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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

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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