Happy person
You can have a relaxed weekend, if you just plan out your week ahead of time during a Friday afternoon slump. No more anxious Sunday evenings, and you can walk into office on Monday with a clear mind. Image Credit: Shutterstock

It's Friday afternoon. The clock is ticking down, your taste buds are awaiting that delicious post-work treat, and the weekend is practically whispering sweet nothings in your ear. However, hold on to your metaphorical hats! Before you escape to the couch (you just know you will), let’s discuss why Friday afternoon might just be the secret weapon you need for a productive week.

That’s right, we’re talking about ditching the Sunday planning. Why, you ask?

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No week-old fog, for starters. Unlike Sunday, where the week's details are already fading quickly like yesterday’s dreams, Friday keeps your memory sharp, as Delna Mathur, a Dubai-based mental health practitioner and wellness expert explains. You still remember your work deadlines, meetings and possibly your awkward encounters with your boss.

This sharp memory, combined with the absence of Sunday meltdown, makes Friday planning a recipe for success. Sunday planning, on the other hand, can feel as fun as staring at an endless pile of laundry.

On Sunday, your procrastination tendencies run riot and by Monday, your good intentions are buried deep in your pile of endless work. Explaining from her own experiences, Mathur recalls how planning on Sundays got entirely too overwhelming and inconsistent. “When I managed to plan and everything went right, I felt glad and comfortable, as if I was in control of my week. That didn’t always happen though. I would procrastinate and end up postponing planning till Monday. Sometimes, the weekend would also be too busy and I would be too tired to plan on Sunday. I had to struggle to plan the entire week, especially because there was so much to do, children, school, their homework, household work and clients. Sometimes, it was just a mess,” she remembers.

Planning your week on a Friday ensures that your weekends are left free for quality family time and you can enjoy it in the knowledge that you week ahead is planned and ready. It also gives you plenty of time for any adjustments that can then be made...

- Kelly Hodgkin, Business Mentor and Founder of KMH Events

Moreover, there is an added stress when you go into the weekend without a plan, she says. You know there’s much confusion and uncertainty awaiting, and you don’t know exactly what it spells. Instead of spending the weekend tossing and turning like a rotisserie chicken, make your plan on Friday and rest your brain for the weekend.

And third, no more scrambling on Monday mornings. Imagine this: You walk into Monday with a clear plan, knowing exactly what needs to be done. There’s a reason why the term Friday feeling was invented, says Kelly Hodgkin, a Dubai-based business mentor and wellness expert. “The reason being that there is that feeling of accomplishment and relief on a Friday, when your inbox is empty, and your week is complete… and the whole week ahead is planned,” she says.

So, you can bottle that Friday feeling up and carry it with you all week long.

Well, how do we get this Friday feeling?

Dancing person
Your Friday doesn't have to be a chaotic, frenzied last-minute rush, either. Identify what needs to happen in the coming week and what doesn't. Image Credit: Shutterstock

First, see how to free up your Fridays if it’s a little too crunched. For many, including Beth Morris, a Dubai-based business mentor and coach, she is in a hurried race to do everything on the day, before the weekend hits. “There’s always something that comes up, that I can attend to, only on Friday,” she says rather exasperatedly.

As Mathur adds, there might be a way around this. If you can, see how to plan your Friday in such a way that it becomes less chaotic. Quoting motivational speaker and author Laura Vanderkam, she says, “Friday planning helps you identify what needs to happen in the coming week, and what doesn’t. Once you figure it out, you can make time for what has to happen,” she says.

First, Friday planning helps you identify what needs to happen in the next week and what does not. Ideally, once you figure this out, you make time for what does need to happen, and try to minimise time devoted to things that aren’t a big priority. People often move around appointments or tasks when the workday is filled to brim. However, if you are going to cancel or reschedule, you can do so ahead of time. “And, it’s on Friday, when you can figure this out, rather than last minute,” she says.

You can capitalise on that focus window, on Friday, when your attention span is shorter than goldfish. You’re not getting much done, so why not just plan for something actually useful, rather than have an anxious Sunday and panicked Monday?

Upgrade your Mondays

Monday is the day where you require your peak productivity, explains Mathur. So don’t waste it with rushed planning of appointments and goal-setting. If you plan on Friday, you’ll be able to foresee the tasks and appointments that you have to set and arrange them early in the week.

A chance for better weekends

How about planning a better weekend, on Friday afternoon? Image Credit: Shutterstock

Your weekends really don’t have to go by in a haze of sleep and Netflix. How about you plan your family time better?

As Hodgkin explains, when you plan for the weekends on Fridays, you can actually make time for more fun escapades if you think about Saturday on Friday, rather than if you attempt to make a plan on Saturday morning when everyone just feels like sleeping in.

Here are some helpful tips:

Friday relaxation
Knowing your specific lull allows you to schedule your planning session for maximum effectiveness. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Identify your focus window: When does your focus typically drop on Fridays? Is it after lunch? Knowing your specific lull allows you to schedule your planning session for maximum effectiveness.

Look at your list: Briefly review your current tasks and identify what absolutely needs to be done before the weekend. Can anything be delegated, rescheduled, or even ditched altogether?

Block your planning time: Treat your planning session like any other important meeting – block it out on your calendar and stick to it!