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The best thing to do at 4 p.m.

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY You start the day with a list of priorities. You start plowing through them. But stuff comes up: Emergency meetings, an unexpectedly long call, a long and unintentional foray into the internet abyss after someone sends you an intriguing link. Then there's the constant back and forth of email (adding to your to-do list), it seems, every time you hit reply.

How can you keep the day from getting away from you?

With this one habit: At 4 p.m., around the time you're looking to take a break, stop what you're doing. Take a moment to think. Write down which things have to happen before you walk out the door. There probably won't be many. Three, perhaps. But figure out what they are. When you get back from your break, do those things first. If you have energy left, you can tackle other items from your priority list. But doing those deadline items first will keep an unexpected email barrage from keeping you any later than necessary.

How do you get out the door on time?

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