Let me set the scene for you: It’s Friday afternoon, and you’ve just wrapped up your final meeting of the day. Sure, there’s more work you could do, but it’s almost 5 p.m. and you’re already in weekend mode. Your inbox dings with a new email, but you tell yourself, “That’s a problem for Monday!” and get ready to slam your laptop shut.
Not so fast!
You might be ready to slide right into the weekend, but your inbox is not. And while you could theoretically put off those tasks until the following week, Monday mornings are hard enough as it is. Why make it even harder?
It’s an easy trade-off to make: five minutes of focus on a Friday afternoon for a more peaceful Monday morning. If you’re the type of person who gets the Sunday scaries, then that’s even more reason to make the trade! That Sunday evening anxiety is partially rooted in the fact that you don’t feel prepared for Monday.
Here are five things you should do before logging off that will set you up for a much smoother and less stressful Monday morning.
Respond to Urgent Emails
There’s nothing worse than logging in on Monday morning and finding an inbox full of emails. It’s hard to know where to start or how long it will take you to dig yourself out. If there are any urgent emails burning a hole in your inbox on Friday afternoon, it’s better to take care of them now. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hunker down for another hour of work though.
Even a simple response letting the person know you’ve received their email and will get to it first thing Monday morning can go a long way. It’s frustrating to email someone and not hear back for days and days, so a courtesy response like this will not only make you feel better, it also makes you seem more professional.
Organize Your Inbox
When your inbox is constantly overflowing with emails, it can be very confusing to determine what’s important and what’s not. Once you’ve responded to any urgent emails, it’s time to start purging the non-urgent ones. Delete emails that are no longer relevant or ones that are related to tasks you’ve already completed. And get rid of all the junk mail that’s piled up over the course of the week.
If you have old emails you need to keep, but they don’t necessarily need to be sitting in your inbox, create some folders and move them over. You still have them if you should need them, but you won’t need to scroll through them in your inbox every day.
Plan Your To-Do List for Monday
I don’t know about you, but I love a good to-do list! This next tip is actually something I do every evening before logging off work, but it’s especially important on Friday evenings since you’re likely to forget important things over the course of the weekend. Before you log off, write out a to-do list of everything you need to get done on Monday morning.
Make sure to include things like emails you need to send, projects you need to complete, and meetings you need to set up. It’s so nice to log on in the morning (especially Monday mornings) and not have to think about where to start. You’ve got your to-do list there waiting for you, ready to help you tackle the day. Taking the time to do this on Friday afternoon will cut down on some of the Monday morning anxiety.
Purge Your Open Tabs
If you’re anything like me, then you too are the queen of having way too many tabs open at all times! I tend to open up tabs for something on my to-do list, then leave it open long after I’ve moved on to another project. But I feel guilty closing it because that task still isn’t done and I worry that if I close the tab, I’ll completely forget about it.
Sometimes I have so many tabs open that I can’t even read what they all are, and then my computer starts whirring and sounds like it’s about to take off, which stresses me out even more. If something is that important, then write it down on your actual to-do list and close the tab.
Browser tabs are not carved in stone – you can always go back and re-open it when you’re ready to deal with it. Before logging off on Friday afternoon, close all of your outstanding browser tabs so that you can start Monday with a clean digital slate. Your computer will thank you.
Tidy Up Your Desk Area
I’m a firm believer that your work space (and home, for that matter) is a reflection of your mind. If your desk is a disaster, then it’s going to be very difficult for you to focus on work. I honestly get anxious when my space is too messy because it makes me feel distracted and overwhelmed.
Clean up your workspace before you log off for the weekend. Get rid of all the old coffee cups on your desk, throw away unnecessary papers, and put your pens back in your pencil cup. If you’re really feeling motivated, you could even go the extra mile and disinfect your desk and keyboard or clean your computer screen. When you sit down at your clean desk on Monday morning, you’ll feel much more organized and ready to take on the week!
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to get organized, but the key is to remember that small actions add up. You don’t need to go crazy and deep clean your office every Friday afternoon, but just taking a few minutes to tidy up in a few areas will go a long way toward making your Monday less manic.
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