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10 Tiny Productive Tasks You Can Do Today To Ensure A Carefree Weekend

By Thursday, July 29, 2021

In a not-so-distant former life, I was all about intense work weekdays and super lazy and/or carefree weekends. While this may sound good in theory, it was far from the ideal work-life balance you’d assume this yields. For you see, I never fully closed out my workweeks in a way that set me up for an easy Monday to follow. My workplace was so toxic that the work was never-ending and there was always so much of it. My goal every Friday was to just finish what was in front of me; I rarely gave a rat’s ass as to what was ahead of me. As the saying goes, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Fast forward and I’ve since ditched this counterproductive and counterintuitive approach to work and time management. I’ve been doing the below tasks towards the end of my work week and it’s freed up my weekends tremendously (and I don’t just mean timewise, but also anxiety wise too). I no longer feel a looming sense of doom that I’m missing out on something or that I’m up against a 48-hour, hourglass to enjoy my limited weekend.

Check out some of my favorite hacks and tips, below!

Do A Dedicated Email Sweep 

This one has been a huge mood elevator for me, as far as calming my crippling work anxiety goes. What is it about amassed emails that are so freaking intimidating? And further, what is it about us that allows them to pile up? 

Either way, I’ve learned that at some point during the week (for me, it’s usually midweek or end-of-week), setting aside some time to put ‘Email Sweep’ in my Away messages, and actually check all my emails, is good for me. The practice of zeroing down my work emails (or at the very least, zeroing down the priority ones closer to real-time), is such an underrated pleasantry. I  even make email sweeps eventful by putting on a playlist, getting into a zone and just knocking them out. What I’ve learned is that only about 60-75% of them actually warrant a response or action, the rest are somewhat spam or can be “starred” for a later response.

Check Your Calendar And Tentatively Plan Ahead

Will Monday be a light workday? Will Tuesday be a heavy one? Before I log out of work for the week, I always do a quick look at the coming week’s calendar. By now, most of us have our meeting schedules somewhat memorized but you honestly never know. Meetings that have been moved or added to cal can take you by surprise at the wrong time. I suggest getting ahead of it by simply taking a few minutes to look at next week’s calendar, on Thursday or Friday. While you don’t necessarily have to plan your schedule for those days, bracing yourself will allow you to kick off the week and walk into Monday fully prepared vs. bombarded and blindsided with “surprise” work and overwhelmed by it.

Adjust Your Weekend Notifications (DND)

Though I know this is easier said than done, especially for those who either come from — or currently work in —a  toxic workplace, it’s a must that you know your rights as an employee and be willing to fully lean into your designated days off. Now, unless you’re a doctor who is on-call, adjust your Slack or Microsoft Chats (or any other work chat room) to ‘Do Not Disturb.’ Anyone who truly needs to find you can call you. Or you can adjust your Slack settings to notify you in case of an emergency (if you’re not truly ready or comfortable with unplugging yet.)

Also, from your mobile device, you can adjust your phone’s notification and alert settings to *not* display your work emails on your home screen.

Set Your Alerts For The Coming Week Or Draft Your Checklist

Alarm clocks to wake up, reminders to cancel subscriptions, workout or return a call, etc. — plan these ahead instead of just waiting to do them day-by-day. The amount of weight lifted off of you when you have your alerts, alarms and reminders scheduled ahead is such a huge relief. So set it and forget it!

Sort Your Laundry (or prep for pickup, if this applies) 

I loathe laundry day. I hate everything about it. Now, the burden of this chore varies by person and accessibility. Some people also do drop-off and pick-up services (I’m a bit too territorial for that.) I actually never hated doing laundry when I lived at home with my parents, since the washer and dryer are conveniently in the garage. Now, I live in an apartment building where the washers and dryers are located on the ground floor of the building. Though fortunate to even have this located within my building, it still irks me that I have to perform cardio by walking in and out of my place for loading and unloading. However, what does help is sorting my clothing in advance. Once this task is complete, I feel half the feat is done in tackling my laundry.

Prep And/Or Plan Your Weekend Meal Menu

Prepping 2 days worth of food >>>>> 7 Days. When I meal prep on Sundays, it is not for an entire week. It is for about 3-4 days. See, I hate wasting food and that’s what tends to happen when I try to prep for more than half a week. However, come Friday, I like to figure out what I’m going to eat over the weekend. If I don’t do this, I will overindulge in takeout for 48 hours (and my pockets will pay for it).

So instead, I plan somewhat of a two-day, three-meals-a-day menu. And I plan one that is realistic for me. This menu only takes about 5 minutes to draft (and maybe even more if I want to try new places to eat). For Saturdays, I eat a small breakfast inside, brunch outside and have dinner at home. For Sundays, I usually treat myself to a takeout (or delivery) dinner and have my earlier meals at home. Either way, prepping or planning my meals, and filling in the at-home menu with stuff I can eat in my fridge, has saved me time and money.

Complete The Easiest Task On Your Hard List Of To-Do’s 

I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory. However, whatever that task was/is that you’ve been putting off for forever, just finally do it. Or at least get started on it. Now, if you have several of these, start off by tackling the “easiest” or more doable of the hard tasks on that list. And try doing it before the weekend hits. This way, you can wake up feeling guiltless and accomplished on Saturday morning. 

Check Your Bank & Card Statements

Before you even step foot into the weekend, check your account on Friday. Whether you are paid weekly or bi-weekly, it’s a must that you have an idea of what’s in your accounts and your credit card balances. While I know this can be intimidating for some, nothing is worse than paying for a fun weekend later with overdraft fees, overage fees or just late payments overall. You want to have a good time and spend responsibly. Your pockets, accounts and credit score will thank you later.

Pay Your Bills (Or Check Your Scheduled Payments)

Even if it’s just the minimums. While you could pay your bills over the weekend, I advise to pay them before then. One, they will be paid on a workweek/business day, which will ensure same-day or next-day day processing. Also, paying your bills feels like work – so why save it for the weekend? Pay them on weekdays or, if they are automated, ensure that payment has been processed or is scheduled to process.

Organize Or Clean Your Space In A Power Hour

You’d be surprised how much you can get done in an hour. While I usually reserve deep-cleaning my space for the weekends, sometimes I do not want to give up an entire weekend (or a Saturday for that matter) to clean. Instead, I deep-clean about twice a year and maintain my space all year long.

Now, if you’ve fell behind on maintaining, don’t fret. Use these tips to clean your space in a power hour (and FYI, if you feel you may be too tired to dedicate an hour of any weekday to cleaning, try a half-hour on a Thursday and a Friday).

Image via Unsplash

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