There’s a reason companies opt for summer Fridays instead of, say, summer Tuesday afternoons. The last hours of the day in the last workday of the week tend to be unproductive, to put it lightly. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
With a little planning, you can use your Friday afternoon at work to make your entire workweek much easier, more rewarding and — dare we say — more fun.
It’s all about changing your perspective. Stop thinking of Friday p.m. as a time to slog through and start thinking of it as an opportunity to regain control of your time. You’ll find that those neglected hours can make the rest of your time at work much more pleasant.
1. Log Your Accomplishments
Do you spend Friday afternoons dwelling on what you didn’t do?
“Successful people tend to flip that around and remind themselves of just how much progress they did make, even if it’s only ‘small wins,'” says Michael Kerr, author of You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work, in an interview with Business Insider.
Kerr recommends that managers have their teams gather on Friday afternoons and list three wins from the week.
Even if you’re not managing anyone at the moment, you can observe this ritual on your own. As a bonus, logging your accomplishments in a running list can help you remember them at performance review time.
2. Make a Road Map for the Coming Week
You probably have a rough idea of what you need to do at work next week. But have you thought about how you’ll use the rest of your time? Leadership blogger Ted Bauer uses his Friday afternoons to create a road map for next week — including the activities that many of us leave for our “spare time,” such as exercise.
“On Friday afternoon, I outline each day of the next week in Trello. I set up a bunch of automated sharing and emails,” Bauer writes. “I try to figure out what days I want to go to the gym or do other things. By the end of Friday afternoon, then, I have a road map for Monday-Friday next week. Obviously stuff changes — ‘urgent client need,’ etc. — but it’s usually a good way to map stuff out.”
3. Cross One Thing Off Monday Morning’s To-Do List
Got some extra time this Friday afternoon? Be kind to Monday-morning you and cross off a task from your future to-do list.
The advantages of doing so are clear. Not only will you start off your week ahead for a change, but you’ll reduce the stress associated with dreading a busy schedule. Who knows, you might even mitigate those Sunday night blues.
4. Make Weekend Plans
Want to make the most of your time off? Make some plans.
If you’re truly exhausted, the thought of blocking off yet another segment of your calendar might make you groan. But setting aside time for planned leisure ensures that you don’t spend your whole weekend catching up on your Netflix or scrolling through Instagram.
5. Clean Up Your Desk
Your desk tells your coworkers a lot about you — whether you want it to or not. Beyond that, it may also affect how much you’re able to get done. You might “have a system,” but there’s a limit to how much clutter one work area will sustain before it becomes unproductive.
So, take a few minutes at the end of your week to get organized. It’ll make you feel more in control of your surroundings and give you a nice mood boost first thing Monday morning.
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