End Your Workday Cleanly

You arrive home from work and completely forgot to stop at the bank, the store, the pharmacy, the _____.  How did I space that out?  You wake up at 2 AM and relive the outcome of the meeting with your boss, coworker, direct report, ______.  You not only relive it one or two times–you relive it twenty times by the time it’s 2:15 AM.  Not a good night’s sleep.  You open your front door after a full day’s work and all you want to do is zone out with a glass of wine and Grey’s Anatomy reruns.  The last thing you want to do is hear about your partner’s lousy day.  Not a very healthy or positive end to your day.

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There is an answer for this end-of-day malaise and ensuing erosion to your health and happiness.  I subscribe to an app called Whil.  One of the series on the app is called “Live Fully Every Day” by Peter Bonanno.  I have been using his “End Your Workday Cleanly” for about a week and the transition from work to home has vastly improved.  Instead of waking up at all hours of the night with a huge to-do list for work, replaying the not-so productive production meeting, or trying to escape into Never Neverland when arriving at home–I’ve found I am finally able to bring closure to the day.

 

Here are ideas for clearing out your day:

 

  • Journal at workday’s end. This has been a real life saver for me.  I sleep better and am able to transition into my life at home much more energized.  Bonanno recommends writing this with pen and paper.  Melanie Pinola equally recognizes the importance of handwriting your thoughts in her Life Hacker article: “The Wall Street Journal discusses several studies that show students who took handwritten notes outperformed those who typed their notes on their computers.  Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.”  So take out a piece of paper at the end of the workday and answer these prompts:

 

Journal Prompt:

 

What I am feeling right now is…

 

What’s left for me to do another time is…

 

What I’m grateful for today is…

 

This is a great brain dump that clears you head.  And it ends on a high note by highlighting what you are grateful for, which is a positive punch to the end of the workday.

 

  • Transition when arriving home to a quick walk with a friend or significant other.  As Bonanno pointed out, he and his wife walked at days end, but since they were not journaling, the walks took forever and started to turn into a pity party at times.  After starting to journal at the end of the work day, the walk with his spouse took maybe 10 minutes of recounting the day.  It became a much more positive experience.  Positivity is good and helps your evening get off to a great start.  So you’ve done your brain dump, you’ve connected with a loved one and now you are going to have a much better evening.

 

  • 10 minutes of daily planning. At your day’s end, do what Stephen Covey has espoused for decades.  Take ten minutes to plan your next day.  This along with the journaling helps you schedule the various things you never got to and places them in plain sight for the next day of work.  I’ve been doing this for at least a decade and I am rarely caught off guard by missing something.  It’s also part of Choice 3 of the Franklin Covey’s Five Choices to Extraordinary Productivity.  Couple this with 30 minutes of weekly planning, and both will keep you on target with your personal vision and mission.

 

Self-reflection on a daily basis is a way of acknowledging what you have accomplished.  It’s so easy to get caught up in what you didn’t do instead of what you actually did.  Instead of thinking about “what went wrong”, think of “what didn’t go wrong”.  The glass is half full.

20 Itzy Bitzy Physical Habits You Can Start Right Now.

Most of the clients that I coach are looking to increase their physical activity. Increasing your physical activity is one of the best ways to pump-up your brain function, your emotional field and it’s an endorphin rush. I’ve had clients call or text me because their boss just yelled at them and the first thing I tell them is to go take a walk. Getting outside and in the elements connects you to the world. It makes you get back into your body instead of lingering in your head.

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1. Put your sneakers by your bed.
2. Walk first thing every morning.
3. Park your car in the farthest parking spot.
4. Wear your fitbit (pedometer) all the time.
5. Do 10 squats as you brush your teeth.
6. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
7. Set an alarm on your phone and get up and walk around once an hour.

You’re thinking these things are WAY too easy and it won’t make a difference. The thing is as Darren Hardy wrote in The Compound Effect, that even if you decide to walk an extra 1,000 steps every day, two weeks from now there won’t be an observable difference but after two years? If you average 2,500 steps a day and all things hold constant, you will lose 13 pounds. So you won’t need new pants for a while but you are still having an impact on your body (and mind).

8. Walk the grocery cart all the way back to the grocery store.
9. Have walking meetings instead of sitting.
10. Go up and down your stairs ten times every morning.
11. Take the long way to every meeting.
12. Commit to driving to the gym three times a week (going in is optional).
13. Walk instead of using people movers or trams at the airport.
14. Spend down time at airports and train stations walking the terminal.

I’ve done #14. I had a 2 hour layover in Terminal B at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta. I walked that terminal at least 10 times and had over 3 miles racked up. I thought it might be obvious that I was walking aimlessly. I didn’t even get as much as a funny look. People are worried about their little world in public places so unless I was doing the Macarena, I doubt anyone would have noticed.

15. Sign up for yearlong challenges like 2015 (miles) in 2015.
16. Walk your dog.
17. For shorter distances, skip mass transit and walk.
18. Spend 10 minutes on an exercise dvd 3 times a week.
19. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair for one hour a day.
20. Walk to the farthest bathroom in the building (or house).

There are so many great benefits from movement. As written in John Ratey’s book, Spark, movement helps your body utilize energy more efficiently, regular movement helps you be more social, calm down, fight depression, improve focus, and make better decisions. The payoff from one itzy bitzy habit is HUGE. Which one will you start with?