If our goal is to create a masterpiece day, where do we start?

According to philosopher Brian Johnson, we begin with our nighttime practices and habits.  What he calls our “PM Bookend.”

Step one, Brian tells us, is to create a “bright line” between the end of our work day and our family or personal time.

“Shutdown complete,” Brian calls it.  He suggests we decide when and how we will end our workday and make a ritual of it. Say “shutdown complete” out loud and then physically shutdown our computer and phone.  

Brian points out that continuing to work while we are attempting to attend to our family or personal time is a mistake.  

Instead: work hard when we are working.  

And, play hard when we are playing.  

Our goal is to increase our intensity.  When we increase our intensity at work, we get way more done. Intensity is a function of our energy and focus. And, we increase our energy and focus when we know we will be making a hard stop from work at a specific time.

As we move from work into family and personal time, we want to see and feel the transition from deep work to deep love.  Work off.  Technology off.  

Once again, we aim to engage 100%.  With our family. With our personal matters.  

The second best practice is to create what Brian calls a “digital sunset.” When we stimulate ourselves with Netflix or our phone before turning in, we disrupt our ability to get a good night’s rest. Blue light from our digital devises disrupts our melatonin and our ability to get maximum rest.

Don’t shake our snowglobe right before bedtime!

So, at least one hour before bedtime, we turn off all our electronics, including our television and phone.  

Brian has a handy acronym for any goal we set: WOOP.

Wish: What would our ideal PM bookend look like?

Outcome: How would this benefit me?

Obstacles: What’s in the way?  Perhaps working too late?  Checking email?  Watching TV?  

Plan: Put an action plan in place to overcome the obstacles.

We start by creating a vision for how we want our evenings to go.  Then, we get to work with an experimenter’s mindset.  We experiment and practice.  And, when we fall short, we look at the data and get back to work.  


Reflection:  What would be some benefits of making a brighter line between work and family time?

Action:  Experiment with shutdown complete and a digital sunset.

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