Nowadays, many employees work remotely and the lines of when work ends and relaxation begins are quite blurred.
That’s where a workday shutdown ritual can be helpful.
Even if it’s as unceremonious as closing a laptop and putting it away, it’s a way to mentally and physically disconnect from work in a healthy way. By creating an end-of-day routine, workers can create a more restorative period of time off — whether it’s just for the evening or for a whole weekend.
Here’s a look at why every employee should consider a workday shutdown ritual:
Why Should I Have a Workday Shutdown Routine?
From the moment you awake, your mind must make decisions.
“Should I get up or curl back up under the blankets?”
“What should I eat for breakfast?”
“How much do I have to do today?”
The decision-making is endless. Once you’re settled into work, it’s the same thing. Plenty of decisions to be made. But what if you could start your day on a calmer note? More organized with you feeling in control of your morning. That is what happens when you begin a workday shutdown routine the day before.
These sets of habits you build into the last few minutes of your day can make all the difference when you come to work the next day. By setting aside time to get organized, you’re intentionally setting yourself up to be more engaged at home and at work!
The Health Benefits of a Routine
A routine is a way to set yourself up for success, whether it’s at home or work. A workday shutdown routine can be beneficial especially if you have a high-stress job that often mentally makes you bring home your work duties.
Here’s a look at the perks of setting an end-of-day routine:
- Stress less - When you feel in control of your routine, it can help you stress less. In fact, the American Friends of Tel Aviv University reported in 2011 that certain repetitive behaviors can actually be a way to manage stress caused by unpredictable environments.
- Sleep better - If you feel more organized and in control of your life, it can make you sleep better. When you have what feels like a million projects going on or lots of obligations, it can be hard to shut your mind off to sleep. Creating lists and shutdown routines ensures your mind feels more organized and that you won’t forget your responsibilities, making it easier to relax and fall asleep.
- More quality time - By keeping a routine, you can spend more time with your loved ones because you’re more likely to stick to time limits. This can lead to more family dinners, quality conversations, etc. because you’re not stuck at work wrapping up duties you didn’t properly plan for. It can also clear your mind to have a routine so you’re more present for conversations with loved ones, an excellent way to connect and improve mental health.
- Better physical health - Better health happens when you put in a little extra planning and discipline. When you’ve created a solid routine, you can exit the workplace when you have planned to do so. This can give you more time for after-work activities like a family walk or even local sports league events.
Simple Tips for Creating a Workday Shutdown Ritual
Your daily routine will look different from other coworkers. But making your own based on your preferences, work style, and obligations can make all the difference. Create one and try it for a week or so to see how you like it. You can always tweak it as you see fit. You may want to begin this routine an hour or 30 minutes prior to leaving work.
Not sure where to start?
Here’s a look at ways to shut down work for the day:
Check-in and Log Out
At the end of each day, if you work on a computer, take the time to go through your various tabs and close them out. Any communication platforms, websites, emails, etc. should be checked and closed. There is always more work to be done, but do a final sweep to make sure you have answered any urgent messages, and then close it all out. This will offer a mental sense of closure, too!
Prep for the Following Day
Look at your calendar and note any meetings, projects, etc. that you need to be prepared for the following day. Plan out tasks that you didn’t finish to be moved to the next day. Write out a list or update a planner or calendar to help you get right to work on important tasks.
Clean Up Clutter
Physical clutter can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. It can cloud your mental space, too. Take the time at the end of the day to clear off unwanted food items, wrappers, empty cups, papers, etc. Put back items in their places to start your next work day off with a physically clean space. It will help you do your best work.
Reflect on Any Wins
When you wrap up your planning and decluttering, take a deep breath. Think about anything positive or a win you had during the day. Reflect on it for a moment or two and congratulate yourself. It’s important to remember that your progress and accomplishments — no matter how small — are worth celebrating.
This can be the hardest part for those who are workaholics. Physically get up and walk away from your workspace. If this is in your home, definitely ensure you turn off your computer and close a door if you can. When you walk away, take a moment to remember work is done and it’s time for play and relaxation. Work can wait until the following day and you’ll be prepared to tackle it then!
Forget to do something during your shutdown routine and know you won’t remember it the following day? Text yourself or make a note of it on your phone. That way, you can let it rest mentally and you know you’ll tackle it without forgetting because you physically wrote it down. It’s a great trick to stay out of your inbox and off your computer — or worse — actually going back into your workspace to put it on your to-do list!
Start Your End-of-Day Routine Today!
By creating your workday shutdown routine, you’re telling yourself you trust that you’ll get what it is you need to get done. You’ve planned it and organized it and it will be waiting for you when you arrive the next day.
It also reduces decision fatigue. We can all opt for less decision-making throughout the day with a little patience, organization, and prepping on our part. It will give you a greater sense of peace mentally and physically, too. It can also create positive habits in other parts of your life — such as a bedtime or morning routine — that can further create a ripple effect that’s good for your health.
As you start your new workday shutdown routine, remember every day is different. Give yourself grace and know that it’s okay to not have a perfect routine at the end of each day. Be flexible and enjoy the process of knowing your new habit is having a positive impact on your work and life.
What are some of your favorite ways to wrap up work at the end of the day? Share in the comments below!