Life of an Entrepreneur – Sunday Night Stress

by Feb 25, 2020Blog, Ramblings

For most of my career both in corporate and as a business owner, Sunday night was always tough. It didn’t matter if it was a busy weekend or a quiet one, around 8 pm the Sunday night stress set in. I could feel myself getting wound up with the knowledge that Monday morning was just a few hours away. And as I thought about the week ahead, I could see the countless emails, innumerable voice mail messages, the new requests from clients, changing deadlines, and unexpected crisis.

It was easy to feel completely overwhelmed. So my solution was to work all weekend but the truth is that didn’t help. The more I did, the more I felt I had to do, it became a vicious cycle, until I adjusted my Friday afternoons. The shift in my schedule helped me shift my mind set.

Ending Sunday night stress begins on Friday afternoon

Friday afternoon at the ‘peg is kind of quiet. After a busy week, most of the team is gone by 2 pm. It helps that I tell clients we don’t work on Fridays after 1:00 so there are no afternoon meetings, few phone calls or interruptions. This is my time to wind down and plan.

Organize: I have long been a devotee of the inbox zero strategy. So I take some time to answer the last lingering emails in my inbox. With multiple email accounts including my personal, business, Roundpeg, administrative, and the Digital Toolbox it takes awhile. But I respond, delegate, and move emails to my action required folder, so before I close my email there are no stray emails in my inbox. It won’t stay that way for  long, but I don’t spend the weekend dreading a stack of unanswered emails waiting for me Monday morning.

I organize my desk, filing loose documents including business cards, receipts, and notes. I also scheduled our cleaning service to come in over the weekend, so if I completely clear my desktop, it is really clean on Monday morning. Being greeted by that clean surface and fresh smell is something I look forward to as I walk in the door on Monday morning.

Friday afternoon is also my time to balance my checkbook, log mileage, and do miscellaneous bookkeeping. This gives me a chance to clean out my pockets and purse as well.

Skim and summarize: I moved to a Rocket notebook about 18 months ago, so there is significantly less paper floating around. I use this time to consolidate my notes, erase pages I have completed and scan others, transfer information to project folders and teams, or send them to my cloud-based to do file. Then I can head into the new week with a really clean slate.

Review and Plan: Before I head out the door, I look over my action items. This is when I have to make tough choices. There are always too many items on my list, so I will pause and consider why something didn’t get done. Maybe there wasn’t time, or maybe I didn’t make time. If I am not making time, maybe that task just isn’t worth doing. If that is the case, I cross it off my list.

If it is important and worth doing, I put an appointment on my calendar to work on it the following week or delegate it to someone else. Sometimes I have a great idea, but the timing just isn’t right, so I will accept the fact that it isn’t going to get done in the near future. I keep a notebook of ideas and plans and things I might get to someday. Writing it in my “someday notebook” gives me permission to take it off my to do list, allowing me to focus my  immediate attention on a smaller list. And when things slow down, I will browse my notebook and move things back on to my to do list.

Plan my weekend: I am a business owner, so there are always things to be done, but the Friday afternoon drill lets me divide the week. I still log on to my computer on the weekends, but it is for the more fun, creative projects such as writing or editing podcasts.  And to make sure I don’t sit at that computer all weekend, I use Friday afternoon to schedule walking time with friends and outings with family.

The Result: I am able to manage my Sunday night stress and I can look forward to the week ahead. This summer I had several MTFW conversations about planning and stress relief.  Here are two of my favorites. If my planning style doesn’t work for you, maybe one of theirs will.

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