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How I've achieved success with my shutdown routine

Written on June 6, 2022

At the end of each work day, I have a ritual of shutting down from work.

This is something that I’ve struggled with doing for the longest time—committing to shutting down at the end of the day.

In the past I would reason that whatever task I’m doing at hand is more important than to wind down from the day’s work. But what I found was I was disorganized the next day, I couldn’t easily transition from work to life (especially in a remote setting) and I spent a lot of mental energy organizing and getting into work the following work day.

Here’s how I’ve achieved success in doing my daily shutdown routine.

Make the routine the same everyday

My shutdown routine consists of 11 tasks that I complete at the end of each work day.

While it may sound like a lot, I can get through my entire shutdown list in about 15 to 30 minutes based on how complex the day was.

With the combination of templates and some automations, I’m able to replicate my routine quickly across my systems.

Schedule it in your calendar

Block out a chunk of time at the end of your work day in your calendar to do your shutdown routine.

I’ve scheduled my shutdown routine as a recurring event at the end of each day from 4:15 PM to 4:45 PM.

I’ve come to heavily rely on my calendar since time-blocking work. For this reason, adding a time-block to shutdown automatically kicks off the routine in my brain.

Benefits of having a successful shutdown routine

Since unlocking my shutdown routine, I’m more organized the next day.

This is important because as an engineer, I have daily stand ups and I’m able to share concisely about my progress and issues. Previously, I’d spend the morning scrambling to come up with a worthy update to share with the team.

I’m able to ramp up into my work quicker the following day.

At the end of each work day, I’m able to clear out my brain which means I can join my family immediately and be both physically and mentally present for them.

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