone else’s point of view. Whether I’ve got Board meetings or 1 to 1’s, I’m going to be seeing people. So as I’m writing my prep notes, I want to spend a few minutes in their shoes. What do they want from the meeting? What’s the ideal outcome for them?

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You don’t need to be running Alternative Board meetings or having client 1 to 1’s for this to work for you. A sales call, an appraisal meeting with one of your team: 60 seconds thinking, ‘what do they want to achieve’ can make all the difference.

And finally, stop work. Yes, just that. Actually stop work. That sounds ridiculous, but today it is far too easy to carry on working. ‘Half-time in the boys’ rugby match, I’ll just check my e-mail.’ ‘I’ll just see if there are any messages on Facebook while my wife finishes in the bathroom.’

Don’t. Stop it. Never mind all the studies now showing that too much screen time late at night harms your sleep, you owe it to yourself – and your family – to let your mind de-clutter: to finally come out of work mode. That’s why I’m so pleased with my Monday morning routine: it absolutely guarantees that I stay relaxed on Sunday night.

There you are: five things that I do every night which set up the next day, contribute to my success and give me a better work/life balance. And not a mention of red wine among them…

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