Here’s a trick borrowed from pro athletes that you can incorporate to become more consistently excellent: have a ritual.
You probably don’t watch much rugby, but if you’ve ever seen the New Zealand All-Blacks you no doubt were stunned by their pre-game ritual: the Haka. Drawing on their Maori roots, the team performs an elaborate war dance designed to motivate themselves and intimidate their opponents.
Expert penalty goal kickers like Jonny Wilkinson have elaborate routines they use to clear away the distractions of 50,000 screaming fans so that they can focus on splitting the uprights.
There is a good reason why these top teams and athletes go through these specific steps: it translates into peak performance.
We should all take a page from their playbook. Cal Newport, author of “Deep Work”, recommends that we adopt rituals to mark the beginning of intense, concentrated work sessions but also that we symbolically celebrate their end with our own shutdown sequence. This can be particularly helpful when you work from home or if your work follows you home through your iPhone.
So have a “Haka” of your own. Marking our starts and stops will, over time, make you more productive on command and achieve closure on your workday.