What do you do at work on Friday afternoons? Mobile devices and online access to the tools we use to do our jobs have made it harder to hide out under our desks and wait for the factory whistle to blow. Still, after a long, hard week, it’s easy to let burnout overwhelm you. Don’t just coast through the last minutes and hours of your workweek. Use your time wisely, and you’ll have a more pleasant weekend, and start next week off fresh and ready to work.
1. Reflect on the high (and low) points.
“Successful people not only think about the projects they’ve handled that day; they try to analyze when and why things went right and wrong,” writes Jacquelyn Smith in her Business Insider article 13 Things Successful People Do in the Last 10 Minutes of the Workday.
Doing a quick postmortem of the most and least successful moments of your week will help you maximize future wins and avoid future losses.
2. Work like you’re getting ready to get on a plane.
If you were going on vacation — or a weekend-long business trip — you wouldn’t plan to take a bunch of work with you. Put yourself in that mindset, and you can achieve a similar distraction-free weekend, and use it to rest and take care of the business of living a more reasonable life.
Failing that, tackling your top priorities will enable you to set aside at least a little non-work time in which to regroup. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Decide when you’re going to unplug.
Many of us can’t entirely step away from work for a whole 48 hours, whether because of corporate cultural expectations or workload reasons. Regardless, you need some time away from your phone, laptop, tablet, and other electronic leashes, or you won’t be able to sit down at your desk on Monday morning with a clear head.
4. Choose an adventure.
If you’re prone to the Sunday Night Blues, you might hate your job — or you might not be using your weekends as well as you can. Sure, you have things you have to do, and after that, your Netflix queue isn’t going to watch itself. But if you don’t do anything for you the whole weekend, it’ll be hard to get excited about embarking on a brand new workweek.
Bonus points if your activity gets you outside and exercising. Despite our best efforts, many of us do not get enough physical activity during the week, and although you can’t make up for five days of sedentary behavior with one day hike, you can burn off some of the fog in your head. Listen to Monty Python: get some walking in.
5. Clear off your desk.
Ever come back from a trip to find your house looking like burglars just left, but the responsible parties were the ones whose names were on the mailbox? Don’t leave your desk looking like a disaster area. Even if you’re an avid proponent of the Messy Desk Theory of Creativity, getting things tidy enough to work with when you return on Monday will help you start off on the right foot — or at the very least, without dumping a stack of essential papers in the trash and then pouring coffee on your new shirt.
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