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What Is a Shutdown Routine and Why I Swear By It

Updated: Mar 27

shutdown routine and increased productivity

Do you know that you will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime?! There are only 24 hours in a day, so if you spend on average 8.5 hours at work daily, you are left with 15.5 hours. After you take out all the activities that you have to do such as sleep or eat, there is not that much time available.

What would you do if you had an extra hour in your day? No, I don’t mean you will clean the dishes, fold the laundry, or cram more stuff. What would you do if there were no obligations to fulfill?

Intrigued? I thought you would be. So, read on to learn what a shutdown routine is and how it can give you that extra time.

But before we start, are you part of my community? Join my newsletter to get the latest action steps on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet, de-stress, manage your time better, prioritize yourself, and anything in between so that you INCREASE your energy, SAVE time, and INVEST well in your wellness!

Stress Less

Destination: You!

Before we jump into how to get that extra hour in your day, let’s talk about what would you do if you had that time. Research shows that when asked most people say that they would finally complete all the chores.

But let’s face it. Aren’t you tired already? Why would you want to add more stuff to your already full plate?

You see, we are programmed that way. You want to say yes to your friend to help her out, or you want to impress your boss, so you say yes to working overtime. Or you want to prove that you are a good mother, so you agree to host that birthday party.

At the core of your being is the need to belong. That is why you don’t want to disappoint anyone. Except that the more you add to your day, the more stress you create.

And of course, the more time you spend on not disappointing others, the less time you have to spend on yourself.

Many manifestation gurus use the magic wand technique. So, if you had a magic wand and you had an extra hour guilt-free, what would you do? There is no point in having time if you don’t know what you would do with it!

So, let’s go to dreamland, and wave that magic wand. Pause for a moment, close your eyes, and imagine yourself feeling relaxed, happy, and carefree. What would you be doing?

Dream big. I’ll wait.

What Is a Shutdown Routine

Now when you know what you would do with that extra time, you need to create it. And shutdown routine can help you do that.

A shutdown routine is, as the name suggests, a way you finish your day. In a way, it is similar to having a daily deadline.

Neuroscience 101 shows that the human brain works best when it is given a deadline. If you have a task to complete and give yourself one hour to complete it, that is how long it will take. But if you give yourself thirty minutes, it will only take that much.

Our brain doesn’t operate on ‘vague’ timeframes. It needs specifics. That is why by creating a time block, you will work more efficiently. And you will be more productive.

So first, you need to establish what time will you stop working today. What is the finish aka deadline time? Your shutdown routine doesn’t need to take more than five minutes. Mine takes usually less than that.

As part of your shutdown routine, you check if you accomplished your day’s goals, and you plan for the next day. And you do it every day at the same time, so the time you finish for the day.

How You Create More Time

You most likely noticed that I use routine to talk about the way you finish your day. Don’t kid yourself. You can’t create more time if you do a shutdown routine once a month and forget about it for the other twenty-nine days.

A routine means that you repeat the same activity every day.

You need to follow a routine to see if your goals are feasible and if you can accomplish them during your day. Or if you pick the right tasks for the next day that will move you forward. Or if you just writing the same to-do lists over and over and not getting any traction.

Once you can see a pattern, you can make tweaks to your daily goals, and what you want to accomplish. And most importantly if you have enough working hours to do so.

Why I Swear By My Shutdown Routine

You may say, this is great, but it means yet another to-do thing on my list! It may seem like that at first, but it’s not.

When I first started doing a shutdown routine, I didn’t think much about it. I was just ticking (or not) tasks from my to-do list. Until I started seeing a pattern.

Every time I didn’t complete my goals, my energy plummeted. But when I realised that I had to break the task into smaller pieces, I was able to complete it. And after the end of the day, I had something to show for, and my energy was high.

But what’s important about the shutdown routine, is the second part of it. The planning for the next day. When you finish for the day, you can clearly see what needs to be done next to move you further.

You are more deliberate about picking tasks that need to be done versus relying on how you feel in the morning. If you wake up tired, stressed, and overwhelmed you will not feel like calling that important client, having a tough conversation with your daughter, or exercising.

However, if you already planned for it, there is that much more chance of you following through on your plans.

Planning the day before is also great for your productivity. As you know, our brain is the most productive two to three hours after we wake up. Do you want to spend this precious time on being creative or on making to-do lists?

It was a true breakthrough for me when in the morning I sat down already knowing where my focus needed to go. Of course, you make adjustments and tweaks as they come up, for any day-to-day emergencies, but stress won’t derail your plans anymore.

Create Your Shutdown Routine

So, are you with me on this one? Go back to the magic wand question and imagine that you saved time, and you can spend it the way you want it. That there are no obligations you need to fulfill, this time is yours truly.

A shutdown routine will increase your energy levels, and productivity and remove the stress and overwhelm from your day. You will feel better. So, are you ready to take the next step and create your own shutdown routine?

But before we start, are you part of my community? Join my newsletter to get the latest action steps on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet, de-stress, manage your time better, prioritize yourself, and anything in between so that you INCREASE your energy, SAVE time and INVEST well in your wellness!

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