Gretchen Rubin’s 10-minute, end-of-workday ritual will make the next morning easy

Surely you know the sinking feeling of walking into work, ready to start the day – if only you could find you desk under all that stuff you didn’t clear off the evening before.

There’s an easy, ten-minute end-of-workday ritual to prevent that, says bestselling author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin told CNBC’s Make It.

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“At the end of my work day, I take 10 minutes and kind of put everything away that I can,” Rubin says. “I don’t do deep cleaning or deep clutter cleaning, but I will put things in their places.” She calls it the 10-minute closer.

The tip comes from her upcoming book, “Outer Order, Inner Calm.” In the book, Rubin also recommends as part of the 10-minute ritual doing everything from glancing at the next day’s calendar so you know what to expect, throwing away trash, putting loose change in a cup, putting away pens, rubber bands, and other office supplies, and tossing any paper clutter you no longer need.

The tidying up also serves as a transition, she says, which she believes we need as we move from our work selves to home selves.

But most importantly, “it makes it a lot easier to start working the next day. It’s a lot easier to just sit back down in the chair if I’m not fighting my way through a bunch of junk from the previous day.”

Speaking of clutter…

Earlier this week, Rubin wrote a primer on her blog on how to beat the most insidious type of clutter of all – paper clutter. It’s probably one of the main items you’ll be clearing off your desk during the 10-minute end-of-workday ritual she recommends. It’s also the hardest to part with – what if it’s something you might need someday?

  • For that very feeling of anxiety – that you might regret throwing something away – Rubin suggests creating a “holding box.” Put hard-to-part-with papers in there for six months, “even a year, if you’re really worried,” as see how you feel then.
  • One of the most essential questions, Rubin says, is this: Can you get this material online? If so, then you don’t need to save the paper copy.
  • Another good tip is: Have you ever used or referenced this piece of paper? If not, you might not need it at all.

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