Tips to Avoid Afternoon Slump at Work

With the weekend just hours away, Friday afternoons during the summer in the office can feel endless. The temptation to give in to distraction grows with every Twitter notification and Facebook update, the clock seems motionless, and the struggle to concentrate becomes herculean. While it’s easy to pass the time scrolling through Instagram or reading about yesterday’s basketball game, staying productive demonstrates professionalism and diligence when everyone else may already have their head in the weekend.

For those of us that struggle to stay on task on Friday afternoon, here are 15 tips to help the time go by as productively (and quickly!) as possible.

  1. Journal or Planner: In addition to your electronic calendar, and electronic project lists, select and keep a Journal or Planner with visible on-going long-term and short-term project lists. Visibility is key to triggering memory.  
  2. Be stylish and creative: Select something you’ll want to reach for, like a Lily Pulitzer, Moleskine , Kate Spade, or an office supply guaranteed to make you smile.
  3. Prepare: a Friday to-do list: Setting goals and a couple of detailed to-do tasks for those tough Friday afternoons can really help you stay on track.
  4. Review: Look over these project lists weekly. Consider selecting a fun Friday reward project.
  5. Create 3-4 goals: On Sunday, or early in the week, list goals that you need to complete before a long relaxing weekend
  6. Eliminate distractions: We often turn to social media when we are bored or excited about upcoming weekend events. So turn off websites or text messages that distract from productive work. Turn your attention to making the last few hours count.
  7. Move around: Don’t sit in one place and blankly stare at the computer screen. Get up and move around for a few minutes to get your blood flowing; this will help refocus your attention on your Friday tasks.
  8. Collaborate with a co-worker: Working together boosts productivity because you are holding each other accountable for daily tasks. If you have no shared projects, sit together and do individual work tasks!
  9. Plan for Next Week: Planning ahead keeps you competitive and starts the week on a high note. Confirm appointments, travel, and/or items for the week ahead.
  10. Storage: Follow organizational records retention policies and store hard and soft copy information.
  11. Delete & Organize Email: Set an alarm; take 30 to 60 minutes to organize and clear your email thread.
  12. Shred: Shred unneeded information according to records retention policies.
  13. Productivity:  Researching a topic you’re interested in, updating your LinkedIn profile, improving your desk space, and tidying up shared office space are all ways to be productive that’s not directly associated with your job description.
  14. Improve Your Communication:  Make conversations with those passing by you 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!
  15. Drink more water: Drinking more water actually helps reboot your energy and uplift your mood, which can essentially help you stay positive and focused on Friday.

Whether you team up with a coworker to combat Friday boredom, or reorganize your calendar and prepare for the week ahead, the last stretch of the workweek is what you make it. Make the most of your office time so that your weekend is a well-deserved reward for a job well done!

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, 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, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, 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.