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Do These 10 Things on Friday to Make Monday Awesome

Do These 10 Things on Friday to Make Monday Awesome

How many awesome Mondays have you had in your life? If you are like me, not many I reckon. Mondays can be grim. You are feeling very fragile, nervous, perhaps a little depressed at the mountain of work facing you, and you are having fits of nostalgia about the great weekend. But what if you could organize Fridays a bit better to make the entry into the Monday atmosphere less traumatic? Read on, because you could soon be making your Mondays awesome.

1. Get one major task finished

This is the task that you have said that you will do by Friday. TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday) is now here and you just have to get it done. Here are some tips to make sure this happens this Friday and not Monday or Tuesday … or even next Friday!

  • Alert colleagues that you will be unavailable for a few hours.
  • Make sure that you use Google’s Inbox Pause so that no emails are coming in and there are no alerts popping up in that lower corner on your monitor.
  • Set yourself a time limit – use one of the new task management apps if that helps you. Use the ‘Pomodoro’ time alarm if it suits you. This allows you to work in 25-minute blocks with a 5-minute break after the first slot. Breaks become longer as you progress through the day. It’s up to you.

2. Find a quiet place to work

There may be areas where you can shut yourself away to finish the above task. This is essential as you can avoid the ‘drive-bys’ and all the other interruptions that inevitably mess up your concentration. Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California has researched the effect of interruptions on productivity. Not only is valuable time lost but stress levels are increased.

3. Now plan the week ahead

Make a to do list now, rather than on Monday morning when you may be overwhelmed with the mayhem. When planning the week ahead, keep in mind that Mondays and Tuesdays are the most productive days at work, so plan the most difficult tasks for then.

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With the to do list made, you can easily cut it by 50% so that you are left with the top priorities for the coming week. Employees frequently misjudge timing and also tend to put minor jobs on the list.

4. Ask for help on Friday, not Monday

If you are going to need extra help during the coming week, Friday is the best day to ask for it. This gives managers time to allocate staff, and there is also a better chance that your request will be granted. It shows that you are planning ahead. Your line manager may well be more open to such requests on a Friday than on a hectic Monday morning!

5. Plan meetings for later in the week

If you decide on meetings, it is better to leave Mondays free, unless the meetings are high priority ones. The reason is that everybody else is also under pressure and you can all have a more productive day.

If you are running section meetings, make sure that there is a strict time limit on them and that there is a no-device policy in place.

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If you are ever asked by your supervisor what suggestions you have to improve meetings, mention the two points above as they can really make a difference.

6. Make Friday an email-free day

If you are in a managerial role, consider what many companies have done by banning all internal emails on Fridays. Everybody gets more work done. You can benefit enormously from this. Think about the following reasons many companies are now advocating for this:

  • It makes more use of the office phone system
  • It reduces digital clutter
  • It encourages more face-to-face interaction with coworkers.

7. Friday is the day to change your routine

Colleagues are more relaxed and more open to informal chats, lunch appointments and discussions on Fridays. You can try changing your routine by:

  • Gravitating to people who inspire you
  • Avoiding the whiners and the rumor mongers
  • Changing your office route so that you meet new colleagues you do not normally see
  • Asking colleagues if you can shadow them for a few hours. You may feel that you want more input on the financial and marketing areas, for example.

Changing your routine and meeting new coworkers will be stimulating and help you to get out of the rut. Friday is a great day to do it as people are in a better mood with the weekend coming up.

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8. Offer to help your boss or a colleague

Because you have been so productive on Monday, you now have some spare time on Friday. Instead of surfing the Internet and catching up on Facebook, why not earn some brownie points by offering to help your manager with an outstanding task that he or she is trying to finish, or asking a team member what help they need.

9. Finish off mindless tasks

Friday is a great day to do routine tasks. They are fairly easy and it is the end of the week, when energy is inevitably low. This could be anything from tidying up digital files, to working on reports, minutes, performance assessments, and accounting.

By doing this, you are freeing up Monday and the rest of the week when these could be irritating obstacles to one of your top priorities. A missed deadline could creep up on you.

10. Show appreciation

Last, but not least, finish the week with a flourish. Send an email (or a thank-you note if you still know how to use a pen!) to a colleague who has performed well, or who has gone the extra mile to help the team out. By just saying thank you will increase motivation and good will, which will contribute to making your workplace a happier and more productive place.

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Now that you have finished your week by planning wisely and getting rid of a lot of clutter, you are in pole position to have an awesome Monday. Enjoy it for a change!

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Featured photo credit: Monday / Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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