Sleepless nights should be reserved for time with catching up with old friends or fighting the flu – not your nightly routine. So how do you get things off your mind and wind down for the weekend?
Once a week take a few hours to do a weekly review. This 2 hour power-session is a no-holds-barred appointment with yourself to review your responsibilities from the last week - and look ahead to the upcoming week.
Start by scheduling a 2 hour recurring appointment, including shutting off the phone and notifying others that you will be unavailable during this time. Try these tips for wrangling your work and leaving it where it belongs – off your mind:
- Close your eyes and try to relax. What’s on your mind? As you think of items, pause and add it to the list. Then close your eyes and repeat. Often stress will keep items on your mind, even if they are not “important”. Adding them to the list helps wipe the slate clean for the week ahead.
- Clean off your desk. Starting with your physical desktop, put items like the stapler, pens, notepads, and other office items back when they belong. Continue to pickup your office area until everything is back in its home. (If you office needs an organizational makeover, schedule an office cleaning appointment for later!)
- Unpile. Sort and re-file the stacks of paper and folders that have piled up. Add actions to your to-do list if you find items that still need your attention. File the items where you can find them again once you need them. For most projects, the file doesn’t need to stay in sight so long as the action is captured on your list.
- Consolidate your lists, notes, and post-its. Gather any stray sheets of notes, to-dos, or meeting notes and review them. Add new action items to your list as needed and make one master list. Throw away any completed items or irrelevant notes; file the rest.
- Followup on email. Resisting the urge to check for ‘new’ messages, scan for messages that have gotten lost in the shuffle and need a quick response. Make a habit of sending short follow up messages to remind others of items you are waiting for a response. If a ‘lost’ email needs more than 2 minutes of your attention, add it to the list.
Take a look at your action list. How does it feel to have a concrete view of any loose ends you have from the last week? While it may feel overwhelming if you have a long list, it’s better than having the nagging feeling that you forgot something.
Following through with a weekly review will take around 2 hours, so make sure to schedule it like any other appointment. This 2 hour block of time is just as important as a meeting with fellow staff or an important client. Treat your weekly review with respect and take time to reschedule as needed.
The weekly review: Think of it as a tune-up for your work life.