The weekends are your opportunity to relax and wind down from a rough week at work. But you can also use part of your weekend to get ahead for the next week. By crossing a few items off of your work to-do list over the weekend, you just might save yourself a couple of hours—not to mention your sanity.
Although work-life balance is necessary, and weekends should be part of that, it is also important to find ways to get a handle on your work week before it gets out of control and swallows you alive (which is probably what most of your weeks are like). Here are a four tips for making your work days less hectic.
1. Work on your to-do list
Tasks have a greater chance of being completed when they are written down. Randomly performing tasks won’t work. However, you’ll need time to draft a list that actually makes sense and accomplishes your goals. Your important tasks will most likely not get done if you try to throw a whole bunch of items together when you are under stress. It’s best to put a thoughtful list together when you’re calm and focused. Making a list is quick and it won’t take up a significant amount of time. You can even draft your list while waiting for your laundry to dry.
2. Go through email
Sure, you probably don’t want to look at work emails during the weekend, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. If you have an important project or a business trip coming up, you’ll have to keep an eye on messages. Missing just one important note (and with email this happens from time to time) could put a wrinkle in your plans. Review email so you can be prepared for the type of week you’ll have. This way on Monday morning, there will be no surprises. You can read your email, and even respond to messages, just save your replies in draft. When you arrive at work in the morning, you can respond then. The danger in answering your email over the weekend is that others will think they have 24-hour access to you and then start expecting you to reply to emails regardless of the day or time.
3. Catch up on reading
Almost everyone has that “to read” folder that never seems to get opened. Why not take some time over the weekend to go through those articles you’ve been wanting to read or that co-workers passed along? This way, you’ll have fresh ideas to take into the new week and newfound knowledge that may give you an edge with your work projects. It never hurts to add to your smarts.
4. Start an assignment
This one is your choice, but it may help relieve some of the pressure of completing a big project. Try to find smaller parts of a project that can be completed quickly. The weekends are the best time to focus on these smaller parts because they may require less time and energy. That way, you can focus on the more complicated aspects of the project when it comes time to roll up your sleeves and really dive into the work. You’ll be able to relax (at least a little bit), knowing that the less taxing aspects of the assignment are already taken care of.