Oh I do so love a Bank Holiday weekend – an extra day to spend with family and friends; an extra evening to drink gin without worrying about the ‘adult headache’ the next day, the perfect excuse for a spa day or mini break… you get the drift! However what I really don’t love about a short work week is that you have only four days to get a full week’s work done AND it always feels so much harder to be productive and get everything done when your brain has had a few days off. So I thought I’d share four tips for you to implement that will help make your short work week productive and enjoyable 🙂
Make a List
Every evening (and I swear by this for every work week not just the short ones) I make a list of all of the tasks that I need to get done the next day – I try and prioritise it too and that way I get to the office and I can jump right in to checking things off without having to think about it. Of course additional tasks come in throughout the day but if I have my list I can add them on as I go. If I don’t manage to finish something then I add that task to the very top of the next day’s to-do list *although make sure you don’t get into the habit of pushing everything off as it only makes your workload increase the next day!*
Tackle your Emails
Honestly there are days when my inbox is the absolute bane of my working life and it feels like I’ll never manage to read them all let alone respond/tackle whatever tasks they require of me. That being said I can 100% say that tackling them is the best thing and I like to get that out of the way as quickly and efficiently as possible. My trick is to set aside 30 minutes in the morning and again after lunch to solely work through my emails. I have several folders that I sort incoming emails into, I flag anything that requires follow up from me and I delete all spam during this 30 minute window. I also try to follow the ‘2-minute rule’ for my inbox – ie if I can get a response or task for an email done within 2 minutes I’ll do it immediately as opposed to procrastinating; this can be something as simple as sending someone a file they have requested or setting up a follow-up meeting; this gets that email right out of my inbox and is one less thing to come back to later.
I’m starting to get into the habit of switching off my phone notifications for most of the day. I pop my phone on silent (or just switch my personal phone off) for a couple of hours – it’s very unlikely that anyone will need me and the important contacts such as my husband or Lily’s school have my work number so can contact me in case of emergency. Our phones and social media apps are just so addictive and it can be hard to stop ourselves from checking them – by switching my phone off completely I remove the temptation and checking Instagram and the like become a reward for getting my tasks done!
I came across an article on Forbes once which stated that working in a period of time longer than 90 minutes without a break made you less effective over the course of the day than taking short breaks did. I set a timer to get up from my desk, go and refill my coffee and water bottle and take a walk around. I also make sure to take my lunch breaks (except when we have deadlines) and try to incorporate a trip to the gym or at the minimum a walk around the block into my lunches – it’s so easy to get lured into the false idea that not taking breaks makes you more productive when actually you’re likely to burn out quicker and get less done! Also I try not to regularly eat at my desk – a) it’s just not enjoyable and b) it means I’m not actually switching off from work and I’m also not focusing on work so it’s completely unproductive!
Hope you enjoy the rest of this short week (and that this helps you be more productive!) What are your top tips for getting more done?