6 Tips for Working the Weekend
Sometimes, you’re working the weekend. And I don’t mean checking email periodically on Sunday, but really having to hukner down with a work project that takes focus and a dedicated effort. We’ll presuppose that you're getting the option to do this at home but that’s actually the perfect place to start…
1 | Decide if a Few Hours at the Office Beats Puttering All Weekend
There are times when working at home is counter productive. At my office, I have a few screens, the printer is (relatively) more reliable, and I can count on being distraction free on a Saturday or Sunday. When I know I have some weekend work ahead of me, the first thing I do is decide if taking the bullet of going in to the office for a few hours will actually be more productive than a project that I tinker away at all weekend with fewer tech resources and far more time interruptions. Committing to just a few hours, and even tying it to something you get to do after you head to the office (brunch anyone?) , can relieve you of the mental energy of the task following you around at home all weekend.
2 | Schedule Your Work
This is the biggest tip that has made me more productive working weekends. On Friday, I set the exact time that I’m planning on getting through work. That can even be a couple of sessions broken up, two hours Saturday morning, and a couple on Sunday afternoon. Without a schedule, it’s easier to either let work take up your whole weekend, or, you’ll find yourself burning the midnight oil on Sunday night which isn’t at all restorative.
3 | Outline A Project Plan During the Work Week
Part of what helps my motivation on the weekend is to have a really clear idea of what tasks I need to accomplish. I think of the Friday work plan as doing my future weekend work self a favor, and giving her a little bit of a roadmap to mull over while she’s sipping coffee in her comfies. Already having some detailed steps broken out in a task list (using a favorite app like Evernote, or Asana for project planning) makes all the difference in getting right to work and staying motivated to march through tasks.
4 | Take Scheduled Breaks
Lately, I’ve been nuts about the pomodoro technique for all of my work efforts. It’s pretty incredible how much more you get done if you have the subconscious push of a timer ticking along in the background of your work. Matching this tool with the above strategy of a work plan also helps me think about tasks in terms of how much can get done in a 25 min blip, making me more thoughtful and efficient when I’m structuring tasks in that plan.
5 | Keep Distinct, “Weekend” Moments
If you’ve decided to work at home—and especially if you’re really in the soup and will be working most of the weekend—you’ve got to plan distinct weekend moments that get you out of the house. That can even be a change of scenery and some related reading that gives your brain a rest, but keeps you on track. I like popping over to a neighborhood coffee shop, or planning an early dinner out that still leaves me on track the next day.
6 | Preserve Sunday Nights as Work Free
If at all possible, preserve Sunday nights as a work-free moment. Giving yourself that window for reflection and a little self care means that you’ll show up as your best self Monday morning in a more productive capacity than you would otherwise. And, if you’re stuck working the weekend, it’s likely Monday isn’t going to be a treat either, so take the long view and give yourself some rest so you can start the week strong.