Have you ever been excited for the weekend, but not able to fully “leave” all the stuff you need to get done? I’ve been there. It can be stressful.
I hate to admit this, but I’ve had more than one weekend where it’s Sunday night and I wonder… where did the past couple days go??
Wait, tomorrow is . . . Monday?
Have you ever had that feeling? The dread of going back to work on Monday and getting in the rhythm of things?
It can be overwhelming to be thinking about WORK when you should be enjoying REST and relaxation during your time off. But it happens! Our minds have a way of reminding us what needs to get done—rather than being completely open, stress-free, and calm.
Our minds have a way of reminding us what needs to get done—rather than being completely open, stress-free, and calm.
The cure: a weekly review
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, argues the cause of STRESS is our tendency to HOLD ideas & information in our head. I agree with him. By reviewing what is on your brain—and getting it out of your head and onto a page (or wherever)—you alleviate the ADDITIONAL cognitive task of having to remember everything, which reduces stress and increases productive thought.
Our brains are for having ideas, not holding them.
How does a Weekly Review work?
On a weekly basis—at minimum—review everything “coming at you.” Check in with yourself. Look at your calendar. Take a minute to sweep through everything on your mind at work and at home. Look at the week ahead. Anticipate things that might need to get done, and what you can do to make them go easier.
5 questions to consider during your weekly review:
- What does next week look like? Simply looking at your calendar is a BIG step if you want a more-clear weekend. By doing this on Friday, you enter the weekend fully aware of the next week’s landscape.
- Do I need to renegotiate any upcoming commitments? Sometimes we double-book meetings or under-compensate how long something will take. When this happens, all you have to do is renegotiate your commitment. Find a way to reschedule or reach an agreement an alternative way. Just ask. See if you can renegotiate sooner than later.
- Did I budget enough travel time for my meetings? Since I mostly work from home, I consistently forget how long it takes to go places. When I do my weekly review, I check to see if I’ll have enough time to arrive without fighting traffic. This leads to a more enjoyable drive, rather than dreading a commute.
- Did I schedule time for rest during the week? Rest during the weekdays/nights is just as important as rest during the weekend. Can we agree—rest is too often overlooked! So, during your weekly review, look at your calendar and see if there’s a way for you to arrange a date night, movie night, or YOU-TIME: an evening to soak in a hot bath or read that book you’ve been eyeing up. Then, you get to LOOK FORWARD to your rest, which could make your day more enjoyable.
- Are there any potential emergencies I can prepare for? Some people only know how to operate in “emergency mode.” In other words, everything to them is a FIRE and extremely urgent!! ???? You can avoid these circumstances by thinking through what could become an emergency, then taking the steps in advance to ensure it is handled carefully.
Enter the weekend fully aware of the next week’s landscape.
You’re stressed because you left work TOO EARLY
Let me clarify. I’m not saying you should stay at work until 7:00pm on Friday evenings. I’m saying you shouldn’t leave work and enter “weekend mode” until you’ve done a weekly review and are “up-to-date” with yourself and the following week’s commitments.
Enter your weekend KNOWING that your next week is “in control” and that you’re aware of your commitments—and have the appropriate amount of time to do them.
Schedule your weekly review
Try to schedule a time every Friday when you can meet with yourself, your calendar, and your action lists. One hour might be enough time—but you may need more or less. Do whatever it takes on Friday to look at what you’ve accomplished, what is upcoming, and what will require the most time to complete. Then, schedule blocks of time where you don’t have to RUSH to complete the work. Tip: schedule more time than you think you need.
3 easy steps to make it happen
- Step 1: Schedule ~90 minutes on Friday to do a weekly review.
- Step 2: Schedule appropriate “chunks” during the following week to handle intense projects
- Step 3: Stay consistent by setting up a recurring appointment every Friday. Keep the appointment! It’s just as important (if not more important) than any other priority assigned to you.
Yes, this means “pausing” work for a little on Fridays!
If you want to be more productive and effective in your work and personal life, spending time to review (plan the work) will provide huge benefits.
Yes, this means you won’t be “getting a ton done” for an hour or so. But it’s worth it. It will give you the clarity, confidence, and peace-of-mind you need in order to have a more restful weekend, which will payoff Monday morning when you’re not dreading the week’s tasks.
Re-train your mind
To have a stress-free weekend, know how your mind works. The human brain naturally “notifies” us when we need to do stuff, no matter what.
While I agree that we’re not all wired the same—and deal with levels of stress and expectations differently—a trusted system (like a notebook, whiteboard, app, or calendar) will allow your mind to “rest” knowing that everything you need to remember is somewhere safe.
Train your brain to trust and be at peace with the fact everything you need to remember is written down somewhere safe and that you WILL review at a later time. At minimum, because you booked an appointment with yourself on the following Friday! (Don’t forget to show up and keep that appointment!)
The key: be PRESENT with everything on your plate
The key to having a clear, stress-free weekend is to be PRESENT with everything on your mind. This means you have to face what is stressing you out and identify it so you can move on.
To get present, do whatever it takes. Use a piece of paper, a whiteboard, an app, or a simple Google doc. The tool doesn’t matter. In order to get clear, you have to identify everything that is on your head. If you move away too quickly, items will sneak back up on you when you’re trying to relax.
The key to having a clear, stress-free weekend is to be PRESENT with everything on your mind.
How do you prepare to relax for the weekend?