Defying the Norm: Make Friday your Most Productive Day

Katie Corbett holds the book "I Know How She Does It."

By Katie Corbett

Friday. It’s the workday that signals, for many, the start of the weekend, a day to celebrate, a time to let loose and relax. It comes as no surprise, then, that it is the least productive day of the workweek. I wanted to change that for myself, since, for me anyway, there’s no worse feeling than getting done with work and realizing I didn’t accomplish anything. Goal-oriented much? I know, but bear with me.

In Laura Vanderkam’s book, “I Know How She Does It,” there are several tips suggested to improve productivity. I have taken her suggestions and modified them so they fit my productivity needs. These ideas helped me ensure Friday was a day of the week when I definitely got work done.

1. Set Deadlines for Friday: In my work as a writer, I need to submit articles, content plans and fundraising copy to my manager. Setting my deadlines for Fridays gives me time to get everything done on a day when I’m less likely to get interrupted or have meetings.
2. Plan Weekly Goals on Friday: Laura Vanderkam stresses that to move forward, it is a good idea to plan goals in three areas of life—career, relationships, and self. When I worked at a company with fewer deadlines or where I didn’t have as much control over my schedule, I found it helpful to plan my personal, career and relationship goals on Friday afternoons. This meant I was spending otherwise unproductive time moving my life forward.
3. Work Fewer Hours Each Week: I currently work 25 hours per week at my writing job. That’s typically 5 hours per day, 5 days per week. This means I have 25 hours to get everything done, and that I have to use all of that time efficiently and effectively. Working this schedule requires me to focus and accomplish tasks every day, even on Fridays.
4. Start and Stop Work at The Same Time Each Day: While there are occasionally days when I need to stay late, I typically start work at 9 a.m. and am done by 2:30 p.m. each workday. This spreads out the work among all 5 workdays of each week. It also means I don’t have the luxury of staying late to get last-minute projects finished
5. Be Intentional About How to Spend Time and Energy: In the mornings, I’m much fresher and my mind is ready for intense work, such as writing articles. In the afternoons, I’m in a more relaxed mental state, so making edits to documents, conducting interviews, and meeting with others to brainstorm for upcoming projects is a better use of my time. Following this pattern every day of the workweek makes Fridays just as productive as the earlier weekdays.

In what area can you defy the norm? How can you incorporate better use of your time and energy? If you have a trick that is working for you, feel free to leave a comment so others can benefit.

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