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Well at Work

5 Things Fit, Productive People Do During the Last Hour of the Workday


It’s tempting to drift into autopilot during the last hour of the workday, especially if that final 60 minutes falls near the dinner hour. It’s easy to rationalize spending that time dealing with non-work email and attending to personal online matters since, after all, it seems like you’re still working. But that last hour of the workday can be a highly productive one, setting the tone for an enjoyable evening and another efficient effort the following day. Here are five ways to do just that:

1. Reactivate your body.

If you’ve gone the entire day without working out or at least performing some simple movements to counteract the effects of sitting all day, now is the time to activate the hips, core, and shoulders. Even if you’ll soon be on the way to the gym or an outdoor workout, it’s vital that you address a body that’s been sitting hunched over a computer. Jumping into a workout otherwise is a recipe for injury and long-term ailments.

Instead, perform a few Movement Prep exercises. (Learn about Movement Prep here.) At the very least, squeeze the shoulder blades back and down as if trying to draw them into your back pockets. Activate (squeeze) your glutes one at a time. Draw your belly button in away from your belt buckle to activate the core region. By activating the glutes, core, and shoulders, you’ll counteract the forces of pushing your body into a hunched over position and reset yourself for that workout or commute home.

2. Schedule calls and meetings.

Way back in the 20th century, when people actually called each other unannounced—and left messages if necessary—rather than emailing to set up times to talk on the phone, productive people made it a point to return calls at the end of the day. This way, they tied up loose ends and knew such chats would be quick and productive since nobody wanted to talk long.

Those same rules still apply. Just schedule those calls for the end of the day, taking into account any differences in time zones. As for meetings, the best and perhaps only way to keep them short and on topic is to schedule them at the end of the day.

Some things have remained the same since 1999, even with most of us communicating by text and cell phone. To contact hard-to-reach people live, dial their office late in the day when an assistant is less likely to intercept the call. That way, you’ll get the quick, live chat you need without lots of back and forth. This assumes, of course, that the other person doesn’t mind hearing from you.

3. Have a drink.

No, not that kind of drink, though a hectic day could point you in that direction. Instead, have a glass or bottle of cold water. Chances are you’re dehydrated from a daylong flurry of activity. Now is the perfect time to rehydrate for the drive home or the upcoming workout. Plus, with dinner looming, you’ll be less likely to overeat if you’re properly hydrated.

4. Deal with email.

Studies suggest that people who handle email once or twice a day are more productive than those who check it all day long. If you’re addicted to a smartphone, set a check-email alarm for once in the morning and once during the final hour of the workday. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how little time it takes to deal with email in bulk and how little of it is actually pressing. Limit texting during the workday to conveying quick information and save the conversations for later.

5. Clear the desk, digitize, and back up.

The last hour of the day is the perfect time to clear the desk and confirm tomorrow’s schedule. If tomorrow doesn’t include time for working out, make it a point to start scheduling training into your daily planner, whether it’s kept on paper or digitally.

These days, it’s never been easier to keep a clear desk, which leads to better productivity. Just about anything can be digitized. Scan or upload anything you want to keep and discard the hard copies. Before you leave, back up important files. As you exit the office, even if it’s a home office, take note of how you’ve re-set your workplace and your body for a productive day tomorrow.

About The Author

Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

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Tags: Work, Energy