End of Workday Routine

Work + Life

I’m starting a new end of workday routine. I’ve heard that taking a few minutes to do this will help me transition from work mode to home mode. Which has been a challenge with my whole family at home 24/7.

It’s so tempting to just stay on my laptop… I’ve worked from home for years, so for me this is not about the coronavirus. Trying to build a business out of thin air takes effort, focus, gumption, drive, perseverance and research. Oodles and oodles of learning new things. I’ve worked far into the night on too many occasions. “Once I have 5 new clients, I’ll relax” or “After I’m making steady money, I’ll take a break.” Too often, my kids have had takeout or delivery or another blue box of noxious mac & cheese because I’ve been CONSUMED with work.

It takes a toll. Even though my heart is in the right place and my actions are well-intentioned, there’s still a woeful lack of work/life balance. And both the work and the life suffer for it.

Not to mention, the lack of balance is stressful, and can easily lead to burnout.

Protect the work/life balance

signpost with work school home

My home currently serves as two offices, a middle school and a high school classroom, as well a residence. I need an end of workday routine to signal when work time ends and personal time begins.

I’m an old pro on how to prioritize a workload and manage time.  But I can be a real workaholic when I’m making progress on a project that interests me. Even after I’ve finished working for the day, I tend to find myself back at the computer again.

Having had some experience with burnout syndrome, I give it a resounding “no, thank you” and am vigilant against it happening again.

This is a struggle for me. There are so many interruptions and distractions throughout the day, from my own busy brain to the husband and teenagers. They can’t tell if I’m looking at my Amazon shopping cart or if I’m handling a tricky website migration. So it’s, “Can I go to Sarah’s?” or “Where are my tap shoes?” and “Did you feed the cats?” all day long.

All. Day. Long.

And sometimes, when it is the end of the workday, I feel like the work has gotten short-changed, that I haven’t moved the needle enough yet. Boxes on the to-do list that are left unchecked make me itchy and restless.

To switch gears and wind-down, I’ve done some research (of course I have) and developed the following end-of-workday routine.

End of Workday Routine

  • Move completed tasks to the “done” list, update project notes with what got done today.
  • Identify the top 3 priorities for tomorrow and schedule them on my calendar.
  • De-clutter my digital desktop: close open browser tabs and shut down email.
  • De-clutter my physical workspace: remove coffee cups, throw out the trash and put away anything that I pulled out.
  • Go for a walk or get in a workout. I’ll walk alone if I need to time away from people; I’ll invite someone along if I haven’t had enough social time.