As I wrote about here, I worked with a coach during my last six months as a doctoral student at Cornell.
My coach taught me many things. One of the most useful tools she gave me was also the simplest: park downhill at the end of every workday.
My coach wasn't talking about driving. She wanted me to get into the habit of consciously noting my next steps. This is what she called 'parking downhill.'
I've been following her advice for nearly a decade and it's made a big difference in my workflow.
When I park downhill, I can jump right back into productive mode. I simply release the handbrake and start rolling.
…instead of sitting there, not remembering where I left off…
…and then checking Facebook, LinkedIn, and my emails in an attempt to “warm-up” my brain….
… until I realize I’ve lost (at least) an hour of my best working time to online distractions.
That’s why consciously and deliberately ending my work session has been such a powerful practice for me.
It creates a buffer against distractions.
It builds a direct onramp to productive mode (pardon the driving pun, I couldn’t resist).
And I get the added benefit of establishing a clear boundary between work and rest, which is great for my mental health. (For more on this topic click here).
In the past few years, I've taken it to the next level by also establishing a short ‘warm-up’ ritual. I now start my day by identifying my goals and making a rough schedule for the hours ahead.
Want to try it out? Check out my PLAN YOUR DAY WORKSHEET. It guides you through a series of simple questions that will help you deliberately start and end your workday.
Try it out and let me know what you think.