How to End Your Day and Be on Your Way

Filed under Becoming a PM | Posted by PMStudent

It was a long day. You feel like you gave everything, and then more. Now, it is time to leave work behind and recharge. What a great feeling. And for about twenty minutes, you enjoy merely catching your breath. And then it hits you. Your inner voice says:

“Did you finish that last piece of the stakeholder presentation and then forward it to your sponsor?”

Silently you scream in agony. “Noooooooooo!” And whether it is from home, or you return to the office, it is back to work you go. And since you are back in work mode, you go ahead and answer a few emails, and work on a few things to make the next day more manageable, and now your evening is gone. Unsurprisingly, the following day you are exhausted.

It would be best if you had an end of day wrap up routine. Depending on the nature of your project, perhaps you need an end of week or end of month wrap up routine too. You have studied project management best practices, and you know that the end of each phase, or milestone or project, requires a proper closeout. Apply this to your workdays too. As you prepare to put the day behind you, consider the following:

What am I leaving incomplete? Have I left myself good notes so that I can pick it back up with a minimal loss of time? Who is waiting for this work, and did they expect that the work would be finished? If so, make sure you communicate with him/her before you go.

  • What have I completed? Do any of my finished items need to be passed on to someone else? Who needs to know about my completed work?
  • Do I owe anyone information? Is anyone waiting to move forward with his/her work? Make sure you provide the information before you go or advise that you cannot provide the information and recommit to when you will provide the information.
  • Do I have pending communications? On any given day, you receive an avalanche of communications. Have you responded when necessary? If not, make sure you have a way to track your pending communications, so that you do not forget. It is also a good idea to send an “I will get back to your response.” The “I will get back to your response,” advises that you have received the communication, and you do not have a reply yet. For many of us, there are few things as frustrating as not knowing if someone has received your communication.
  • Am I ready for tomorrow? Do you like beginning your workday by looking at your calendar and learning that you are already late for a presentation? Or that you have two hours to prepare an overview for your sponsor. Of course not! Before you complete your day, be sure to look at your coming attractions.

These simple steps can make the difference between a full night’s sleep, and waking up at 2 am thinking, “Oh no! I forgot to send the budget estimates to my sponsor!”
Rest well, my friend.