End of Day Routines Are as Important as Morning Routines

Mar 6, 2023

End of Day Routines Are as Important as Morning Routines

by | Mar 6, 2023

We hear a lot about morning routines. Meditate. Drink warm lemon water. Exercise. Practice gratitude … I bet you’ve tried a morning routine before. It’s great to know how to start your day before you really wake up. 

But how do you tell your brain it's time to switch into work mode? And more importantly, how do you let your brain know it’s off the clock? 

Opening Routines and End of Day Routines trigger your brain to know it’s time to start and end work. 

Opening Routines

Your morning routine starts your day, but your opening routine starts your work day. 

A lot of us start the work day without really thinking about it. We check Slack, open our email, look at whatever tab is open from the night before. (We might even start our work day before we start our work day … I know I’m not the only one checking messages while making sure my kids have lunch for school.) 

What if you got really intentional. Your opening routine can set up your brain to focus and do its best work. 

Here are a few ways to start your day with intention: 

  • Take 10 deep breaths
  • Pull an oracle card to guide your day
  • Taking a “power pose” next to your desk
  • Reciting a mantra
  • Listen to a “get going” song
  • Starting a fresh list of the day’s tasks.
  • Wipe down your work surface with a pleasant smelling wipe (this was mine for the years I worked at my dining room table. My coconut cleansing wipes signaled my brain that my work day was about to start, and the wiping down ensured I didn’t put my laptop in a leftover smear of syrup from breakfast.) 
  • Enjoy your green juice or coffee. 
  • Review or set your top priorities for the day. 
  • Light a candle (blowing it out can be part of your closing routine … more on that in a minute)

Your startup routine can take 30 minutes or 30 seconds. It’s the repeated action each day that trains your brain to know it's time to transition to business. 

Closing Routines

Do you work all the time — or feel like you do? First step is to set work hours. Second step is to let your brain know you are done for the day. Just like you need an opening routine, you need a closing routine. 

My closing routine keeps me from waking up in panic in the middle of the night thinking about something I have to do the next day. I realized that my panic at 3 am was because my brain was afraid I was going to forget something important. Now, at the end of my work day, I have a closing routine that helps me avoid this panic thinking. 

At the end of the day, I review what I have done that day, celebrate my wins, check my calendar for the next day and write out a fresh to-do list of the most important things to get done the next day (and even schedule those onto my calendar if I can.) 

Then I close my computer, straighten my desk, take the dishes to the kitchen, recycle papers, plug in my devices to charge, and shut down my laptop. 

This takes about 15 minutes and it both signals to my brain that I’m done working for the day AND it sets me up for the next day! 

Think about what you want in your closing routine: 

  • Blow out your candle if you lit one at the beginning of the day
  • Write a win/gratitude 
  • Check out with team 
  • Check tomorrow's calendar 
  • Write out tomorrow's to dos 
  • Journal 
  • Check metrics 
  • Listen to a certain song
  • Walk (I know people who work at home who walk out of their house and back in again) 
  • Tidy desk or office 
  • Close the office door
  • Shut off computer 

As with your opening routine, the repetition is the key part to training your brain, so set up a routine that works for you. It could be just one thing that you do, like closing out all the tabs you have open. You could start by thinking about things you already do. Or choose something that sets you up for the next day or that feels like an ending. Something that includes one of your senses, like a scent or a sound or a taste can be really powerful. 

So what’s your opening routine? What’s your closing routine?

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