Arriving to work on Monday to a messy desk, overflowing inbox, and no plan for the week is not ideal. I would often start dreading Monday morning on Friday afternoons. Worrying that I will forget something and knowing that my inbox was overflowing. I wasn’t fully enjoying my weekends because my mind was somewhere else. So I started doing end-of-the-week reset for work.
When I started to do this routine before leaving work each Friday, I noticed that I was enjoying the weekends so much more. I didn’t worry about what I left behind because I took the time to reset for the next week and knew that everything would be neatly waiting for me on Monday morning.
End-of-the-week Reset Tasks:
Clear out your inbox.
Take 10 minutes and quickly archive any emails that you do not need in your inbox. Remember archiving does not delete the email it just files it away. You can always find emails for reference by searching for it. You can also tag emails before you archive them if you want to keep them a little more organized. I’m a bit more ruthless and I delete any emails that I really don’t need.
Ask these questions before you delete an email:
- Can I reply to this email quickly now? If it takes just a minute or two to reply to the email I try to do that right away.
- Does this email require action? If so, do I need to keep the email or can I transfer this information to a task management program?
- Will I need to reference the information in this email? If so, should I put it somewhere else (ie: a program like Evernote or a task management program like Asana)
- Will I need to refer to this email in the future? I like to keep emails that have any important discussions. For example, if you emailed your boss asking for clarification – you may want to keep that email in case you need to remind them what they said. (I’ve had to do this a number of times!)
Clean off your desk.
File any paperwork – in a folder or in to the trashcan! Piles grow quickly and it’s frustrating when you have to dig through a pile of papers to find an important document.
Toss any unnecessary papers. Remove any dirty coffee cups too (we all have ‘em). Set up your desk so you’re ready to jump in on Monday morning. Try to take as much off your desk as possible so you can start the week with a literal clean slate.
Delete or clean up files on your computer’s desktop
Confession – I’m not great at this, My desktop is often a mess, but I do try to go on a monthly delete rampage and delete as much as I can but I still end up with lots of screenshots and files on my desktop. I’m working on making it a weekly habit. If it really stresses you out you can also just create a file on your desktop.
I’ve done this and later deleted the whole folder because I never needed anything in it. It’s really amazing how much stuff we keep, even in our digital lives, just because we *think* we might need it. (And usually never do.)
Do a quick Brain Dump
Take a few minutes to write down everything on your mind, so you can leave work with a clear mind before you leave. This will help you to fully enjoy your weekend without thinking about all of these things. When we write things down in a trusted spot, we can stop worrying about forgetting something important. I have a notebook where I write all of my brain dumps. Having one place to keep them helps me refer back to them later.
See how I do my brain dumps and get a brain dump trigger list here.
Make a quick to-do list
This doesn’t have to be anything official. Just a quick list of things you really want to get done when you go back to work Monday morning.
Read more about how I write my to-do lists here.
Leave work physically and mentally behind
This one is tricky if you’re a chronic overthinking or work-a-holic. Turning off my “work brain” and turning on my “weekend-family-time-relaxing” brain is hard. After lots of practice, I’ve learned how to leave work at work and be more fully tuned in on the weekend.
I hope this was helpful. If you get in the habit of doing a Friday Reset at work I promise you will feel a bit less dread (or hopefully a whole lot less) on Monday morning.