Most offices in Canada were back in business today after a statutory holiday Monday. If you had the day off yesterday, you likely came into work today feeling refreshed and ready to move at high-speed through your shortened week… until you opened your inbox, looked at your to-do list and realized you have only four days to complete five days’ worth of work. Fear not! Below are the TACK10 Tuesday Top 5 Strategies for a Shortened Work Week.

1. Catch up on emails, but not all at once
Like any regular work week, time is often wasted reading in detail through every email as it comes in. Instead of starting your day buried in your inbox, check first for notes that you know are important, that are flagged as high-priority from the sender, or that will take two minutes or less to send a reply. Move on to other work, and catch up on the less-timely emails periodically throughout the day.

2. Prioritize deadlines
Take a look at your list and make note of which tasks are due this week, which are due early next week, and which have an extended timeframe for completion. The latter can be saved for last while you work diligently on those jobs with a deadline that falls within your shortened week. Even if a certain task would be quick to work through, it need not be touched if it is not due this week.

3. Meet only if necessary
There are often jokes crafted about that dreaded meeting that would have been better suited as an email. The truth is, most of us have experienced this first-hand! If you have a question for someone on your team, decide if it needs to be asked in a pre-booked meeting, or if it can be answered in passing, on the phone, or through an email. If you have been invited to sit in on an optional meeting, try to opt out this week to ensure your focus stays on those important deadlines established earlier.

4. Avoid burnout
It can be tempting to work late, to take extra tasks home with you, or to plan for weekend work when you are in the midst of a shortened week, but the truth is this type of behaviour can sometimes hinder your performance more than it can help. Working overtime can lead to burnout, which in turn can make you groggier from 9-5. Prioritize your sleep, especially during a packed week.

5. Plan ahead for next week
At the end of your shortened work week, you should be feeling good about your completed tasks, but as planned early on, should have some that carry over into your next week. End your week on an organized note by not only taking stock of what you have completed, but by writing out your next priorities. This way, you will be feeling good about the work you accomplished during your shortened week, and will be ready for action on Monday.