end your workday on a high note with targeted positivity practice and gratitude

End Your Workday on a High Note: The Surprisingly Easy Life Hack

How do you end your workday? Typically, my day finishes when something forces me to stop, like our dog begging to go out or a family matter needing my immediate attention. I abandon my computer, leaving my desk a mess. It makes me feel harried and incomplete in the evening and already playing catch-up the next morning.

Does this strike a chord with you?

End Your Workday with an Easy Hack

I decided that it was time to change. My workday could end better. I just needed to prioritize making it happen. Drawing on my knowledge of positive psychology, considering self-care and kindness, and infusing some plain old common sense–I’ve fashioned a surprisingly easy life hack that is really working for me.

I’m calling it Targeted Positivity Practice.

How Does It Work?

In a nutshell, I schedule a quitting time–let’s say 6:00pm. Then, 10 minutes before quitting time, at 5:50 pm, I start my end of day routine. Most importantly, I spend the last few minutes reflecting on what went well. I write 3 positive things that happened at work that day in my “Work Gratitude” notebook.

targeted positivity practice

My targeted positivity practice leverages the psychology behind the Peak-End Rule with the benefits of gratitude practice. The results have been increased feelings of positivity about the work I’m doing in addition to a greater sense of calm in the evenings and at the start of my next workday.

You don’t have to have a desk job to reap the benefits of this hack. Whether you’re a student, stay-at-home parent, nurse, or even a tour guide–everyone needs closure. The key is being intentional about your last moments at work to give yourself time and space to collect yourself and savor the highs you experienced throughout your workday (or night!).

Here’s Why It’s Working.

The Peak-End Rule

Daniel Kahneman and Barbara Frederickson conducted the first study that identified the Peak-End Rule. This article, published by The Decision Lab, does a great job thoroughly explaining the rule, the research behind it, and the ramifications it can have on our lives.

The peak-end rule is a cognitive bias that changes the way individuals recall past events and memories. Based on the peak-end rule, individuals judge a past experience based on the emotional peaks felt throughout the experience and the end of the experience.

The Decision Lab

Basically, when we recall an event, we remember the emotional highs (positive and negative) and the end. It’s one reason why we remember a restaurant more fondly if they give us a free dessert at the end of the meal even if the overall experience was mediocre.

By embracing this rule and taking time to reflect on the wins as my last task of the day, I improve the overall memory of my workday. I end on a high note and carry that positivity with me.

Gratitude Practice–End Your Workday on a High Note

Practicing gratitude is a tried-and-true tool to improve your well-being. I’ve experienced the benefits of it first hand, but I have also struggled with gratitude fatigue in the past. So, I was excited to find a valuable way to bring this practice back into my daily life.

Like most people, my workdays have their ups and downs. I can feel energized after a particularly rewarding meeting. Then, discouraged when I check my analytics and see only a handful of people read an article on which I spent hours. It’s normal. Highs and lows are a part of life.

Which makes it even more important to consciously close my day with on an up. The 10 minutes spent on my targeted positivity practice is a kindness to myself. I put away my writing utensils, close the documents on my computer, stack up my notebooks, and power down for the day. It’s meditative and gives me a sense of closure and peace.

Once my desk is clear, my brain has the space it needs to reflect. As I review the highlights of the day, I notice the little things that may have otherwise eluded me. And if I struggle to find positives, I dig deeper to find a win or turn a negative into a positive with a change in mindset. One day, one of my positives was my own self-awareness. I had the sense to take 10-minute walk in the sunshine when I had been feeling overwhelmed.

A little gratitude can do wonders for your mood. When you practice gratitude, you shift your thoughts away from negative emotions and uncomfortable sensations. Instead, you begin to focus on good things that you may have overlooked.

Sheldon Reid

Positive Results

Targeted positivity practice is improving my life:

  • I feel more in control of my workday.
  • It gives me a sense of relief to have a “quitting time” on my calendar.
  • I look forward to the cathartic 10-minute routine of organizing my desk and writing in the journal. The process brings me joy.
  • My evenings feel less rushed, which has resulted in greater enjoyment of my activities.
  • I am recalling my workday more favorably and spend more time savoring my “wins.”
  • My desk is more welcoming in the morning. I feel like I am starting my days with a clean slate.

Keys to Success

I believe that targeted positivity practice can work for everyone. But it’s not magic. It does take a little effort and commitment.

First, you MUST stick to your designated quitting time. (I know there are going to be exceptions…but you know what I mean.)

Second, you MUST spend the last few minutes revving down for the day…not finishing last emails. Actually physically and mentally closing down. Only then, your brain will have the space to identify the positives and reap the rewards of savoring.

I hope that you can utilize this life hack to improve your workday. Perhaps you’ll have a tweak in the process that works even better for you. If so, please let me know. Wellness is a process, and it’s wonderful to share the journey.

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