The Secret to Maintaining Week-Long Productivity

Career DevelopmentSuccess Strategies

Our job is important. It’s how most of us put food in our belly and Louboutins on our feet. It’s where we spend one-third of our entire lives. It’s even where one in five of us will meet the person we marry.

Yet too many of us arrive stressed on Monday and leave exhausted by Friday. Why? Because we organize our workloads badly and prioritize ineffectively, leaving us frantic by the end of the week.

The solution? Delegate specific tasks to specific days, and make it TGI every day.

Monday = Prioritizing

No matter how much sparky job search adverts try, nobody loves Mondays.

The temptation, therefore, is to start your week with small, easily completed tasks and work up to tackling a big, difficult project. This is the wrong approach. First thing on Monday morning, take a list of all the assignments you must complete this week, and rank them in the order you’re least looking forward to doing them. Then, start at the top.

It’s not going to be fun, but if it has to get done, it’s better to get it done as quickly as possible. By freeing up the rest of the week from onerous tasks you’ll feel happier, more relaxed and much more positive.

Tuesday = Slogging

Tuesday is the day to ramp it up a notch. You’re fully back in the swing of work and your energy levels should be high; time to get stuck in. Aim to get as much of your workload as possible completed today, to ensure an easier ride for the rest of the week.

Block out your diary and turn off your email alerts to ensure you can work uninterrupted. Focus on one project at a time; despite popular wisdom, humans tend to be impressively bad at multitasking.

You’ll maximize your effectiveness if you break your day into chunks, with regular breaks to reset your brain. Work hard, but work smart – take your lunch break and don’t stay late, or you’ll completely burn yourself out.

Wednesday = Creating

Hump day almost always corresponds with a noticeable sag in energy and enthusiasm. The first half of the working week has tired you out, and the break afforded by the weekend seems very far away.

You can keep yourself keen by saving your most enjoyable and creative tasks for today. Sitting down to something you genuinely enjoy doing will buoy you up and keep your positivity levels high. Focusing on fun things will also avoid the time-drag that many people associate with this point in the week.

Thursday = Socializing

With the weekend is in sight, most people feel pepped up on Thursdays. Take advantage of your good mood by allocating all your face-to-face interaction for this day – hold interviews, schedule meetings, visit clients, and arrange company socials. Everyone feels more relaxed and sociable towards the end of the week, encouraging more productive get-togethers.

By this point, most of your workload should be done and dusted, so you won’t feel guilty about spending time away from your desk. Having got so on top of things means you also won’t struggle to cope with any unexpected tasks that crop up without warning.

Friday = Organizing

Chances are that come Friday you’re already shifting into weekend mode, and your work focus may be slipping. This is the worst time to start on a complex project – not only is your mind elsewhere, but leaving it over the weekend means you’ll lose momentum and must spend Monday catching up with yourself.

Instead, use this day to complete all the boring, brainless admin that comes with any job. Because these sorts of tasks are easy, most people are tempted to dash them off early in the week, but added together they represent a significant time drain that is wasteful in your most productive periods.

Friday is also the day to write down next week’s To Do list. That way, you don’t squander mornings planning out your day. And before you leave the office, tidy and file everything in your inbox and on your desk.

The aim is to associate your arrival on Monday with a new, clean start. That way, you can sit down and be ready to go!

Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specializing in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs London listings for roles or, if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.