1. Choose to finish one thing first, then check your e-mail. That way, says Julie Morgenstern, author of Never Check E-Mail in the Morning (Fireside), you’ll accomplish at least something before being swept up in e-mail.
Action tip: Tackle a task — even a small one — first thing tomorrow morning before checking e-mail, and you’ll set a good tone for the rest of
2. Choose your MIT (most important thing). Even without an elaborately categorized to-do list, you can guess what tomorrow’s MIT will be.
Action tip: At day’s end, decide on your MIT for tomorrow. Make it a small but important, achievable task. Write it down, and put it where you can’t miss it. Tomorrow morning, do it first thing. No matter what.
3. Choose a post-work activity. If you have to pick up your child at 5:30 or you’ve got dinner reservations with a friend, chances are you’ll be out the door on time.
Action tip: Make dates with yourself or friends for the gym, a movie or simply dinner at home at 6 on the dot.
4. Choose a wrap-up time. At the beginning of each day, decide what time you’re going to leave, and set a wrap-up timer.
Action tip: If you have a 6 p.m. “date,” set an alert to go off at 5 p.m., 5:30 and 5:45 to virtually tap you on the shoulder and say “Hey, time to wrap it up!”