7 Smart Things to Do After a Long Weekend

You’ve got to love it when a holiday falls on the weekend, but those long weekends make it that much harder to check back into daily life.

Want to know the key to a successful return from a long weekend? There are two essential modes of thought to keep in mind. Remember a long weekend means a short week to motivate you to get the work done, and planning ahead will make the week fly by productively.

Here’s how to prepare for the long weekend.

1. Beat the Clock

Wake up and arrive at work early. Brew your coffee and catch up on all those emails. Arriving 15 minutes earlier will help you focus on reducing mind-numbing minutiae that you typically put off until the end of the day.

If you’re not one to arrive early, plan on staying later to boost your productivity flow at work. Those extra 15 minutes could lighten your load for the next day.

2. Re-Read Your Schedule

Don’t stumble into work with eyes half open, bring up a random work document and move your fingers around on the keyboard to trick your brain into work mode. You’re not fooling anyone. Take a moment to blink your eyes in the morning, drink a tall glass of water and re-read your schedule. Look through your meetings and goals for the day so you won’t miss an important meeting or phone call.

3. Optimize Your To-Do List

The week may be shorter, but that doesn’t mean your to-do list is. Forget the minutiae — 27 percent of professionals don’t arrive at long-term goals since they’re focused on smaller tasks.

Take a breath, and use this time to optimize your to-do list instead of stressing over it. Realize that some items on your to-do list may be unnecessary or able to be condensed. You also may not be using your time wisely if you’re continually struggling to check off certain items on your to-do list.

4.  Connect With Coworkers

Take five minutes to connect with a colleague, ask about their weekend and arrange a meeting for a project you’re working on. By taking time to connect with coworkers both personally and professionally, you enrich your work environment by showing you care and focusing on productivity.

So, make it a goal to connect with at least one coworker. Ask about what they enjoyed most about their weekend and talk shop. All it has to take is five minutes.

5. Touch Base With Customers and Clients

Just as you connect with coworkers, you should also make an effort to touch base with your customers. Send out emails to clients you’re currently working with to encourage them to get in contact with any questions. You don’t have to speak with everyone on your client list. Just follow through on your follow-ups from last week.

This small effort makes a big difference in the eyes of your clients and boosts customer loyalty.

6. Be Time-Sensitive

Break up your day into smaller chunks of time focusing on the task at hand. Be time-sensitive with projects that require your attention now.

For example, when you check your inbox, you may get into replying to the slew of emails in zombie mode. The point isn’t to type words in white space and hit send. Only respond to time-sensitive emails. Prioritize your emails and create filters specifically for detailed and deadline-driven projects.

Likewise, be sensitive of others’ time. Keep meetings and phone calls to the point and think about the best time of the day to reach each contact or be reached.

7. Get a Work Ritual

Dread going back to work and pushing through the day? Stop pushing and start flowing through your day by creating a work ritual and sticking to it.

Similar to bedtime rituals to help you drift off to sleep, work routines help you stay in the zone and stay centered in yourself. Work-life balance is difficult to maintain, so it’s important to choose a ritual that will keep you in touch with yourself professionally and personally.

What do you typically do when you go to work? How do you end the day? When you feel stuck, bored or frustrated, how do you cope?

You could make coffee while reviewing your schedule at the start of the day. When ending the day, you could organize your desk for tomorrow and take five minutes to journal away stress and celebrate achievements.

To cope with problems at work, go for a walk outside or read a page or a chapter of a book. Personal rituals and lucky charms increase feelings of self-efficacy to get the job done, according to one study.

It’s hard to get back into work mode after returning from a long weekend. Don’t be a zombie and just push through the short workweek.

These seven things will help you get ahead instead of lost in your to-do list. Get to work early to check emails and double check for any important calls or meetings, focusing on time-sensitive tasks and materials. Touch base with clients and coworkers, and use work rituals to stay calm and centered when the going gets tough. Use the short week as crunch time to refocus your workflow and restructure a typical business day into a successful one to get ahead.

What are your strategies for snapping into work mode after a long weekend? Share your thoughts in the comments, and subscribe to Punched Clocks for more smart productivity and career tips.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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