A Friday afternoon routine to set you up for success
I’m a big believer that the way you spend your Friday afternoon can have a huge impact on not just how much you enjoy your weekend, but how successful your following week at work will be too.
When I first started my career, I didn’t have a Friday afternoon routine. In fact, Friday afternoons would be pretty hectic, a mad panic of trying to get as much as possible done before 5pm rolled around. I’d inevitably leave the office feeling stressed, exhausted, and already anxious about returning to work the following Monday.
As a result I’d spend Friday night self soothing with one too many glasses of wine, Saturday morning in bed with a hangover, and the majority of Sunday nursing the back to work blues. Then it would be back to the desk on Monday morning to try and pick through the carnage that I’d left in my wake the previous Friday.
I quickly realised that if I wanted to get each week off to a productive and successful start, I needed to give myself a helping hand. And that’s where my Friday afternoon routine came in. Following the steps listed in this post helps me to finish the week on a high, and sets me up for better success the following week.
It sounds a bit OTT to say that carving out an hour on a Friday afternoon helped me to enjoy my weekends more and feel more productive and successful than ever, but that’s the truth. And so I thought I’d share my Friday afternoon routine here in case any of you guys could do with a helping hand too…
1) Finish off any niggly tasks on your list
Friday afternoon is not the time to jump into any of those big meaty projects that have been sitting on your to do list. You likely don’t have the time or the mental energy to tackle them after 5 days of grafting, but what you can do is use the last few hours of the week to tackle those niggly task that you’ve been putting off.
For me that looks like booking any train tickets or hotels that I require for business travel, doing my expenses, and replying to those emails that have sat unanswered in my inbox. The ideal tasks are probably dull but relatively easy to do, and scratching them off your to do list before the weekend rolls around will lift a weight off of your shoulders.
2) Make a list of everything you’ve achieved this week
I think this is perhaps the most empowering part of my Friday afternoon routine, and the one that has made the biggest difference to my confidence. Each and every Friday I sit down and make a list of everything I’ve achieved that week. I usually do mine in a Google doc so that I have the list to look back on, but scribbling it down in a notebook works too.
It’s so easy to forget what you’ve actually done that week unless you take time to pause and give yourself a pat on the back, so get it all down on paper or type it up in a document. Include the meetings you contributed to, the projects you worked on, and any self development you undertook. You’ll end up skipping out of the office at 5pm feeling like the successful badass you are, rather than concentrating on all of the things you didn’t manage to get round to this week.
(Top tip: keep your achievement lists safe - they’ll come in very handy when it comes to your performance appraisal as you’ll have evidence of everything you’ve achieved!)
3) Write your to do list for the following week
Once you’ve finished your list of achievements, get cracking on your to do list for the following week. I’ve found that getting my to do list down on paper on a Friday afternoon means that I don’t spend my entire weekend worrying about work - it’s like drawing a physical line under your working week.
Plus, it means that when you sit down at your desk on a Monday morning you immediately know what needs to get done and you can get cracking straight away. As Mondays tend to be my most productive day, not having to spend as much time getting organised makes a real difference to my output.
4) Tidy up your workspace
I am slightly ashamed to admit that in pretty much every office I’ve worked in, I’ve been famous for having the messiest desk. I’m not a naturally tidy person, and I find that my workspace quickly gets cluttered with papers and documents and many half finished mugs of tea.
However, walking into that chaos on a Monday morning isn’t a great start to the week, and so now I spend 10 minutes every Friday tidying up my workspace. I file, shred and organise until I can see my desk again, and I’ve found that it makes such a difference to my attitude on a Monday.
5) Set an intention for the following week
Finally, the last stage of my Friday afternoon routine is to set an intention for the following week. I’ll look through my calendar and to do list to see what will be on my plate, and think about the type of energy and attitude I want to embody. Some weeks are all about productivity, while others are about confidence or stepping outside of my comfort zone.
Once I’ve decided on my intention, I write it down and stick it in a notebook or on my laptop screen - basically somewhere I’ll see it as soon as I get to work on Monday morning. It helps me to start my week with a focus on not just what I need to get done, but also how I want to approach those tasks.
Do you have a Friday afternoon routine? Do you think any of the tips in this post could help you?