The Importance of Crossing Daily Finish Lines

I am mostly offline, attending a business conference. I have asked several bloggers to post in my absence. This is a guest post by Tom Basson, the spiritual growth pastor at Grace Family Church in Durban, South Africa. You can connect with him on his blog or follow him on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

One of the most memorable moments of my life was crossing the finish line of the Comrades Ultra-Marathon.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Willowpix

After eighty-nine kilometers (fifty-six miles), and a grueling eleven hours and thirty-four minutes on the road, hand-in-hand with my mom, I crossed the finish line. We gave each other a hug and each shed a tear. It was a powerful moment I will never forget.

And it got me thinking about finishing lines—about how we don’t need them just at the end of a long hard race, but at the end of long hard day, too.

Something you never see an athlete doing is going back over the line to run some more. Of course not; the race is over!

Yet, so often in my own life, even though the “race” of a workday is over, I continue to “run”—to check email, answer calls, stress about problems at the office—when really I should be resting, relaxing, and giving my presence to my family.

That’s why this year I have started to intentionally create “finishing lines” at the end of everyday.

This is a space where I draw an imaginary line in the sand and choose to put the day behind me, shifting my attitude, heart, and thoughts towards the next part of my day—whether that’s exercise, recreation, or family time. Here’s how I do it:

As the final activity before leaving work in the evening, I set aside twenty minutes to take stock of what’s happened today and decide the most important tasks to accomplish tomorrow.

I do this by asking myself a series of questions:

  • How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges?
  • What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do differently, or the same, tomorrow?
  • Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Apologize? Ask a question? Share feedback?

Taking this time to reflect allows me to clarify my thoughts, collect myself, refuel and renew my mind, and make conscious “course corrections” that ultimately save time and energy. And it’s made all the difference.

Since I have started this practice, I am far less grumpy when I arrive home. I feel more in control, and am more clear about what I still have to accomplish.

Most importantly, it enables me to “switch off” from work when I’m at home and engage fully with the people I love most.

Crossing your finish line, whether at the end of a race or at the end of the day, is something that not only leaves you feeling satisfied and fulfilled, but motivates you to finish well.

Question: What do you do to cross your finish line everyday? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

    The ride home from work is definitely an important time for me as I transition from work to family.  When I arrive home from work, I want my family to know that I am present.  So my car ride home will typically start with 5-10 minutes of process time.  The radio is off, and I’m thinking about the day.  I usually allow myself 10-15 minutes of radio, music, or podcast time when I my mind can go to other places.  The last 5-10 minutes of my commute I pray for my family and go over the things that must be done that evening.

    Congrats on Comrades!  That’s an amazing feet!

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      That’s a great idea. I never thought of using the ride home as an intentional reflective time. Well done.

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        That’s great except for when you get so deep in thought that you forget that you’re driving!

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

           Haha. Been there, done that.

    • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

      Great tip, Jon. You are a very disciplined person. 

    • http://www.ninanesdoly.com/ Nina Nesdoly

      I love the idea of praying on your commute! Good for you.

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Thanks Tom. This a great post!

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      My wife and I used to work very closely together as well, and those ideas sound great.

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  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great post, Tom. I use a paper based daily planner and it’s nice to check off items through the day as I accomplish them. When I come in the next morning, I just copy over the items that haven’t been checked off, and start a new day. 

    Sometimes, when I have a lot on my mind, I use a nightstand planner to write down all the pending items I have at the end of the day. Next to each item, I write down an action step that I need to take to accomplish it. Writing down these items, takes them out of my conscious mind and puts them in a trusted place where I know that I will see them. This allows me to get to sleep without worrying about them. 

    I created a free template that you can download and print out along with simple instructions in this post on my blog. http://goals4u.us/eCVx0Q

    If you are having trouble sleeping, this might just help.

    • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

      I like the idea of creating a list of what I need to do the next day. I used to do this when I worked outside of the home. I may have to revisit that habit.

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        I did it for a couple of weeks. I’ve forgotten about it recently but it works for me. Time to start doing it again!

        • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

          Actually, as I think about this more, there are a lot of positive habits that I used to use when I worked out of the office. In my attempt to completely escape from that world, I had forgotten about them. I think it’s time to revisit that world again and take the good from it that I can use now. Time to stop repressing it!

  • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

    Love this analogy.

    We all need finish lines in different areas of our lives to delineate when one thing ends and another begins.

  • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

    Great thoughts Tom! I’ve been guilty of dragging work around with me long after the work day is over. So I made some of these items part of my life plan to keep me on track in top priority areas of my life.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Im so glad these thoughts have helped you in some way. Thanks for reading.

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        This has helped me too. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.leahadams.org/ Leah Adams

    Because I do most of my ministry work from home, this is a toughie. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the work and the home lives. I probably need to do a better job of this. My husband, on the other hand, is great at this. He is a dentist and when he leaves his office, he LEAVES his office.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Leah, I totally understand! I think ministry is particularly challenging because you are primarily dealing with people and relationships, and the line between work and your personal life is so blurred. I have really struggled with this over the years,  but this little practice has certainly made a difference…

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Both my husband and I run our businesses from home. We love it, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But sometimes we miss the days of working in an office and “punching out” at a set time. We have to work harder to draw (and cross) the finish line each day.

  • http://ThisMomsDelight.com Tami @ ThisMomsDelight.com

    I love this concept. It’s needed in my work and blogging, both!

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    I’ve had a home based office for 20+ and this is a huge challenge.  A couple of things I do:
    1.  When I am in my office…I am in my office.  I do not pop out to do a couple of things around the house.2.  When I leave my office…I leave my office.  I do not pop in to do a couple of emails etc.The intentionality you describe is the key to end the day and be able to shut the door to my home based office.  The days I end with my list for tomorrow are the nights I do not feel the tug of my home office.  Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Great line! “The days I end with my list for tomorrow are the nights I do not feel the tug of my home office.” 

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad P

    I am fortunate, no, blessed, to work at a great company where what we do makes a great difference in people’s lives every day.  And I work with incredible people.  So I don’t have many days where I take frustrations home with me.  Add to that a 45 minute drive, and my line gets drawn in the sand for me.

    But I absolutely understand what this is saying.  I think we need small victories, and need to know how to rejoice in them, every day.  They keep us engaged in the larger tasks/goals at hand.

    If we have a bad work environment and we take home a load of frustrations, other parts of our life will suffer.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Wow, Thad, It sounds like a great place to work!

  • http://twitter.com/moretobe Lisa

    What a great suggestion.  I’m going to follow suit and put it in my calendar and set up an email reminder.  Thanks!

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      Great idea. My calendar reminds me of everything else! Why not let it remind me to take stock of my day!

      • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

        I too work everything off my calendar and have actually set up a reminder to reflect at the end of each day

  • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

    Tom, thank you for sharing your experience with us. This is indeed a valuable lesson.
    I had done somthing similar before, at the end of a few complicated days, but not as a routine. I will definitely start doing that intentionally as you said.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Thanks for reading, and I;m glad it has encouraged you to live more intentionally again. Well done!

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    This is an area where I need to improve. Since I work at home, the line is much harder to see. Not sure what I will do yet, but I am determined to find a way to be better at this. I also need to be better at allowing interruptions by my kids and spouse. Sometimes, I need to just tell them to come back. However, I also need to be more aware of when it’s okay to be interrupted. Some of my best moments have been in the interruptions of life.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      So so true… “Some of my best moments have been in the interruptions of life” There is always a tension with these things…

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        For me, I am working to push through the the frustrations and let those moments happen. Funny that just now as I was typing this, my 13-year-old son just came and sat on my lap for a few minutes. So, I put down what I was doing and let the moment happen. I want to do that more often. I feel like I have been missing too many special moments by giving in to my tension rather than enjoying those moments when they happen.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Tom, great post!  For me it is the 30 minute drive to and from work.  While I drive over a particular bridge over a river I refocus to prepare for work or refocus and prepare for home.  The drive over the river often produces great sunrises and sunsets.  Crossing the start line and crossing the finish line is simply a river for me.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Thats great. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Love this tip, Tom.
    I try to “clock out” at a certain point in my day and do some reading. Not only does that make time for reading my life, but it begins the process of decompression before I go home to be with my family.
    I also try to do a daily review like you talk about. I’ve found that it helps me to make small changes to my life that day-by-day add up to a lot.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Loren, you are absolutely right. I have found that much of life’s successes are found in doing little things everyday…

  • Mtgmanfred

    We get so caught up in everday crap that you sometimes over look the obvious. Thanks for the reminder on this Michael.

  • http://exciramedia.com Shannon Steffen

    Absolutely brilliant!

    With all the technology, our lives are supposed to be simpler. The problem is that technology has made life more chaotic as we are addicted to the very things that were created to simplify our lives.

    It’s time to put on the breaks and take time to enjoy the life we have outside of the technology. As I tell my peers, technology comes and goes but love and family last a lifetime.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Amen to that. But easier said than done in my own life.

  • Gillian McShane-Shieldsmcshane

    my daily finish line would have to be adding to my teenage daughter and teenage son’s bucket. After reading “How full is your bucket” i went out and purchased a bucket charm and wear it as a reminder that in the business of our lives I need to set the filling of their buckets as a daily goal and cross it everyday. I don’t do it everyday , somedays I take from their buckets ….. that is something I need to work on. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       That is such a cool idea Gillian!

  • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

    Very timely message and analogy — thank you!

    My husband and I literally live at work, on the campus of a Christian boarding school, with supervision duties extending into evenings and weekends. It’s so easy for me to allow the demands and opportunities of my ministry to keep adding new events, responsibilities, and issues to each day. 

    At the suggestion of a good friend/mentor, I’ve been trying to put a purposeful end to each day . Otherwise, my life blurs into an ever-expanding list, with comma after comma but never a clearly defined “full stop” (to use the British term!)

  • Anonymous

    Great tips, Tom!  I often find myself sorting thru work issues at home or in bed.  Setting aside time in the afternoon. before leaving work, might be more productive.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      No problem Joseph. Glad it has helped in some small way.

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    I’ve said this before, but this post needs to be printed and posted on your wall at work (and home!)  How many years have I wasted, spending my time at home, while dwelling on my work day or situations at work?  Too darn many.  

    Thank you for this life changing post!  I’m implementing this today.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Wow! This is great! Thanks for your comment, and good luck with the implementation!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      You’re not alone!

  • http://www.eastafricametaproject.org/ Steve Barkley

    When I worked for a large corporation it was very easy for me to leave the office physically and mentally.  I had no problem separating my work life and family life.  It was almost like I was living two separate lives.  

    But since I have been self employed these lines are much more blurred.  With your own business you can feel like you are “at the office” 24/7.  Especially when it is a family business.  In a way it is great because I am finally doing something I am passionate about, but there still needs to be balance.  I would like to hear from others in this situation.   

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      My experience has ben very similar. When I worked in corporate I didn’t enjoy my work very much, but it was easier for me to “switch off”. Now, however, I love what I do and am passionate about my daily work. However, this makes setting up boundaries between work and my family life much harder. Thanks for sharing your story…

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Isn’t that the truth! When you love what you do, it’s even more challenging to stop doing it. Even when you’re not officially working, the mind stays engaged, planning, plotting, dreaming …

        • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

          Absolutely.

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    I need to create my own way to cross the finish line. I’ve started at uni, and still studying piano and working, I am going to have to know when enough is enough. The next few days will be a trial and error on this! This is something I have done subconsciously but definitely needs to be applied in my life on a more intentional level.

  • Logan Pauline

    I’ve discovered that changing into more relaxing clothing–pajamas or something casual–helps me to relax and put the day behind me. It’s also helpful to write a short to-do list for the next day–tasks I didn’t complete that day, or ones that I need to start. Then my mind is freed to focus on the present activity, such as calling a friend, watching a movie or reading.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Great ideas.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    I have a 30 minute ride home every day with my wife.  I tell her two or three things that impacted me during the day.  We talk about what we will do that night.  It helps having that buffer between work and home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381720563 Jody Bailey Day

    Thanks for such a great tips. I find that list really helps me leave work at work. I have a little coming home/getting ready for bed ritual that helps me make the transition. Getting everything work/ministry/writing related things out of our bedroom made for a more relaxing atmosphere. Since my husband made a writing office for me out of a spare room, I can now also close the door on that. I keep a small journal by my bed for ideas that pop in during the night or early morning. If I could just stop checking my phone. That’s my current goal. Thanks so much:)

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      I have found Evernote to be an incredibly helpful tool – much like how you use your notebook.

  • Andrew Acker

    I use a program called iDoneThis. They send you an email at a specified time and ask you what you’ve done today. They then put the list into an ongoing calendar so you can track back and see what you’ve done. It’s nice for a team account too because I can sync up with what my team is working on and accomplished. But I more like this because it helps me appropriately prioritize for the next day. I’m someone who would rather plan out the next day with an extra half hour the day before then an extra half hour the morning of. It makes me feel like I can start the day full steam ahead. 

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Sounds interesting. Will check it out. Thanks!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      By the name of the program I thought it would be exclusive to Apple but I was wrong. I signed up and can’t wait to see how this works.  Thanks for sharing.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Andrew,
      Thanks! Checking it out!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Michael for this post. I constantly work through a daily process of reviewing my day. When I successfully achieve the goal(s) that I set for the day I first take a moment to celebrate each accomplishment even when I didn’t do everything thing I planned. This strategy is a new one for me because in the past I would just keep running after passing the finish line on to the next race. Just applying this one small act to my life has given me more confidence, determination and motivation to keep moving forward. This in turn gives me the fuel to embrace my wife and kids with excitement and delight, passing down to them the same momentum. My philosophy for work, family, and play is “when your there, be there.”  Nevertheless if after a long day of work for some strange reason my body is at home but my mind has slipped away my wife and children ( i.e God’s secret weapon) have a way of reminded me of who I am too. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      TSG,

      “…God’s secret weapon” so stealing that line!

  • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com/ Charles Specht

    great article!

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I had to find something to end my work day. I was bringing it all home with me and my wife was not happy about it. I have been running 5 days a week for about 2 months now. I usually do this between work and home. This has really helped me to transition my mind. Then my wife and I talk about the highs and lows of our day and that puts me in the “I’m at home now” mindset.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      This is fantastic. I think exercise is one of the best ways to “shift gears”.

      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        It certainly helps me. I just started doing this about halfway through January and I have really noticed a difference.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Brandon,
      I am with you—in ministry, especially Youth Min, it’s very easy to do.

      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        Yes it is. Especially since when we first started my wife and I were dating and we did everything together. We planned out all the lessons and youth events. Now we are married with a year and a half old boy and another one on the way. The dynamic is different and it doesn’t work out well when I have tried to treat it the same.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I’m in the process of starting this now. I’ve been reading “The Four Hour Work Week” and have put the email principles into place. It’s amazing how much time I was wasting going back and forth. 

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      I struggle with this too. I’d add “browser tab insanity” to my list of things I need to refine and work on too. 

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Browser tab insanity… I know the feeling. 20+ tabs and productivity zapped!

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        Yes.. You got me there too. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andreas-Schmid/1463521884 Andreas Schmid

    hey this hits home! you are a great and insightful writer. just got your subscription. thanks!

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Thanks for subscribing!

  • http://www.timandolive.com/ Tim Chan

    excellent advice!

  • Michelle Wilson

    I have become a full time artist, and if I am undisciplined,  I can find myself painting into the evenings. However, if I break in a timely manner to cook dinner, I am aware of the kind of transition you spoke of, Tom.  Preparing the evening meal is the first step in my shifting from my day long dialog with myself about my art, to a focus on caring for my family and sharing my energy with them.  I consciously prepare the food with a sense of calm, and gratitude for the bounty of God’s earth. It feels like the meal is imbued with a super vitamin: one part Gods gifts, one part my love.

  • Miranda

    The first thing that came to mind when I read this post was Phil. 3:13-14, in other words, forget the past and press on forward. That verse may have meant different, but recently, it has come to mean something new to me. Everything has a beginning and an end, even a day. The best way to ease out of the day’s work (successes or challenges) after assessing your day, is  to lay it to rest, and press on forward to achieve the next goal i.e. that special time with your family. I have come to learn that if you do not lay it to rest, you will struggle with pressing forward to achieve the goal of enjoying family time. And every moment lost with family can never be gained back. So many times we make the mistake of saying, ‘I’ll make it up to you,’ whether to friends or family, forgetting that there must be a balance in our lives, and we are solely responsible for maintaining that balance. Every aspect of our lives should have its FAIR share of our time, including family, friends, and most especially, the Lord.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Miranda,
      You got it right—you can never get that time back! Great comment!

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Great insight and a fresh perspective on that scripture. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Congratulations Tom! An ultra-marathon sounds grueling. That must have taken quite a bit of work.

    I have not implemented this strategy in my life but I love the idea. I’ll be creating a plan to “cross the line”  each work day and devote more focus to other areas of my life.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      That sounds great Joe. Comrades was certainly an ordeal. I had never run more than 10K before, but after 7 months of intense training, we managed to pull it off. Something I will never forget. 

  • Cherish Wellbeing

    If you’ve got other things to do after work, I’d recommend you find a quiet spot in between locations to clear your head from that race before you start another.  If you’ve got a short ride between home and work (driving or walking) find a spot where you can download the days experience so you feel refreshed and ready to embrace something else.

  • http://sidekickgraphics.com/ George Gregory

    An excellent concept that never occurred to me. As recently self-employed, my work seems to fill up every corner of my life and thoughts; this sounds like a good way to tie things off and keep part of my day set apart for my most important relationships.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    A way to really help not carrying extra stress from work is to do what Dan Miller says: “find or create work that is meaningful and profitable”. Great post and great site Tom!

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Thanks for checking out my blog!

  • http://www.ninanesdoly.com/ Nina Nesdoly

    Great post Tom! It’s so true; I see so many people bring grudges home after a race, exam, or a day at work. “Crossing the finish line” is a great idea. Congratulations on completing a marathon!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Marathon X 2 +

  • Joshua

    interesting, ill take that into consideration 
    follow me on instagram (@joshtgilliland) I would greatly appreaciate I have good pictures

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Tom,
    This is a great post! I really struggle with this! I really like what I do for a living and I tend to bring it with me everywhere I go—either physically or mentally. I love the finish line imagery, Thanks!

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      I’m so glad the analogy connected with you. 

  • http://www.ninanesdoly.com/ Nina Nesdoly

    Great post Tom! It’s so true; I see so many people bring grudges home after a race, exam, or a day at work. “Crossing the finish line” is a great idea. Congratulations on completing a marathon!

  • http://www.TheEmptyInbox.com/ Michael Hawkins

    Like a few others, I try to use my commute time to ‘decompress’ from work and ramp-up for ‘home time’.  But…the line between work and home is often times a blur. 

    It takes a very diligent effort to separate the two.  Sometimes my wife has to remind me where I’m at…and in what mode I should be in.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.  I’m all about continuous improvement in my life.

    : – )

  • casey

    awesome my brother xx

  • Nancy

    I will confess that I am horrible at the whole crossing the finish line thing. One of the things that I have come to realize I really need to work on is not allowing the blurring of the lines between my professional and personal lives. I am a very visual person and so my finish line needs to be a visual representation like getting a page a day calendar and throwing away each day as it is finished.

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.brent Greg Brent

    Great post and reminder!

    I would also add that while being able to be “connected” through our phones, laptops, etc. is great, that we all need some time to “dis-connect” from all these great tools.  Or, at least “dis-connect” from our work feeds and “connect” to these with family, friends, etc.

    Thanks,
    Greg

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Agreed Tom! I feel that this time of reflection is a great  necessity in one’s life to become more effective. 

    In order to increase our leadership capacity, we must truly believe that self leadership precedes our ability to effectively lead others. In order to improve my leadership capacity, I ensure that I have a scheduled thinking time as non negotiable discipline.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Friday at 6 pm is the week’s pinnacle finish line for me. I usually shut down my computer Friday evenings and don’t reboot until early Monday morning. I started doing this almost two years ago, and it’s one of the best things I’ve done for my family and myself. Of course, there’s always an exception. :) As I type this it’s SATURDAY. Yesterday my 15 year old had a day off school and I shut down to spend the day with him. Thus the reason I’m doing a little catch-up today.

    • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

      Great idea Michele.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Thanks, Steve.

    • http://www.tombasson.com/ Tom Basson

      Great ideas. I have started to try turn off all technology (Facebook, Twitter etc) on weekends. Don’t always get it right, but it has definitely helped my own sense of rest and peace.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Me too. I’ve learned (the hard way) that I don’t function nearly as well during the week if I don’t break from technology on the weekend.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       I’ve recently shut down on Saturday before sundown and kept the computer off until Sunday evening. I find Monday my most productive writing/work day. I do well other days but I do best after rest.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Great idea. A Sabbath shutdown.

  • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

    After busy days that send me home with squelched emotions, I’ll spend about 30 minutes at home writing my thoughts in a journal. For me, it’s like letting air out of a balloon. When I’m done, I’ll walk away from it and exercise for 30-60 minutes to clear my head. After dinner, I’ll revisit my journal entry with a different set of eyes and plan how I’ll tackle pending problems for the next day. The journal becomes my finish line for the day. 

  • http://messymiddle.com/ Amy

    I’d love to hear some suggestions for singles in minstry :)! Love it that spouses and kids can call to you to ” be” with them — but I find being single AND in ministry AND working out of my home can be a bit of a triple whamy. Am open to all suggestions!

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  • Carrie Collins

    This is one of the hardest things to do but I’ve seen that nothing earth-shattering has happened as a result of this: turning off the cell phone once I walk in the door at the end of the work day.  My friends and family know this about me, and know to call my home phone if they need to get in touch with me in the evening, or even on the weekend.  Or they can reach me through my husband on his cell, as he always has it on since he is a business owner.  Two other things: making sure I end the day on a positive note and have something work-related to look forward to the next day, and listening to praise/inspirational music on the way home.

  • http://tomraines.wordpress.com/ Tom

    Late to the game but enjoyed this and copied your list to see if I can set a daily finish line. Thank you!

  • http://www.chaplainmike.com/ Mike Hansen

    I haven’t read all the comments yet so you might address this, but I have a question. If you have an answer to any of the questions, say, to the question, “Anyone I need to update?” “Yes.” – do you take the time to do that task, write it down for tomorrow, or just reflect? I can see 20 minutes turning into more time or are the tasks built into your time?

    I have often prayed on the way home too, that God would be in my house already, with all the conversations we have. And especially that I would be very aware of the FIRST TWO MINUTES of my arrival at home, because that can set the tone for the rest of the evening altogether. 

    I am a hospital chaplain. I did pastor churches before and truthfully one of the reasons I chose hospital work was the very reason of leaving a building to go home, while still staying true to God’s call on my life.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Sleep. :-D

  • Judy Dobles

    Every day can only be lived once.  A brief reflection at the end of each day helps you make the next one better.  Focusing on how to personally improve allows you to make a bigger difference in the lives of those around you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.woodman Craig Woodman

    My iPhone with Siri is a great tool for the end of the day, and my drive home.  I dictate a day’s journal, detailing things such as when I arrive and leave work, as well as any interesting events of the day.  Things that stand out concerning employees or customers are good to record, as well as anything else that you think that you may need to know someday.  I even give a brief overview of the day’s weather.  I dictate and Siri transcribes (although you can use Dragon to do the same thing if you do not have an iPhone 4S or new iPad.)  I save these journal entries into Evernote, with their own tag. I set up a special microphone right on my sun visor, so it picks up my voice quite well.

    One of the most powerful things that I do is to review these entries at the end of the week.  I can often catch open loops that way, and I can touch up some of the transcription errors that Siri may make.  It is pretty accurate, and you know from context what the entry says.  I also look at entries from 4 weeks ago, 3 months ago, and 6 months ago (when I get to that point, and have enough journals.)  The perspective is incredible!

    One other benefit with Evernote – you can search as well.  This is particularly handy when you want to look up any interactions or reference with a customer or employee – you just search their name.

    This alone has done wonders for my productivity and sense of balance.

  • http://twitter.com/joewickman Joe Wickman

    Fantastic post. Punching a clock gives you the finality of, “Work is done for today.” For those of us who don’t , the temptation to idle and churn for the rest of the day is great. We somehow feel like we’re being responsible, even productive, but we’re not. This may the #1 request my family would make of me, to truly be present when I am at home.

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