I was recently introduced to the concept of the "Sunday Scaries" by a few young women who work at Okta, the company I co-founded with Todd McKinnon in 2009. Apparently, it's the feeling of anxiety that grips you on Sunday afternoons, when thoughts of the next day's workload creep into your head. And I have to admit, even as the COO of a company with hundreds of employees, thousands of enterprise customers and a million things to do every week, I've never experienced the Sunday Scaries. It's largely thanks to the three calendar holds I have at the end of every Friday.
The first is a quick one: approving expense reports. It may only take 15 minutes, but approving your employees' expenses is worth double the time. Your employees will appreciate starting the weekend knowing cash is forthcoming. (And on the flip side, they'll hate it--and resent you--when they have money outstanding.)
Afterwards, I take time to do an operational look ahead, reviewing my calendar for the upcoming week. If I'm traveling, I let everyone relevant--folks on the operations, customer success, finance, public relations teams--know that I'm going to be in a different timezone and might be working weird hours. If I'm around, I note which meetings I'll need to spend significant time preparing for, and which meetings might not be necessary. I do the same for other executives--if I don't think it's imperative for our Chief Revenue Officer Adam Aarons to meet with a new business partner visiting HQ to discuss initial go to market plans, I suggest he cancel. And if Todd and I are both scheduled to be in a meeting, I'll decide if having both of us there is necessary. Usually it's not, so we'll determine who should attend to make the most of our time.
I end my day with a sweep of my weekly meeting notes. Now, that might sound like a relatively quick task for the average note taker, but I am not the average note taker. I have over 700 Evernote notes and I'm constantly scribbling in a small physical notebook that I keep in my jacket or shirt pocket. When in meetings--one-on-ones with Todd, our CFO Bill Losch or Okta's General Counsel Jon Runyan, or calls with customer CIOs to see how we're doing--I take shorthand notes in my little notebook. And when I say shorthand, I mean short. One page of chicken scratch in my notebook usually translates to multiple pages within Evernote, and I spend time every Friday typing up all my notes and organizing them as actions and to-dos in Evernote. I organize my weekly to-dos by priority and function and know everything that needs to be done in the short- and long-term going into the weekend.
Now, that might sound unsettling--spending the last hours of your work week thinking about your next work week--but it actually has the opposite effect. By planning for the week ahead, I don't worry about using my mental capacity to recall meetings and actions when Monday comes around. And once I feel prepared for the week ahead, that's when I'm able to unplug and enjoy the weekend with my family.