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5 Rituals That Will Help You Get Down To Work

with Craig Ballantyne



with guest Craig Ballantyne #MakingBank S4E26


Workday rituals. We all have them whether we know it or not. For some it may be taking a few deep breaths, for others it may be gossipping in the snack room with the receptionist. One of these is better than the other. We’ll leave it up to you to guess which one. 

Finding the workday routine that’s right for you can be a game changer, so we’ve put together a little list to help you become more intentional about the daily rituals you’re creating. We’re all unique, and ultimately we need to find what works for us, but these basic rituals are a good place to start before branching out. 


  1. Nightly ‘Brain Dumps’ 


This is a popular tactic among many high level CEOs and creatives. By putting together a picture of what needs to get done the night before, we wake up refreshed, with a map drawn out of what we need to do. If we wait until the morning to do this we can wind up wasting a good portion of our most productive time of day on something that can easily be done with minimal focus. 

Try to braindump in the evening sometime after dinner and before bed, once you’ve had a little time to reflect on the day. Jot down the most important tasks you need to get done tomorrow as well as any insights or ideas you may have had during the workday. Anything that has been floating in your mind all day is fair game. Reach for it, dump it out, then clock out. 

Side benefit: committing to this ritual nightly can actually help you get a better sleep. Double productivity bonus! 


2. Step-by-step Turning Off and Putting Away the Devices 


Think of it as a weapons check, but instead of armoring up, you’re armoring down. Sit down. Take out the earbuds. Turn off your phone, Apple Watch, and any other device that might make a desperate attention grab halfway into your morning. You can even have a specific box where you put everything, then tuck it away in a drawer where everything can rest in peace and wait patiently for lunch time. 

Making this a deliberate action will signal to your brain that it’s time to work, helping it boot up, focus and kick into action. When we choose to make a small ceremony we compartmentalize our day. Building this habit will take 10-14 days, but once we’ve done so it will be like muscle memory, and our brain will shift into gear, ready to complete the day’s tasks. 


3. Get Quirky 


When Craig mentioned John Carlton’s habit of walking around his desk always wearing the same sweatshirt and Robert Greene always writing on a typewriter, these rituals may have sounded a little quirky (you know… because they are), but don’t be afraid to get quirky! Doing something specific and unique that you literally never do otherwise can help cue to your brain that it is time to toggle over into work mode, creating a hard mental boundary between work and play. 

Unfortunately we can’t prescribe you these quirks, they need to be personal to you, but we can point you in the right direction. Try involving an article of clothing, or a piece of jewelry. Maybe having a ‘work beanie’ helps get you in the zone, or a ring with ‘yaaas queen’ inscribed when you turn it upside down. Try eating a healthy snack nice and slowly to ease you into work and get your creative juices flowing. 

It can be big or it can be subtle. It can even be your little secret with the world. Whatever it is, make it unique to you, and make it something you get a little joy from. 

Pro-tip: stretching. Streeeeeetccchhhiinnnggggggg. Wow, that felt good just typing it. 



4. Schedule Simple Tasks and Breaks Based on Your Biorhythm


Keep that journal Craig mentioned of how you’re feeling every day for a few weeks. You may be surprised to notice patterns of when you feel the most focused and productive, and when you start to drift. Plan around these times, but don’t just map out when you are going to really get cranking; plan your down times too. 

The post lunch haze is real and fighting through it is often fruitless. Use this time to ease back into work by doing some of your more menial tasks like checking your email or taking a look at your calendar. 

When you notice the first signs of wearing out, go for a quick walk, pet your dog, or just stare out the window at the birds for a few minutes. Finding the right time and the right moment to recharge your batteries can help not only your productivity, but also your creativity, helping you achieve more work in less time! 


5. Start and Finish Work at the Same Time Every Day 


It’s true for sleep and it’s true for work: starting and stopping at the same time everyday will help establish a routine. If you arrive to and leave from work at a different time every day you may find it hard to focus or to even know what you’re supposed to be doing. 

If you leave work at the same time every day, it will help your mind leave work at the office and enjoy the rest of your day. We don’t want distractions when we’re working, but we also don’t want them when we’re at home, with our friends, or anywhere else we’re trying to have a good time and unwind. 


The importance of rituals that help us schedule our day cannot be understated. They help to segment our time and keep us focused, and if you’re doing it right they’ll help you enjoy your time as well. Make them special, make them unique, but most importantly… Make Bank!