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You Can Finish Your Workweeks On Thursday By Doing These 6 Things

You Can Finish Your Workweeks On Thursday By Doing These 6 Things

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.

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1. Start with the most important tasks

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!

2. Setting time boxes increases productivity

Setting a time box for every task we do can help us be more efficient and get more accomplished.[4] Timeboxing assigns a fixed time period to a particular task, increasing productivity. Break down your tasks into 30 minute or hour-long increments. Have a larger task that can’t be completed in a short time period? Break that big boy down into smaller tasks that can be completed in manageable time boxes.

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%.

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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.

3. Pinpoint three most important tasks

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.

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4. Find shortcuts to save time

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.

  • Keep a basic template for repeated emails or documents
  • Let technology do the work for you by scheduling simple daily tasks
  • Generate checklists to streamline work

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.

5. Write a stop doing list

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]

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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!

6. Post-work routines make you sharper

Have a post-work routine can help you relax and become even sharper the next day.[9] By utilizing a routine after you clock out for the day, you’re giving your body and brain the chance to refocus and regenerate. It’s important for your post-work routine to include some sort of physical activity that involves mental focus like working out, playing your favorite sport, or even playing a game of ping pong or pool.

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.

Reference

More by this author

Amanda Light

Wife, Mom, Writer

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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