For me, those two short days always functioned as a continuation of my normal work week. Sure, maybe I'd sleep just a little later or make some time to do some household chores. But, other than that, the majority of that time was spent parked in front of my computer -- just like any other day of the week.
For quite some time, this approach seemed just fine. I have the tendency to bite off a little more work than I can chew, and I viewed my weekends as time to catch up on the little things that fell through the cracks throughout the week -- as well as get myself ahead of the game for the next one.
But, here's the problem: I never actually felt like I was getting ahead. I was stuck on the proverbial hamster wheel -- cranking out task after task without ever feeling a sense of accomplishment or having a chance to take a break. Before long, I was teetering on the edge of burnout.
I knew I needed to give myself some adequate time to rest and recharge on Saturdays and Sundays. However, I had no idea how to make it happen.
You see, I'm not somebody who can manage to relax when I know there are other things that need to get done. Those unfinished tasks nag at me, making it difficult to enjoy anything else. I've never been one of those people who could just shut down my computer, walk away from undone work, and return on Monday.
Or, could I?
Writing Things Down
In an effort to become someone who didn't spend all weekend churning through her inbox, I decided to try something different by ending my Friday work sessions with one important task: writing my to-do list for the following Monday.
I'm a list maker to my core. So, I had high hopes for this tactic, and wanted to try it for one big reason: I figured it would empty out my mental RAM of all of those lingering emails, reminders, and to-dos so that I could go into my weekend with a clear mind -- and the knowledge that I had an action plan in place for Monday morning.
Plenty of studies and influencers back up the magic of writing things down.
In his now famous book, Getting Things Done, author and productivity speaker, David Allen, recommends doing what he's coined as a "core dump" -- where you jot down every task, reminder, activity, and note you can think of in order to free up mental space for bigger thinking.
One different study even went so far as to determine that writing down your negative thoughts and then physically throwing them away can help you get rid of them altogether.
Did it Work?
See? There's plenty of merit to the idea that writing things down would help me head into my weekend with a clear head and a less frazzled attitude.
So, did this activity actually work for me in practice? You bet.
Now, every single Friday evening right before I'm set to walk away from my desk, I jot down my to-do list. I flip through my calendar, scroll through my numerous inboxes, and write down all of the little reminders and to-dos that need to be tackled (or at least remembered!) come Monday.
If something else pops into my head over the weekend? I take just one moment to add it to my list, so it doesn't fall out of my brain throughout the rest of my time off.
Since implementing this tactic just over a month ago, I'm pleased to report that I've seen significant improvements in my weekends.
Of course, it'll be a bit of a transition to shut down completely, but so far I've only worked a maximum of three hours on Saturdays and have taken Sundays completely off. I'd chalk that up as a success.
If you're someone who can't seem to switch out of "work mode" -- even on the weekends -- I highly recommend giving this tip a try for yourself. It could make all of the difference for you!