If you have ever stayed in a hotel room, chances are you have asked for a wake-up call at some point. But have you ever asked for a shut-down call? When I suggest this to busy business travelers, their first reaction is, “Huh?” Their second reaction, upon learning more, is, “What a great idea!”
So what is a shut-down call and how can it work for you?
Simply call your hotel’s front desk and ask them to call you at the time you want to shut down your work for the evening. They may also say, “Huh?” when you ask them for a shut-down call, so just ask them to call you at the desired time (a wake-up call at 9pm, for example).
Why are you asking for a shut-down call?
Because many of us will work, work, work until we can’t keep our eyes open any longer. Before you know it, the time has flown and it’s too late now to call your spouse or kids (oops!). Before you know it, you’ve missed your favorite TV show because you were trying to get just one more thing done. Before you know it, you’re too tired to exercise, too tired to wash your make-up off your face. You may even be too tired to brush your teeth. You simply stagger into bed with the promise to yourself that you’ll work less tomorrow.
Asking for a shut-down call is also a great productivity booster, believe it or not. Having a deadline helps keep your focus on getting things done. The sense of unlimited time gets replaced by “oh, I only have 30 more minutes before I’m closing my laptop for the evening.” I am always amazed at how much more I can accomplish when I am more focused on the clock.
When your shut-down call comes in, adhere to it! Close down your laptop, prepare your to-do list for the next day to clear your head, and then shift the focus to you. Call your family or a friend. Get to the fitness center. Enjoy a bath. Read a book. Meditate. Even if this ‘you-time’ is only for 15 or 30 minutes before you put your head on the pillow for the night, it’s probably 15 or 30 minutes more than you would give yourself without the shut-down call. A better night’s rest is more likely when you have transition time before work and sleep.
I know it’s not easy to put work aside when there is always so much to get done and so many emails to respond to. Believe me, I know! But I also know how much more productive I am (and in less time!), how much more relaxed I am and how much better care I take of myself when I have a work deadline.
Give a shut-down call a try. Your hotel should be happy to comply. If you like this idea and want to try it while at home, try Wakerupper as your shut-down call service.
Then, on an evening before your shut down call comes in, do share on how this is working for you!