How to bookend your day to help your writing

Reading time: About 2 minutes

If you write, particularly if you write from home, you also need to find a way to STOP writing. This post describes how to bookend your day…

By Ann Gomez

When you work from home most of the time, as I do, the lines between your work and home life often blur. You may feel as though you’re always “on,” and work has a way of spilling over into evenings and weekends.

This depletes your attention and your energy reserves. And attention and energy are exactly what you need to do your best work and be present in your personal life.

After all, as Daphne Gray-Grant says, “Writing — like cooking, cleaning, and parenting — is a job that knows no beginning or ending.”

So, what’s the secret to avoiding these blurred lines? It’s simple. Try adding a bookend to close out your day.

We always make more efficient use of a limited resource. And the resource in this case is your time. Declaring specific opening and closing times for your workday will prompt you to make the most of your precious working hours, so you can prioritize and focus on your most essential work.

A related strategy is a shutdown ritual, as described here. Essentially, this is a routine of actions you perform at the end of each workday to establish some boundaries for “closing shop.” It’s a signal that your workday is complete. You may find this helpful if you catch your mind wandering and you feel stressed about an unfinished task when you’re out on a family bike ride or in the middle of a yoga class.

This type of closing ritual is even more important if you don’t have a dedicated workspace or separate office. In this case, you can use cues to shift your brain out of work mode, such as a specific work placemat you use on the dining room table but put away at the end of your workday, or a storage bin where you keep your work-related supplies and materials. You put away the mat and the bin at the end of the day, when it’s time to shift to your personal routines.

Establishing a well-defined end to your workday will give your productivity a boost and clarify the boundaries between work and home.

Yes, there will always be more to do and the nature of modern work and technology is such that we can work wherever, whenever. But we need to balance this ability carefully with our need to disconnect, rest and recover, so we can return as our super-charged, most productive selves the next day.

For more strategies you can use to set yourself up for success, see Ann’s latest book, Workday Warrior: A Proven Path to Reclaiming Your Time, published by Dundurn Press, 2022.

Scroll to Top