By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.
Most things run smoother if they’re routinized. In other words, our mornings are less hectic if we follow a predictable series of events; our weekdays are more productive if, again, we follow another predictable series of events.
I suggest that students create and follow a daily shut-down routine after the last class of the day (in-person classes or online classes – doesn’t matter). I mean this literally: immediately following the last class of the day, begin the shut-down routine. It should take about 10 minutes, less as you get used to it.
A daily shut-down routine will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and that all next-steps are clear.
Below is a checklist of the 4 basic steps that all daily shutdown routines need. If you want an easy way to remember the steps, use the acronym PCCP.
Daily shutdown routine for students
1. PROGRESS: Write progress notes.
For any project that you’re in the middle of, take a note of where you are and what step you’ll be at when you return to the project. This applies to essays, problem sets, labs, readings, etc. Do not assume that you’ll remember where you left off. A sticky note is perfect for this.
I write about a similar strategy in my tutorial How to take a study break. If you’re taking a break in the middle of the day, use these tips here.
2. CLARIFY: Clarify and document homework.
Make sure you’re clear on all homework assignments and work that are due for each of your classes. You should be writing this down in an assignment notebook. Do not rely on your LMS (Google Classroom, Canvas, etc.) as your assignment notebook. If you have no work due for upcoming classes, write that down instead of leaving that slot blank.
3. CLEAN: Put everything back in its place.
Move digital files to the proper location, and toss or file away papers. Put supplies away.
4. PLAN: Plan the rest of the afternoon / evening.
Before shutting down your workspace for the day, take a look at your agenda and plan your homework for the evening. If you don’t have homework, yay. If you do have homework, prioritize what you’ll do when.
Don’t forget: homework doesn’t just include actual things you need to turn in; it also includes studying. So be sure to budget in time to study for upcoming tests. If you want to get super geeky-productive, I recommend using time-block planning for mapping out your afternoons.
That’s it. A daily shutdown routine for students is supposed to be simple and quick. If it’s complicated, you won’t do it.
If you have a job, you can apply a variation of this daily shutdown routine with these steps here.
If you think you’ll have trouble remembering these 4 steps, then set a reminder on your phone for after your last class of the day. In the reminder, list the acronym PCCP.