I love taking Fridays off work. It’s a real bonus, looking forward to and enjoying a long weekend. Somehow having Friday off means I can get a jump-start on the weekend and get more done and enjoy it more. This makes sense of course – there’s 50% more time available to do what you want to do. Whilst you may not be able to hang up the “gone fishing” sign, you may be able to polish off the majority of your work by Thursday night and enjoy a meeting and stress free Friday allowing you to plan and be creative.
This ‘amended’ article from the excellent Fast Company magazine suggests how it can be done:
1. Schedule intentionally
If you’re aiming to view Friday as the extra day tacked onto the end of your workweek — a day when all of your weekly tasks are finished and you can finally have a clear head and a somewhat empty plate then schedule it that way.
Avoid scheduling meetings, phone calls, and other important get-togethers on that day (unless it’s just a casual coffee get-together with a networking contact). Instead, you want Friday to provide a large chunk of totally uninterrupted time that you can use however you’d like.
“If you want to have Friday reserved as free space, you’re going to need to constantly evaluate your priorities.”
Dustin Moskovitz, cofounder and CEO of Asana, swears by this no-meeting structure — although he implements it on Wednesdays for his team. “With very few exceptions, everyone’s calendar is completely clear at least one day out of the week, whether you are a maker or manager,” he says “This is an invaluable tool for ensuring you have some contiguous space to do project work.”
This intentional scheduling applies throughout your entire workweek. In order to set yourself up for an empty Friday, you’ll also need to keep a close eye on your schedule during the other days as well.
Whilst you don’t always have complete control over your calendar it’s important that you frequently check through your schedule to see how your week is shaping up. If you think you have far too many commitments and not enough time to actually work, you’ll need to see what you can move around or back out of.
2. Focus on priorities
You start your week with the best intentions and a laundry list of things you’re going to tackle in the office. But when Friday rolls around, you’re shocked to realise that you barely accomplished any of them. You were too caught up in the emergencies that cropped up.
As Stephen R. Covey, the successful businessman and author, said “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important.”
People who get everything wrapped up before Friday know the value of effective prioritisation and many of them use the time management matrix developed by Covey in order to take a step back and readjust their focus on the things that are critical, rather than time pressing.
There’s often a big difference between how you’re actually spending your time and how you should be spending your time. And if you want to have Friday reserved as free space, you’re going to need to constantly evaluate your priorities and ensure that you’re channeling your energy into the right things.
3. Tune out distractions
Of course, you’re going to need to maximize every single minute of the days you actually do have available. And that means minimising distractions as much as possible.
If you can’t focus at your desk with the office chatter and phone calls happening around you, try to find a quiet spot (or, if you’re desperate, some noise-canceling headphones) so that you can get into a groove and zone in on whatever you’re working on.
Another distraction you’ll want to keep at bay? Emails. So close out that browser tab and resist the siren song of your inbox. You can even take a cue from Tommy John’s CEO, Tom Patterson, and set an out of office message that lets everybody know you’re only reading your emails at a certain time. That way, you won’t feel as tempted to keep checking in on your inbox.
4. Find shortcuts
Shortcuts doesn’t mean shoddy work. It means being more productive and smarter with your time.
Successful people are always concerned with producing top-notch results — however, they also find little ways to save time in the process. So, take a page from their book and have a good, hard look at your routine. Are there places where you’re spending a lot of unnecessary time?
Don’t start every process from scratch. For example save a canned email response so you don’t have to draft the same message over and over again.
Perhaps it’s a document you’re repeatedly drafting. Create a template so you always have the barebones in place.
Is there a menial task you need to complete daily or weekly? See if there’s a way you can automate it.
These changes seem small. But, if you managed to save yourself 15 minutes each day between Monday and Thursday, that’d be an entire hour by the time Friday rolls around. See? It all adds up.
Cutting a day out of your week might seem like a sure-fire way to get far less done. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, four day workweeks have been proven to offer plenty of benefits — including increased productivity, higher levels of engagement, and happier employees.
Studies also show that longer hours don’t always equal more tasks being accomplished. After a certain point, we check out, and our productivity either flat lines or takes a total nosedive.
So even if your office won’t officially implement a compressed week, you can still roll up your sleeves, make the most of Monday through Thursday, and reserve Friday as a more low-key day when you can tackle bigger projects or set yourself up for success next week. After all, there’s no better way to head in to the weekend.
Thanks to Fast Company for these suggestions. View full article