My Work Shutdown Routine Checklist
Work is a huge source of stress and anxiety to me. That's why I have all sorts of coping mechanisms and tools to help me feel less overwhelmed.
There is one habit described by Cal Newport that has been extremely useful to me: the Shutdown Ritual. It is also described in more detail in his book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”.
I block off 30 minutes on my Calendar at the end of the day to focus on this ritual. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes, sometimes it takes me half an hour. The idea is to have something to nudge me into doing it, even if I do it partially. This is my recurring Calendar event:
I have the following recurring action in my to-do app (Nirvana):
So this action shows up in my Focus list everyday, and I always move it to the bottom of my Focus list, so I'll get to it last. It goes like this:
==> End of Day: Shutdown Routine ☄
Process Meeting Notes from the day: I have a paper notebook that I carry with me wherever I go around the office, especially in meetings. I take notes, as much as I can. At the end of the day I look at the notes and check if there are any actions I need to add to my Nirvana Inbox or notes I want to add to my projects notes.
Capture: Then I do a quick mind-sweep of tasks I failed to capture and add them to the my Nirvana Inbox. If I have enough time I will process and organize them. If not, I leave them to be processed during my morning start-up routine the next day.
Check off any completed tasks: sometimes I can only find the time to mark a task as completed at the end of the day, and it feels good! 👍
Review my Calendar for tomorrow: I ask myself “Do I need to prepare anything?”. It gives me an idea of what lies ahead.
Finally I ask myself “What things do I want to achieve tomorrow?” I flag those next actions to the ⭐Focus list in Nirvana.
Say 'Shutdown Complete'! : this is Cal Newport's suggestion. I don't actually say it out loud, but I say it in my head.
If I don't have time to do the complete routine, I will prioritize doing only Step #2: Capture. That's the most important step!
Doing a quick mind sweep can make all the difference! I can leave work and transition to my evenings feeling less stressed and confident that whatever I have to solve at work will be there patiently waiting for me the next day. There's no reason to loose sleep over it. By taking a few moments to sweep through my thoughts and jot down any lingering tasks or ideas, I'm able to mentally detach from work and fully engage in my personal time.
Regularly doing the complete shutdown routine brings powerful results. As I review my day's accomplishments and outline tomorrow's objectives, I feel more organized and I also find myself approaching challenges with a clearer mindset.
Post 09/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!
By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.