How To End Your Working Week Right So You Can Enjoy Your Weekend
The way you finish your working week is just as important as how you start it. Maybe more so.
End it right, and you put it to bed.
You’re free to rest and recharge for the weekend. And you’re all set to work better next week.
Treat Yourself To A Burger
Not an actual one. Not yet. This is a feedback burger. The buns are good — the bit in the middle is something to work on.
The feedback burger (also known as a s**t sandwich, but this is a family show) is a classic device.
It makes the negative easier to digest because on either side of it are two positivies you should be proud of.
Give yourself five minutes — it doesn’t have to take long.
Write down two things you did in your work week that went well. Then, write down one thing that could have gone better.
This is, effectively, a micro-journaling exercise. The combination of noticing, writing, then questioning is powerful. It’s a technique we seem happy to use in our personal lives — why not our professional lives?
Whatever you put in the middle of your burger — pay attention to it.
Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t avoid it. Just notice.
“It’s important to notice when we might avoid a particular topic or question and ask ourselves what we’re avoiding and why.”― Hannah Braime, ‘The Year of You: 365 Journal Writing Prompts for Creative Self-Discovery’
Reminding yourself of things you’re good at breeds self-confidence. Noticing and processing things that are hard for you is healthy.
The worst thing you can do is sweep them under the carpet.
Write Monday’s To-Do List
No, Andy! Don’t make me think about work on Monday, it’s Friday!
I know, I know.
But hear me out.
Do this right, and you will think about work a lot less during your weekend. Trust me.
The secret is to do it quickly. Again, give yourself five minutes and just empty your head. Try and identify some frogs to eat on Monday morning.
The frogs are the tasks that have been annoying you, or you’ve been putting off.
Getting them out of your head will do just that — get them out of your head. They won’t gnaw away at you at the weekend.
When you get back into work mode on Monday, your first bit of thinking is done for you.
You’re effectively starting your next working week before anyone else.
“The act of taking the first step is what separates the winners from the losers.”― Brian Tracy, ‘Eat That Frog!: Get More of the Important Things Done — Today!’
With Monday’s to-do list started on a Friday, you’re ahead already. That feels good.
Thank One Of Your Colleagues
Very few people work truly alone. All of us — during any week of trying to earn a living — will have been supported, encouraged, or enabled by other people.
Not only is it good for those others that you show them gratitude, but it’s also good for you.
Who helped you out this week? Who said something kind? Who backed up your idea in a meeting? Who did the task you assigned them promptly and to a high standard?
All of these achievements deserve to be recognized.
“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Alfred North Whitehead, Mathematician & Philosopher
It’s easy for us to think of our careers only in terms of where we are now, or where we want to be getting to.
What about where we came from?
When you were lower down your organization or less experienced, how much would it have meant to you for a more senior colleague to notice something you had done well, and thank you for it?
Do now what you wish someone had done for you, then.
I guarantee that your small act of gratitude will help the person you thank. And also help you.
Do a 30-Second Values Audit
Working out what you stand for and then living by it is one of the most transformative processes you can undertake in your life.
So few people do it. Those that do it achieve incredible things.
In my last job — before I left to launch my startup — I ran the programming team at a regional radio station. From the moment I started the role, to the moment I left, I made it very clear that my two key values were:
It helped me so much in every part of my job. If ever I had any doubts about what to do, I would base my decision on those two values.
At the end of each week, I would metaphorically look myself in the mirror and ask myself if I had lived out my values at work that week.
“A life lived with values in mind is one that allows you to be more conscious, more confident and more committed about the things you choose to do.” — Dr. Mandeep Rai, ‘The Values Compass: What 101 Countries Teach Us About Purpose, Life and Leadership’
Working out what your values are takes time and effort. The values audit at the end of your working week will only take 30 seconds.
It’s a small check-in on a massively powerful mindset tool.
Use it, and you will spot when you’re going off course before others get the chance to.
Choose How You Relax
When life happens to you — instead of you making deliberate choices — you start to feel out of control. We’re used to this idea within the spheres of diet and exercise, but rarely do we apply it to our leisure time.
Too often we let the world decide how we are going to relax.
Just because your work colleagues want to drink away their stress on a Friday night, it doesn’t mean you have to.
Consider the relative amounts of time you spend working and relaxing. Consider how different one week can be from another.
And yet most people do broadly the same things with their leisure time at weekends.
Invest some time in thinking about what truly brings you joy.
I know I’m happiest when I’m creative, when I’m helping people or when I’m making something.
This knowledge helps me strategically choose what I do to relax to balance myself.
For example, if I’ve had a week of meetings and process and not much creativity, I might choose to include time to write at the weekend, or — my new hobby — home brewing.
Conversely, if I’ve been involved in ideas and production all week I might want to watch films, read or listen to music at the weekend — to bask in someone else’s completed creation.
It is a personal choice. It is worth thinking about.
As the final act of your workweek, choose how you will relax at the weekend. After all, ending on a high note is always a good thing.
Putting your workweek to bed is important. You complete, and you prepare yourself to rest at the weekend.
These five actions will put you on the right track:
Treat Yourself To A Feedback Burger — sandwich one thing you could do better between two things you did well.
Write Monday’s To-Do List — Get tasks out of your head and get ahead in the process.
Thank A Colleague — It’s good for them. It’s good for you. It’s the right thing to do.
Do a 30-Second Values Audit — did you live your work week the way you wanted to?
Choose Your Relaxation — why only be deliberate in your work life?
End your workweek properly, enjoy better weekends, and start the next work week in even better shape.