Full Speed Ahead: Organize Your Work Tasks Around Your Energy Levels
You’re not alone if your work week begins with the Monday blues and ends in Friday elation. This is because energy levels and productivity change as the week wears on. You may not like returning to work Monday, but it’s likely to be one of your freshest days. Friday, however, is full of distractions and weekend daydreams. To ensure your best productivity, it’s important to schedule tasks in a way that matches the likely moods and energy levels of both yourself and your coworkers.
A cup of hot coffee and a planning session are the best ways to handle the harsh reality of Monday mornings. Start by planning and scheduling the rest of your week using the daily tips provided here. Remember to incorporate any loose ends from last week into your plans.
As you make plans and schedule the week ahead, your mind will start to focus on the job at hand. By Monday afternoon you’ll be back in the groove, preparing the items you’ll need for your upcoming tasks. You can also think through any expected problems you may encounter and find solutions to them before they happen. This early planning will also help you schedule meetings and brainstorming sessions before your colleagues fill their calendars.
Today is also a good day to catch up on email and phone messages. Starting your Monday with less demanding tasks will help your mind shift from rest mode into work mode so you’re ready to get the job done.
It’s go time! Tuesday is, according to 39% of human resource managers, the most productive day of the week. This is the day you are likely to be the most productive, so shake off your time wasters and jump into your most difficult and draining tasks with gusto.
Tuesday will be productive for others, too, so it’s a great time to hold important meetings and brainstorming sessions. This is also a good day to send critical emails, given that the email open rate on Tuesdays is 18%, higher than any other weekday.
Wednesday is best treated like a second Tuesday. This is a great time to collaborate with coworkers while avoiding the one who insists on emailing camel pictures to the office every hump day. It’s also a good time to keep Tuesday’s momentum going by finishing up projects that you didn’t quite get done. Take a few minutes to write a to-do list in them morning so nothing important slips through the cracks on your second day of peak focus.
You’ll also benefit from checking your progress on Wednesday. On Monday you made a plan for the week. Today you should make sure you’re still on track. If not, you have two days to accomplish your desired tasks for the week.
Thriving on Thursday
Thursdays are often cited as the most stressful day of the week. On Thursdays, both your energy levels and the work week are winding down.
Keep an eye on your motivation and stress levels every Thursday. If you’re feeling burned out, include some stress relief activities in your schedule. Try working in a different space for a change of scenery, taking a walk at lunch or quietly meditating for a few minutes at your desk. Thursday is a good day for both simple tasks and anything still hanging that you know you aren’t going to want to do on Friday.
Whenever you can, try to work on group projects and schedule meetings on Thursdays. You are more likely to stay engaged and motivated if you surround yourself with people. A quiet afternoon alone at your desk could lead to unwanted napping or daydreaming if you’re really feeling drained.
Friday is a day full of enthusiasm, but not usually for the tasks at hand. On Friday, you’re likely to spend much more time thinking about your awesome weekend plans than worrying about what’s on your desk. How likely? Even less work gets done on Fridays than on Mondays. Thirty-five percent less, to be exact. Many workers have mentally checked out on Friday and spend the day looking at cat pictures on the internet and poking their Facebook friends rather than worrying about work.
This is a great day for finishing up projects, but a terrible day to start new ones. Focus on tying up loose ends and doing easy tasks that require minimal concentration. Friday is a good time to catch up on paperwork and perform other menial but necessary tasks. If you’re a manager, consider scheduling team building exercises on Fridays. Your staff is likely to be much more relaxed and able to have fun with each other on a Friday than on a Wednesday.
The weekend is the time to kick back, relax and enjoy yourself. You’ll need the rest so you can gear up for Monday and do it all again. When thinking about your work week, plan on easing into Monday, being as productive as possible on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and slowly starting to slide back out of the week on Thursday and Friday. Scheduling yourself around these peak productive times will help you accomplish your goals more effectively by knowing when you are likely to be the most energetic and engaged.