The Shutdown

The Shutdown is a powerful tool to let go of concerns around work or school and enjoy your time off. It is very important to get time off, not only because it lets stress levels drop, but also because it will increase your excitement and productivity when you return to the task.

Deep-work expert Cal Newport discusses this tool in detail in his book Deep Work.

The Ritual

You get to make up your own ritual when work or school are done and you are ready to Shutdown. Having a ritual makes the process more conclusive and can also be enjoyable.

The ritual can be performed with words or actions.

Two Examples:

  • Say: "Shutdown : three, two, one. Complete."
  • Do: Shutdown by having a cup of tea, or going for a predetermined walk

Two Alternatives:

  • Create your own personalized ritual.
  • If the idea of a ritual does not interest you, simply tell yourself that you are doing a "Shutdown."

User's Manual:

  1. Complete the days work
  2. Check your calendar or confirm with yourself that no urgent tasks remain
  3. Perform your shutdown ritual
  4. Once this ritual is performed, if any thoughts or worries around work pop into your head, gently defer them until work or school starts the next day

Optional: Reflect after trying for 5 days - Does the Shutdown improve your week?