The ultimate white whale… the 4 day work week. It may not be a reality in your company yet, but there are a few work habits that can easily help you finish up your work week a day early. What you do with that day is your business… but here are 5 work-life-hacks to create a 4 day work week:
The only way to have Fridays free is to not schedule things on Fridays! (I know… why didn’t we already think of that?!) That means no meetings, no calls and no “quick coffee chats” scheduled on Fridays. Ever. Your Fridays need to be open and uninterrupted.
The Time Management Ninja says that people complain that they’re always are so booked for meetings that they have no time to get their work done. He advises to not let these “outlook outlaws” steal your time with their no agenda, poorly run meetings that they are even late for and always run over. Not on my Friday, people!
Whatever your poison of choice: FB, Twitter, Instagram, Grinder (no judgment here!) – you’re going to have to abstain during working hours. It may not seem like it takes up too much of your time to drop a quick political truth on your friend from school or post a picture from the weekend.
But the reality is you waste way more time than you think – and the distraction factor is an even bigger concern, when you interrupt work tasks for a “quick peek” online. Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World even goes so far as to recommend deleting the applications from your smartphone.
You are spending too much time on what is urgent, instead of what is important. But how do you channel your energy into the right tasks?
James Clear – time management guru – suggests the timeless Ivy Lee method. A simple process to not only determine what’s important, but to get those things done:
- At the end of each workday, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
- Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
- When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
One of the best ways to maximize your time is to minimize distractions. We’ve already gotten rid of your nasty social media habit, but what about one of the biggest distracters? One that is absolutely necessary but also a HUGE time waster. That’s right… Emails.
Tommy John’s CEO, Tom Patterson, told Business Insider that his out-of-office message is set to show that he’s only answering email during a certain time window. He found this not only freed up his time during the day to focus on CEO duties –but also that employees felt more empowered to handle issues on their own.
A shortcut doesn’t mean sloppy, it means INNOVATIVE. Making your workflow faster and more streamlined. Web entrepreneur, Daniel Tan Kh, swears by “Systemizing and Automating Everything”. This can mean creating a standard email response that you use to prevent writing the same message over and over again, a document template that you can use repeatedly or a menial task that you perform often which can somehow be automated.
At the end of the workday…
It’s really all about using your time effectively – not to work the other 4 days harder, but smarter. All of these changes add up to big time savings during the course of the day and workweek – with the goal being Fridays free for other things. Perhaps a long-term project you’ve been putting off or simply a more relaxed day in the office to end the week on (and hopefully leave early). Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?!
About the Author:
Carol Peitzsch is a wordsmith specializing in marketing and branding text. With over 25 years experience in the corporate world – from Silicon Valley to Europe – she shares her knowledge through various media outlets and gives marketing lectures at the EU Business School in Munich.