Do you ever feel like your workweek always drags on while the weekend zips by before you know it? It’s a cruel kind of torture. And it never seems to end.What if there was a way to change the structure of your workweek so that your week flew by and all the hard work was done by Thursday?
Even though we wish we could have every Friday off, wouldn’t it be nice to use your Fridays as a “bonus” day to tackle bigger assignments (that you never have time to get around to) and get a head start on next week?
Yes, it’s seriously doable. Yes, many successful people and companies already use flexible workweeks.1 And yes, you can do it too if you use your time wisely.
Start your day by spending the first 90 minutes on your most important task.2 According to research,3 the human body functions on cycles called ultradian rhythms. This term refers to 90-120 minute brain cycles that take place when we’re both awake and asleep. This rhythm determines when our body and brain are most energized and when we need some down time. Even if you don’t feel like it, your brain is most active in the morning. This is the best time to do your best and most important work!
Setting a time box for every task we do can help us be more efficient and get more accomplished.4
Once you’ve mastered putting each task into a time box throughout your day, increase your productivity even further by shrinking your time boxes! Shoot to complete your task in a shorter time period by shrinking the box by 10% or 20%.
The trick to successful timeboxing is to work on that task until the deadline for that duty ends. Then, it’s time to move onto the next item on your list. When you set a tight deadline for each different task throughout your day, it motivates you to raise your productivity level and get your work done.
Rather than rattling off a long to-do list of tasks you need to get done for the day, pinpoint the three most important things you need to focus on.5 Having a long to-do list isn’t a measure of success, especially if you can’t complete the most important tasks on the list. Put these assignments on your calendar so you remember the high-points for each day.
By highlighting the three most important missions every day, you’ll accomplish what matters most on your list. This improves your ability to prioritize. When top priorities are achieved, productivity is accomplished, and your workweek just got shorter.
Highly productive people find shortcuts to save time.6 Now, just be clear, a “shortcut” doesn’t mean sloppy work. We’re talking about time-saving methods for repetitive tasks. There are probably a thousand different ways to save time, but there are a few tried and proven methods that always work. Take a look at your daily routine and pinpoint places where you’re spending a lot of useless time doing repeated tasks.
Even if you make small changes, anything that saves you 10 to 15 minute per day adds up. That’s extra time you can use to be more productive in other areas, all part of the plan to shorten your workload which shortens your workweek.
To be more productive, write a stop doing list.7 What are you going to stop doing that is going to make you successful and more productive? Sometimes, it’s as simple as reducing your time spent doing useless tasks like checking facebook (some studies show that most people spend about 50 minutes every day!)8
If you can take 30 to 60 minutes every day and make it a point to stop doing unproductive tasks, that time adds up to 2-4 hours for a four day workweek. That’s almost half a workday!
Have a post-work routine can help you relax and become even sharper the next day.9
Doing this type of activity allows your body to relax and destress. Unwinding from the work-day may seem like a waste of time. But by relaxing and taking a mental break, you’re setting yourself up for sharper focus and productivity for your next work day.
Even though these changes might seem insignificant, they really add up. Additionally, putting in longer hours doesn’t always result in more work getting done. After so many hours, our brain shuts down and our ability to work efficiently goes down the drain.In the end, there’s no better way to start your weekend than knowing you dominated your week. Use Monday through Thursday to accomplish your weekly workload, and use Friday to tackle big projects and get a head start on next week. Even if your employer doesn’t support a shortened work week, there’s nothing stopping you from upping your performance and setting yourself up for success.
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