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.
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.
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.
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.
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