As the countdown to the weekend begins, summer Friday afternoons in the office can feel endless. Each new Instagram notification is a temptation at your fingertips, the clock seems motionless, and the extra bit of dark chocolate didn’t deliver its normal punch of motivation. While it’s easy to pass the time scrolling through the latest news feed or chatting with a colleague, staying productive demonstrates professionalism and diligence when everyone else has already checked out.
For those of us that want to make the most of Friday afternoon, here are 12 tips to guarantee that the time goes as productively (and quickly!) as possible.
- Eliminate Distractions: We often turn to social media when we are bored or excited about upcoming weekend events. So turn off notifications that distract from productive work, close windows on your computer that you don’t need, and even put your phone out of sight to make the last few hours count.
- Prepare a Friday to-do list. After lunch on Friday, take 15 minutes to set goals and a couple of detailed to-do tasks to really help you stay on track and prepare for a relaxing weekend. How can you make re-entry to the office on Monday less stressful? Consider selecting a fun Friday reward project.
- Collaborate with a Coworker. Boost your productivity by working with a co-worker and hold each other accountable for a productive Friday. Even if you have no shared projects, sit together and accomplish individual work tasks!
- Update your Planner. In addition to your online calendar and project lists, keep a real journal or planner with visible on-going long-term and short-term project lists. Visibility is key to triggering memory.
- Set up for the week ahead. Planning keeps you motivated and starts the week on an organized note. Confirm appointments, travel, and/or items for the week ahead.
- Move around. If you’re already feeling antsy – move. Get up and move around for a few minutes to get oxygen to your brain. This helps refocus your attention on Friday tasks.
- Stay hydrated. Drink more water or make yourself a nice cup of herbal tea. Staying hydrated helps reboot your energy and uplift your mood, which helps you stay positive.
- Get organized. Take 30-60 minutes on Friday afternoons to sort through email. Delete or archive what’s unneeded. Answer others timely and set aside pending project threads.
- Shred & store. Follow organizational records retention policies to store hard and soft copy information. Shred unneeded information according to retention policies. This will declutter both your computer, desk and office space.
- Think big picture. If you still have time, research a professional topic of interest, update your LinkedIn profile, improve your desk space, or tidy up shared office space. There are always ways to be productive that are not directly associated with your job description.
- Be stylish and creative. Add personality to your work environment to increase happiness and motivation, such as Lily Pulitzer stationery or Agenda, a Moleskine notebook, or an office supply guaranteed to make you smile.
- Build office rapport. Make conversations with colleagues in the hallway or elevator, whether you know them or not. Further develop your interpersonal and social skills. You never know what that conversation might bring you!
Whether you choose to check off some tasks, prep for the week ahead, or partner with a coworker to combat Friday boredom, capitalize on the last stretch of the workweek. Stay focused with office time so that your weekend is a well-deserved reward for a job well done!
Sharon Schweitzer wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, attorney, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide (Wiley 2015), now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.