Fridays are always rough. With floods in NYC and along the eastern coastline, snow in the Midwest, and general cold sweeping the country, it’s hard enough to get to work, let alone finish it.
But, with a few clear and concise daily goals, you can create a productive and welcoming start to what’s likely to be a slightly dreary weekend.
1. Concentrate despite the cold
Although the autumn weather is finally be turning, your office heat may still be turned off.
If you find yourself losing concentration in a cold office, try using the countdown method. Look at the clock and plan to work ten more minutes, read ten more pages, or write ten more lines of a brief. Then, reward your effort with a warm cup of tea or coffee.
Whether it’s due to temperature issues or end-of-the-workweek procrastination, don’t lose your focus. Counting down a few more minutes will help you finish that less stretch of work before heading home. Or, finishing that last memo before going to lunch.
You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in just a few more minutes. More often than not, having a distinct, short-term deadline to complete a task will bring back your fat-waning concentration.
2. Do the most important task first
At the end of the week, it’s easy to waste your day working on little projects—filing papers or filling out timesheets, for example.
But, this usually leads to an unrelaxing weekend worrying about the more important case-related matters you left behind. And, it can also lead to a weekend spent at the office.
So, today, find your most important task at hand. Complete this item first.
If you funnel your concentration and effort into one, single work item, you’ll be more satisfied with your progress, and you’ll have set a more manageable goal for a Friday afternoon.
3. Ignore your email
Fridays are a great day for people to pass off work, delegate, or finally respond to e-mails from earlier in the week.
And, e-mail is the quickest way to lose your work momentum.
So, maintain your concentration by ignoring new, incoming e-mails—at least for awhile.
Create a schedule for checking them (say, every hour). This will also give you an occasional, much-needed break from completing your more important projects.
4. Don’t forget your to-do list
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your concentration starts to decline. There feels like just too much to do in so little time.
Creating a to-do list is one of those basic, old, but still valuable tasks for any professional. Create a to-do list for the day and for the week. If you can, assign dates to each task (you can modify them later).
Creating a to-do list will get you in the habit of writing things down.
After every phone call, e-mail, or in-person conversation, write down the project being discussed, along with the related-tasks.
This is one of the many reasons why Excel was created.
At the end of the day, you’ll be grateful for the visual representation of all your work—especially once you see that none is urgent and your weekend about to begin.