Establish A Shut Down Routine For Maximum Clarity

Michelle Mac
4 min readJul 5, 2021

A shutdown routine is something you do at the end of your workday that tells your brain, I’m finished with work today.

By making a shut down routine part of your daily habits, you’ll find that your mind can focus on other things outside of your work.

Once your mind knows that your tasks have been handled for the day, you’ll be less likely to think about that email you need to send or that random task you should prioritize.

You can spend time with family and friends and be free from distraction.

Why You Should Have A Shutdown Routine

Doing Work Creates Open Loops

The case for a daily shutdown routine is simple.

It allows you to finish your work for the day with the knowledge that the things you need to do are being managed.

It can be easy to take your work home with you, especially in a world where many of us are already working from home.

You might justify this extra work to yourself saying “I’ll only spend an extra hour finishing this task” or “I’m already working on this project so I may as well finish it”.

Cue to hours later and you haven’t eaten your dinner or talked to your family all evening!

It’s very easy for this to happen, especially when there are lots of tasks and thoughts floating around in your head.

It can seem like it’s easier to get all the work done now instead of taking a break and doing it tomorrow.

The problem with this is that all these open loops or uncompleted tasks take up space in your mind.

This is what’s known as the Zeigarnik Effect and it can actually impair your ability to make good decisions.

One of the best ways to overcome this effect is with a shut down routine at the end of your workday.

As part of your shut down routine, you can:

  • Scan your tasks and the things you are working on
  • Make a plan for what to work on tomorrow
  • Then close your computer and get on with your day free from the stress of what you think you “should be…



Michelle Mac

The *heavily edited* ramblings of a technical writer & frontend dev. I write about creativity, design, and productivity. Start here: