Have you ever ended your workday only to feel like, well, you haven’t actually ended it? In our increasingly technological and interconnected world, it’s all too easy to feel as though our work travels with us everywhere we go. From the “ding” of a new email that distracts us from a family meal to the client who abuses the privilege of having our personal cell numbers by firing off after-hours texts, if we aren’t careful, we can slide into a state of constantly kind-of-working while kind-of-recharging.

In Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, author and work expert Cal Newport stresses the value of implementing a regular end-of-the-workday “shutdown” routine as a means of signaling to your brain and body that it’s time to leave the stresses of work behind and transition into personal time. As we’ve discussed before, Newport explains that the key to its success is consistency: repeating the same ritual every day ingrains the truth that once your work for the day is complete, it’s “safe” to kick back for the night.

But it’s not just those final few minutes that make a difference—the way we start the day can also set us up for a satisfying finish. And those in-between hours matter, too. By being intentional with our days, we can maximize productivity while we’re working and lean into rest when we’re off, ultimately creating a more clear distinction between work and leisure time. Here are some ideas you can try to make both your working hours and your resting hours more meaningful.

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