For Work-Life Balance, Work Sunday Nights
When you go home Friday night, do you stress about work all weekend? Do you end up doing work to avoid being swamped Monday morning? Here’s a wild idea: Make a habit of working every Sunday night.
Lexi Reese, COO at the online HR company Gusto, is a meticulous planner. “Without a plan,” she says, “you can quickly come to live a life that you regret.” She’s committed to leaving the office at 5 every day, even while running a startup. So every three months, she sits down to map out her calendar; then each week she adjusts it. And every Sunday night, after she and her husband put their kids to bed, Reese reviews the coming workweek.
If you’re like me, you caught a wave of physical revulsion at the thought of working on Sunday night. But if you’re like me, you might also be realizing right now that you already spend Sunday night stressing about getting back to work. And maybe, just maybe, if work is already ruining your weekends, you may as well get something out of it.
This doesn’t mean doing the meat of your work on Sunday (unless you really want to). It means planning, so you can spend Monday morning actually working, instead of catching up. It means looking at your calendar and deciding whether you need to move or cancel some appointments if you want to actually get your work done.
Two days before her Sunday night session, Reese ends her workweek with a Friday afternoon assessment. What did she accomplish, what didn’t she accomplish, what needs to change? She does another brief check-in on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. The point is to course-correct every couple of days, instead of realizing that she has to cancel an appointment or push a deadline at the last minute. It doesn’t work every single time, but it makes Reese’s typical workweek much less chaotic.
So if you’ve already achieved work-life balance and feel just fine on weekends, and if you never have to apologize for a last-minute cancellation, or if Sundays are just too sacred, forget all this! If you can do all this at 5 on Friday instead, more power to you. But if work is eating up your personal time, maybe sacrificing some of your time will help you recover the rest.