Working hard and having a strong work ethic is something to strive for. At the same time, balance is very important, as is giving ourselves time to rest mentally and emotionally from the rigours of our work. This disconnection from our work allows us to better connect and engage in other people and things we love.

It is our own egos that expect us to be continually connected to our work, no one and nothing else. Let us structure our primary work hours, leave the office, and leave our work and our works mind there where it belongs. This will starve the distraction and feed more focus to the other areas of our lives such as family and our passions; and drive productivity. How can we achieve this? With a daily shutdown routine.

Made popular by author Cal Newport, a shutdown routine is a daily ritual we can do to turn ourselves off from work when it is time. It is a strategy to prevent our work-related anxieties and a ruminating mind.

Schedule your shutdown from work, highlight the exact time you want to leave the office and give yourself 15mins to shutdown. Within this time review your days efforts and where you currently stand with your important tasks and projects. With this information, plan your efforts and tasks for tomorrow and the rest of the week. With this done you can trust yourself that everything required of you has a thought-out plan and you can pick it all up tomorrow; including the calls, texts, and emails. To add conclusion to your work day, Cal Newport suggests following this by shutting everything down, computer and mind, with a mantra such as ‘shutdown complete’.

Though this simple routine might not be enough to stop the busy mind when we leave our office. When stray worries, deadlines, and catastrophic work events enter your mind, pay attention to them and remind yourself that these worries exist, but you wouldn’t have been able to shutdown earlier if these were not already managed by a plan.
‘Shutdown’ is a very simple routine that can go along way with improving our connections and relationships with the people and things we love, limiting our distractions, improving rest, and driving productivity in our life’s craft.