Staying on task can sometimes prove to be a struggle, but it’s even more difficult to do when it’s the end of the workweek. Friday afternoons especially are the toughest to motivate yourself to keep working as your Instagram feed begins to pile up with photos from happy hours or early Summer Friday dismissals.
However, the reality is that this feeling isn’t limited to the summer season. How can you beat the Friday productivity slump and make the most of these last-minute hours to prep yourself for next week year-round?
I rounded up a few tried and true activities worth focusing on and completing during the Friday lull.
1. Tidy up your workspace
This may sound basic, but it works and it’s remarkable how quickly our desks can become covered in paperwork and materials throughout the course of a week. Having a clean space to work in helps you stay focused and alert, minimalizing the amount of distractions. This doesn’t just apply to keeping your desk clear of clutter, but also impacts your desktop computer.
Stop trying to keep a million tabs open at once and focus on a few at a time. If you have a second monitor, you might even consider turning it off to place all of your attention in strategic areas.
2. Create, and crush, your to-do list
I know — of all the days to do everything on your to-do list, Friday is generally not the first one we associate with conquering all the things. Ideally, you’ll have created this list on Monday and steadily made your way through it as the days progress.
Use your Friday to tie up any loose ends, get organized on the items you put off on your agenda, or commit to plowing ahead and finishing any remaining assignments. You might be exhausted by the end of the day, but you’ll leave the office feeling triumphant that you were able to get everything done.
Of course, you can always choose to coast on Friday — just remember that everything you left behind that day will be waiting for you on Monday.
3. Take a mental break
Whether this means taking a walk or eating your lunch outside to enjoy the fresh air, part of productivity requires movement to get your muscles and brain flowing. If you’re stuck in a rut, go outside, clear your head, and come back feeling ready to tackle your remaining workload.
4. Skip casual Fridays
Wait… Did you just tell us not to embrace casual Friday ensembles? Sometimes, our outfits can be the biggest motivator in how we work. You can still dress down your office attire for Fridays, but make sure your outfit still means business.
Bring out your comfy jeans and pair them with a nice blouse and dress it up with some cute accessories. You’ll be ready to take on your 9-5, and easily have your outfit transition to the post-work happy hour session.
5. Establish a buddy system
Do you work alongside a favorite team member in your department? Get a buddy system going to keep each other accountable for goals set during the week. Make a joint to-do list or give each other a copy of your to-do lists and make sure you are each staying on top of your workload.
In the same way that people have workout buddies to stay motivated, your office buddy will help you stay right on track throughout the day.
6. Plan ahead beyond the upcoming week
So, you’ve used your spare time to prep for the week to come… And you still have plenty of spare time left. What can you do to fill the void? Look ahead by planning and setting goals for the month(s) to come. This will give you something to look forward to and challenge you to think outside the box.
You may also want to create a list of your “weekly wins” or accomplishments, so you have a better understanding of all that you have completed and everything you still want to do.