025: Take Back Your Fridays | Tanya Dalton
July 4, 2017   |   Episode #:

025: Take Back Your Fridays

In This Episode:

Using streamlining strategies for planning your tasks, obligations and projects will allow you to ease into the weekend. Friday no longer has to be the most unproductive day of the week – let’s make it successful, productive AND relaxing!

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Friday can be your most productive day of the week.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I make Friday feel more productive?
  • What are some strategies to set up my day for success?
  • How can I streamline my projects and tasks?
  • What are some steps to set better boundaries?

Actions to Take

Key Topics in the Show

  • Learn how to set up Friday for the ultimate day of success.

  • How to streamline tasks, projects and more to avoid the Friday burnout.

  • Discover top trends to look out for at the office that contribute to Friday burnout and how to combat them.

  • Begin to implement clear boundaries between work and life.

Resources and Links

  • 5 Tips on How to Be More Productive on Fridays:
    • Use Friday’s for learning – listen to a podcast, read articles you’ve saved throughout the week, etc.
    • Make Friday’s for networking with coworkers or clients, have meetings.
    • Do a weekly download and plan for the week ahead or set goals on Fridays.
    • Make it your quit day – quit something that will free up your time or that is no longer pushing you toward your goals.
    • Create a transition ritual so you feel like you can ease into your weekend.
Show Transcript

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host Tanya Dalton and this is episode 25. Today we are talking about taking back your Friday. We  all love Fridays, right? Some people even call it Fri-yay, because hey who doesn’t love  the day that marks the official start of the weekend? But Friday is still a workday for  many of us, and by far it’s the most unproductive day of the week, but I don’t really  think it has to be that way. Today I want to talk to you about how you can make  Friday your best workday, and even how you can treat Fridays almost like a day off every single week. Think it’s not possible? I promise you it can happen. It just takes a  little bit of planning.  

 Now as I mentioned, Friday is the least productive day of the entire week. So  think about your typical Friday. You’re rushing to end the week on the right foot, yet  nothing of major substance actually seems to happen. You’re exhausted and the day  just seems to get away from you. Or there’s the opposite end of the spectrum. You’re  just ready for the weekend, and you have a slight case of short timers, because you  just want to get out of there. You end up spending a decent portion of your day  gabbing with co-workers, maybe taking in a little too much Facebook, or forwarding  the 10 funny cat videos your mom sent you. Oh, is that just my mom that does that? I  don’t think so.  

 Workplaces typically accept Fridays as the least productive day of the week. A  survey of HR professionals found that only 3% of them claimed Fridays were the most  productive days in their offices. The app Flow, which is a program similar to a Sauna  or Trello, found that consistently Friday is the least productive day for tasks. There  are 35% fewer tasks created, 28% fewer tasks delegated from one team member to  another, 25% fewer comments posted, and 35% fewer tasks actually completed than  any other day of the week.  

 So some offices realize this, and to combat this, they try instilling things like  mandatory late afternoon meetings on Fridays or project deadlines, but many times  this backfires because people are just done with their week. I know for me, 3pm on  Fridays is my very favorite time of the entire week. My kids are usually home. I have  the entire weekend spread before me. I love it.  

 But Friday doesn’t have to be the least productive day of the week. In fact, it  can be the day that you look forward to the most, not because the weekend’s around  the corner, although that’s a nice bonus, but because you can set up your Friday for  the ultimate success. It’s all about prep work. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give  me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the ax.”  Your Friday is the same.  

 You need to make sure you prep for your Friday. You want to set yourself up  for success by making a conscious effort to go to bed earlier on Thursday night to  combat that burnout. Now a lot of companies do Thursday night happy hours, which  feels like a really good idea until the alarm goes off on Friday morning, and I  definitely think you should take part in the fun social side of work, but just make sure  you’re thinking ahead to your Friday. So that’s one of the first things you can do.  That’s an easy thing. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before.   But really pace yourself throughout the week so you can avoid this Friday  burnout. You know you’re not in the right mindset on Fridays to start a large project,  so when you set your plan for a task like a big project, make sure you have it start on  

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a day that can be as productive as possible, and then set the pace throughout the  week so you aren’t hit with a giant list of things that have to be done by Friday  afternoon. Part of this pacing can include spending your Fridays focused on some of  the more brainless type tasks for the project. The bonus of this is this can help lighten  the load on all the other days if you batch this task for Fridays. So these are the tasks  that you find to be simpler and require less brainwork. So as you’re working on your  project and you come across these type of little tasks that need to be done, simply  slot those for Friday as part of your administrative time.  

 So it’s the same thing with completing a big project. Don’t make Fridays your  deadline because if you’re the type who tends to run to the eleventh hour on these  due dates, this is going to create a stressful Friday afternoon for you, and that’s what  we’re trying to avoid. So if you are consistently stressing about deadlines on Fridays,  or if you don’t have control over setting your own due dates and deadlines, you might  want to consider asking to team up with a colleague. There are lots of benefits with  offering to team up with colleagues including taking leadership positions and many  things like that. It doesn’t have to be looked at as a negative thing if you feel like that  would help you make your Fridays a little bit more manageable and a little more  productive.  

 I want you to think about preparing by thinking ahead. Don’t wait to be told  what to do. If you have a boss that typically waits until Friday afternoon to tell you  about things they need done for Monday, take notice and start to get ahead of this  trend. So instead of waiting for this talk to come up, try to make it a point to ask on  

Thursdays, “Hey, is there anything that can get wrapped up before the weekend? I  finished X and Y and I’ve got some time left today to start working on anything  pressing for Monday. Let me know if I can start working on this potential project.”  You’ll actually look better to your boss because you’re taking the initiative asking for  additional projects instead of waiting for them to come on Friday afternoon, and it  may even help change their habit and start talking to you on Thursdays about things  that are due for Mondays.  

 Now if your boss does continue to push tasks until Friday afternoons, don’t  forget, you can say no by saying yes. “I’d love to take this project on, but what should  I de-prioritize to be able to do this project to the best of my ability?” That’s a way of  saying, “Yeah, I can’t really do that and do all the other things.” Feel confident in your  ability to draw clear lines between work and personal life, especially when your boss’s  expectations are detrimental to the quality of your work or your personal wellbeing.  Now Friday is still a workday, but the weekend is not a workday, and to have  consistent expectations for you to work over the weekend causes your Friday to be  stressful and your weekends not to be focused on the things that are your priorities.  That’s actually what we’re going to be talking about next week.  

 Now if you do have a boss or a manager that seems to have a disregard for  those work life boundaries or expects work to be delivered in unrealistic timeframes  like over the weekend, and they do that on a consistent basis, then you might need to  quote unquote train them to have reasonable expectations.  

 Now you can respond on Friday afternoons or even on the weekend with  emails with timelines. So it can be really hard to just stop responding to emails  outside of work hours, especially if you’ve already set that expectation that you’ll  usually respond. So try not responding with actual answers, unless of course you’ve  been given a really urgent deadline. Instead, give a reasonable timeline for when the  project or that assignment will be completed. Lay out a clear plan to avoid any  confusion or further emailing. So you could say something like, “I reviewed the email  

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and the assignment details. I will be able to have X completed and sent to you by one  o’clock on Monday afternoon. I’ll let you know if I have any questions as I’m working.”  That will help your boss start to recognize your boundaries. You’re available to read  and answer emails outside of work hours, but you’re not working 24/7.   But they also get that piece of mind that you received and read the email, and  that you have an action plan. I know, for me, as I’m a boss in my business, sometimes I  just want to email my employees to tell them something on the weekend, not  because I expect them to respond, but because I’m thinking about it now, I want to  get it out of my head, and then we can discuss it on Monday. So give your boss a little  bit of grace, that may be exactly what they’re doing, but if you’re finding that they  consistently are expecting you to get some serious work done over the weekend,  that’s when you really need to start implementing some clear boundaries of your  work and your personal life.  

 So that’s four different ideas for how you can set your Fridays up for success.  Prep the night before with a good night’s sleep on Thursday. Pace yourself so Friday  doesn’t hit you like a freight train. Think ahead by getting projects started before  Fridays, and then train your boss to understand expectations of your work and your  life. Honestly, prepping is the key to all productivity. Feeling like you prepared can  really change the way you feel about this last day of your work week.   But my favorite idea for taking back your Friday, take Fridays off. Okay, not  really, because we can’t take Friday off every single week, but make it feel like it is a  day off. Save Friday for the tasks that you really look forward to doing, so it feels like  Friday is just the day that eases you into your weekend. So what are the things you  love to do? Can you make it so these are the things that you’re tackling at the end of  your week? So lets talk about a few strategies to make you feel like Fridays are your  day off.  

 First one is to use Fridays for learning. Learning and growing and strategizing  are all really important for your business. They should really be in your important  priority level, right? That’s an important priority level task, but we tend to push them  off as leisure tasks or, “I don’t know, I’ll squeeze that in somewhere.” Well, make time  for these important tasks on Fridays, and you’ll always feel like you’re up on the latest  news, trends and information that’s related to your work.  

 So an easy way to do this is to save any relevant articles or books or other  resources that you find throughout the week. So I create a Friday reading section in  my bookmarks on my browser, and then as I come across articles or I see a video,  someone’s forwarded me something, those land in my inbox or they come across my  desk, I mark them in that file. Same thing with physical copies of books or magazines.  Create a space where those live so that on Fridays, you can give yourself a good  chunk of time to go through this all. So that’s a time for you to really look into  reading a book that maybe helps you, or reading all those different articles. Save up  the videos like catching up on TED talks. Watching a video of a TED talk might feel  like a distraction on Tuesday at two o’clock, but if you set aside a block of time for  learning, this task now feels as important as it is. Treat this time just as you would any  other important task. Make sure to turn off potential distractions like email or  notifications.  

 During this learning time, you could also set it aside as time for honing in on a  new skill, especially if your employer lets you take time to work on new skills or even  has in house trainings. So this could be a new software program, a new piece of  equipment, or perhaps a new technique. Learning new things like this can really feel  frustrating when they’re shoved into a packed day, because we feel like, “I don’t have  

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time to use this new software. I know how to use the old software.” Or, “I don’t want  to try this new technique. I don’t have time to do that,” but if you have time set aside  just for learning, it begins to feel a little more like playing and less like work, which  actually will help you loosen up a little bit, and you’ll probably actually learn this new  skill faster.  

 Not sure if your work will allow for something like this? Well, the easiest way is  just to block off your time and put on some headphones, listen to an audiobook or a  podcast while sitting in front of your computer. So using some time on Friday where  

you are really focused in on honing in your skills, learning new things, is a great way  to feel like Friday is a little more fun.  

 The second category of things you can do on Friday is use it for networking.  Since Fridays tend to be slower, this is a great time to plan one-on-one meetings with  your team or the people that you manage, and because Fridays are the least  productive for almost everyone, this is a perfect time to spend some time getting to  know key people, whether that’s direct reports to your team, or someone you want to  collaborate with on a project that you haven’t even met. People tend to be in a more  sociable mood on Fridays because, hey, we’re all excited for the weekend, right? You  have good talking points on a personal level, and also it’s a little more relaxed.  Conversation will feel a lot easier.  

 If you can’t meet up with the people in person, then take this time to  appreciate the people in your network via social media. So take some time to not just  reach out and make new connections, but cultivate the ones that you have. When you  spend time on Fridays for networking, it feels a lot more social, so it feels more fun,  but this is something that’s really important for all of us to be doing, cultivating and  growing the relationships with other people. So Friday is a fabulous day to network.   The third strategy for making Friday feel like it’s a day off is use it for your  weekly download and your future planning. Use Fridays to plan the week ahead  instead of your Mondays. You can take the time to look over your calendar, make sure  you’re prepared for meetings, appointments and due dates for the week ahead, and if  you don’t feel like you’re prepared, you can schedule some time in early in the  following week. So that way you’re not worrying about it during the weekend, and  you’ve already set the next week into motion with some good pacing, so that you’re  not going to be ending your Fridays feeling like you have a lot to do.   If planning is the last thing you do on Fridays, it’ll be fresh in your mind when  you start work on Monday. You can even take some time to just straighten up your  desk area, put your notes that you have for yourself of your planning out on your  desk, so when you come in on Monday morning, it starts it off on the right note.  There’s nothing better than coming in and seeing a nice clean desk waiting for you,  and the week feels like it’s so much more achievable.  

 You can also spend some time reviewing your week, and that helps give you a  little bit of closure so you can thoroughly enjoy your weekend ahead. I have a friend  Reina who does a weekly download using Typeform. Now no one else sees her  Typeform answers but her, but it’s a way for her to do a check in just to see how she’s  feeling, and then I think the best part of it is, she keeps a copy of this, and when she  finishes out her year, she does a little review to see how she felt each week of the  year, and she can see how in her different seasons her productivity went up and  down, the ebb and flow of how her work went, and it gives her a great snapshot of  her year. So I love that idea.  

 The fourth way you can take your Fridays back is by making Fridays your quit  day. If you listened to episode 17, you know that I think quitting is an important thing  

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to include in a normal rotation. Basically, it’s taking an assessment of the internal and  external expectations, and seeing if there’s something out there that needs to go. So  I’m talking work and I’m talking personal life here. Fridays can be your day to really  look and figure out if there’s some things you want to get rid of.  

 Bob Goff who’s the author of Love Does, he has what he calls Quit Thursdays,  and this is what he says, he says, “It’s Thursday. Quit something. Eliminate some of  the noise in your life and let the symphony have the stage again.” I love that, but I  really like the idea to make Friday your day to say no. Friday is a great day because  you’re heading into the weekend feeling like a weight has been lifted, and I love the  idea of that. Really taking the time to assess how you’re feeling and get rid of some  of that extra weight, that extra noise going on in your life.  

 And then my fifth idea for how you can take Friday off, is to take aside some  time and spend it on transitioning. Create some transition rituals. A lot of people ease  into work on Sundays, so why not ease out of work on Friday afternoons? As I  mentioned, you can take some time to declutter and prep your office for the  following week. Spend a few minuets making your office free of distractions so when  you come into work on Monday morning, your week starts off on a high. Nothing is  worse than coming in Monday morning to see a hot mess sitting on your desk  waiting. It’s also a great time, during this transition, to socialize with the rest of the  team, to wrap up the week a bit. Use this time to get to know others, even if it’s to do  things like brainstorming sessions. That way, you’re still working, but you have the  freedom to work and think big with goals and projects, because you have that space.   So that’s five ideas for how you can take Fridays off. We have use Fridays for  learning, use Fridays for networking, you can use Fridays for a weekly download and  future planing, make it your quit day, and create a transition ritual so you feel like you  can ease into your weekend.  

 The main takeaway I want you to have is that Friday doesn’t have to be our  least productive day of the week. Make it super productive while also feeling like it’s a  great start into your weekend. By saving up the fun tasks in your week, you’re going  to be excited to get to work on Fridays, and you won’t feel that end of the week  burnout. I want you to really finish out your workweek strong, so that as you get into  the weekend, you’re really able to enjoy it.  

 That’s what we’ll be talking about next week. We’ll be talking about making the  most of your weekends. So let’s start by making Friday a fabulous day in our week, so  that we can really enjoy that weekend on the things that matter most to us. Okay, I  hope you got some great tips today. I’ve got some good actionable items for you to  start working on. You can of course get this whole list by going to inkwellpress.com/ podcast and then click on episode 25. I’ll have notes written there for you. So if you  wanted to know what were those five different things we talked about for taking  Friday off, you can find those there.  

 As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can connect with me via email or you  can find me on social media using the username @inkwellpress on Twitter, Facebook  or Instagram. All right, until next time, happy planning. 

**This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.

As a female productivity keynote speaker, Tanya Dalton helps women live with intention. She offers keynotes on time management, goal setting, and finding meaning at work.

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