Max Gfeller All Articles
November 18th, 2020

The Importance of Shutting Down

Self Improvement

I've been almost exclusively working from home for 7 months now and only went to the office about once every two weeks. While i'm really enjoying spending so much time at home and generally feeling way more productive, it can sometimes be hard to switch off in the evening.

Last week i tried a new method that i found boosted my overall productivity and helped me maintain a better work-life balance. It's as easy as switching off the computer in the evening. Now, this might sound very straight forward but before last week, i almost never switched off my laptop. I would just lock the screen when connected to the big display or close the laptop otherwise. I found that taking the time to properly shut it down has many benefits, which i will detail here.

Shutting down


Switching off you computer in the evening means that you have to take time to properly finish up your work for the day. This may include doing some last few changes, committing your code, finishing an issue or just sending out one last email.

Did you implement a new feature? Great, but don't leave the whole polishing up and documenting for the next day.

Finally found a nasty bug? Awesome, but don't leave all that console.log statements in your code for yourself to fix the next day.

Properly finish the work.

The advantage here is that your mind knows that todays work is done. It is way easier to leave work behind for the day and not having to think about it the whole evening. This is especially important before the weekend.

Starting new

Instead of blindly picking up where you have left off the day before, you can now start with a clean plate in the morning. Before you start your work, think about what you want to accomplish today, write it up, and then do it. Step by step.

And make sure to finish it in the evening.

And by the way, finishing in this context does not mean completing the whole feature. It means finishing the current chunk of it. A good question to ask yourself is: "If i suddenly get sick tomorrow, could a co-worker pick up where i left off today?".

If you couldn't get as much done today as you initially planned; don't worry. It happens to all of us. But still make sure to commit your changes, maybe add a comment to your issues, or text your colleagues. It will be easier to continue from there.

Saving energy

While i'm very concerned about the environment, i'll be honest: saving energy was not one of the reasons why i started to switch off my computer in the evening. However, although stand-by modes on modern computers are not that energy-consumptive, this still makes a difference.

Also, this ensures that your computer always installs the latest security updates and it does so after your work - so no more waiting for a critical update to finish in the middle of the day.

Just switch off your computer, it doesn't hurt - and it will improve your life, i promise.

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