A surprising productivity secret among top CEOs, according to Forbes, is that Friday holds the key to an efficient work week. “My biggest secret for a productive Monday is what I do on Friday,” said Jon Rush, founder of C7 Device Recycle.
Recently a PRSA’s Strategies & Tactics story described steps we can take on Friday afternoons that prepare us for the most productive Mondays. The work you accomplish doesn’t have to be substantial, said the story, which quotes productivity expert Laura Vanderkam.
Vanderkam says a few minutes of planning, whether for a presentation or meeting on Monday, can lead to a better outcome or performance while also putting your mind at ease when you finally do leave the office. You’ll likely end up completing more than you set out to do anyway.
“If you want to write a novel, commit to writing 100 words a day,” she says. “You’ll probably do more, since 100 words is nothing, but that low expectation gets you to your computer even on days when you don’t want to be there. If you’re able to get a head start on a task you’re dreading, you’ll not only be in a better place come Monday; you’ll have a more relaxing weekend, to boot.”
Take these five simple steps on Fridays to prepare for the upcoming work week:
1. Create a Monday morning “hit list.” Include the first things that need to be accomplished, whether it’s an email you want to send or a phone call you need to make. Knowing what you want to knock out on Monday before you even sit down at your desk will help you get more done.
2. Review any loose ends. Take stock of what was left unfinished on your to-do list from the past week. Wrap up anything you can complete in two minutes.
3. Reflect on any task that fell through the cracks this week. Alex Cavoulacos, CEO of The Muse, recommends the 1-3-5 method: “On any given day, assume that you can only accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things,” Cavoulacos told the website Quartz at Work. Re-tool your goals for the following week, taking special care to bring forward those objectives that got waylaid last week.
4. Think about next week’s meetings. Are you ready for them? Set a timer for five minutes and take the smallest preparatory steps. You may be so engaged that you keep going.
5. Unplug. Refraining from checking email on Saturday and Sunday is integral to your sanity for next week, leaving you better rested for the busy Monday ahead. If you make this Friday commitment to your sanity and well-being, you’ll be better rested, more relaxed, and more able to hit the ground running on Monday.