Why A Shutdown Ritual Is Becoming More Important

BY Jessica Helinski
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A shutdown ritual may not be a routine of yours, but it might just be what you need in 2021. While many salespeople have likely heard of, and adopted, a routine to kick start their day, most pay no mind to how they end their workday. This is a mistake, especially considering how many currently work at home in some capacity. “As work increasingly moves into homes and personal devices, the boundaries separating our ‘professional’ and ‘personal’ lives are becoming increasingly indistinct,” according to a recent article appearing on Timely. “But we desperately need those boundaries, to support our well-​being, end unpaid digital labor and deconstruct our culture of constant availability.”

Shutdown ritual: What is it?

Timely’s article lays out a very simple way for salespeople to mindfully close out their work each day. But first, they define this ritual as:

A small set of tasks that you perform at the end of your workday. Requiring around 5 to 10 minutes, they are a cascade of actions that help you take stock of your day and prepare for the next, ultimately, so you can completely suspend all work thoughts for the rest of the day.”

This routine, like a morning start plan, sets a tone; only this end-​of-​day shutdown ritual preps your evening and next workday.


There are plenty of benefits to setting aside a few moments to close out your workday on a positive note, including:

  • Leaving work at work. It’s tough to balance work and personal life. And, it’s especially difficult for those reps who are working at home. But, having a clear definition to the end of your workday is vital to mental health. “…shutdown routines support a healthy work/​life separation,” Timely explains. “They help you mentally disengage from work, so you can be fully present in your personal time and without your thoughts wandering back to work.”
  • Reduce work-​related worries. Having a shutdown ritual will prevent loose ends from causing stress once your work hours have ended.
  • Boosting productivity. Yes, you are ending a workday, but you are also setting the foundation for the next one. Not only will a shutdown ritual set up structure, it will also outline priorities when beginning in the morning.

How to create your own

Timely shares a few helpful tips to get you started on creating your own shutdown ritual. Here is the first step they suggest:

Gather outstanding tasks, requests and questions. Take a moment to gather all of your unfinished tasks into a backlog to organize them. Then, go through your communications, from Slack messages to tagged comments, and note those that include requests, questions and other to-do’s. Also, don’t forget to add any links, bullet points or notes that could help you out the next day. 

Timely’s other six tips can be found in their article, and they are just as easy to implement. If it seems like too much at once, focus on just one step at a time for a while. Or, feel free to pick and choose to build you personalized shutdown ritual. As Timely points out, “There is no single ‘correct’ routine out there; a good shutdown ritual will reflect your personal work organization system, role, habits and work anxieties. It shouldn’t be too rigid or intense, and it shouldn’t take too long either.”