We've all experienced it. The dreaded pit in your stomach on the last day of the weekend, the cloud that fogs your brain thinking about the number of emails adding up in your inbox, or the anticipation of trying to get through your list for the upcoming workweek.
Whether you call it the Sunday Scaries or Sunday Blues, according to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, this feeling of workweek anxiety affects 80 percent of professionals, with that percentage increasing to over 90 percent in Millennials and Generation Z.
While I'm not perfect at it, I do believe in spending much-needed time to rest and recharge--it's critical to performance, engagement, and motivation in your work. It's time we took back our weekends.
So, how can we all reduce those Sunday Scaries? Here are five hacks I've found that help me come into work on Monday feeling more motivated and ready to take on the week ahead.
Friday: Clean Out Your Inbox
One of the most frequent causes of the Sunday Scaries is a cluttered and full inbox. While it can seem impossible to set aside time to filter through your emails, the impact is worth it. To start, book time on your calendar. Schedule an hour for yourself at the end of each Friday to read and respond to as many unanswered emails as you can. By establishing a weekly routine to clean out your inbox, you'll start to notice that little notification number dwindling each week, allowing you to eventually empty your inbox every Friday, avoiding the Monday back-up and hours spent responding.
Friday: Reflect on the Week
Forget for a second the work you didn't get to this week. What did you accomplish? What's one thing you're proud of? I book a half hour every Friday to send a video reflection on the week (including shoutouts to people who went above and beyond on our team globally). Doing so ensures that gratitude is a weekly practice built into my schedule, versus an afterthought.
Self-reflection is a powerful tool to help recognize positive work across your organization and to center yourself doing into the weekend.
Saturday: Unplug--Mentally and Physically
You have just two days to step away from the office each week and enjoy time with your friends, family, loved ones, and yourself--commit to maximizing that time. Constantly getting pinged with new emails and Slack notifications isn't going to help your Sunday Scaries--it will only onset them sooner. And unplugging on the weekend is actually better for both your mental and physical health. So hit the snooze button on your alarm clock and your notifications--the mental space will pay dividends that extend well past the weekend.
Sunday: Set Your Intentions
Our COO, JD Sherman, spends his time Sunday aligning his priorities for the week ahead. Doing so ensures that his schedule reflects what's most important, versus the loudest voice in the room or attending meetings just because they are on your calendar.
Take a half-hour of your day Sunday to think about what you really need to get done this week and write it down. Having three things you really want to prioritize getting done for the week makes planning and scheduling seem much more doable, and writing those three priorities down ensures that when you get a random request mid-week you can go back to your commitments to ensure you're spending your time and energy wisely.
Monday: Start the Day with Something Positive
For me, it's typically a workout, but it could also be meeting a new employee, reconnecting with a co-worker who always gives me great feedback, or a team meeting to kick off the week with great energy. You can't control what happens the rest of the day or the week, but making your first calendar appointment something you actively look forward to will make it a whole lot easier to get excited next Sunday before work.
I'm no stranger to the Sunday Scaries. But earlier this year, I pledged to hold myself accountable to maintaining these hacks. And if you're having trouble sticking to your new routine, grab an accountability buddy. I guarantee you know more than one other person battling the same Sunday Blues as you.