Memorial Day weekend is finally here!
For a few lucky ducks, it also signifies the first of a weekly phenomenon: the summer Friday. Whether you're getting a half or a whole day off, or nothing (but scrambling to leave before the sun goes down) we've got some tips to help you get out of the office and onto the beach a little faster.
1. Complete your hardest tasks first
The assignments you're dreading are the ones most dangerous to your beach time. Identify what you're most likely to procrastinate, and put it at the top of your to-do list.
2. Make plans
Whether you're meeting a friend for mojitos at 2pm, or your beach bag beckons you to wrap it up long before sundown, it will be easier to take the day seriously and plow through your work when you've got a deadline.
3. Frontload your week
Save easy, administrative stuff for Friday mornings. If you don't get to it, it won't be the end of the world—and you can daydream about the beach while you sort those files.
And if you're the type that can't sit still when you know you're leaving early, make sure to get the most important tasks of the week done before Thursday.
4. Automate the personal stuff
You'll likely be working a few extra hours the rest of the week, which means longer nights and less time for chores at home. Resist the urge to let this stuff bleed into your Fridays.
Instead, get proactive and plan to deal with little nuisances ahead of time—order your groceries online, do drop off service your laundry, set auto-pay for your bills, and draft an "out of the office" message so you won't have to guiltily respond to every email that comes in after 3pm on Friday.
5. Time Yourself
Using your office closing time as a deadline, draft a to-do list, and make a rough estimate on how long each item should take. Then start the clock. Whether you use the alarm on your phone or a playlist that lasts about the length of working time you need, stick to your limit for each task.
Then, give yourself a 5 minutes grace period, and move on.
So it's not cool to dump lots of work on other people on a Summer Friday. That's why you should start doing it Monday! Just kidding… sort of. If you've done the suggested breakdown of your week early enough (Monday or Tuesday), you should have a good idea as to what the rest of your team should be chipping in on.
When done early in the week, it's totally appropriate to reach out for help. Give your intern that spreadsheet to work on, or drop that typo-riddled copy back on the marketing department's desk.
Though we don't always recommend it, now's as good a time as any to eat lunch at your desk. To make the most of your downtime, though, and try to tackle home or vacation-planning tasks during this time instead of work. You'll still be getting necessary stuff done, but getting a mental refresher from that's vital to your productivity.
8. Plan ahead
Summer is definitely the season of spontaneity, so don't let poor planning hold you back. Stock your desk with the following: Toothbrush, sunscreen, swimsuit, flip flops, toiletries, and a casual change of clothes. Pack it all in a ready-for-the-beach bag and you'll be ready at a moment's notice for weekend fun. Even if there's no time to stop home first.
9. Don't slack too much
It can be hard to focus when you're looking forward to fun, but remember that you'll enjoy your down time a lot more if you've earned it. Doing a half-hearted job will only haunt you on Monday, or worse, while you're trying to relax over the weekend. Give it your all while you're at the office, and then feel free to leave it all behind on Friday afternoon.
10. Say yes—or--no more often
Sometimes, by the end of the week, we're too burned out to even use summer Fridays. Use your judgment here. Should you give yourself the push to do something social, or is your time better spent at home with a margarita?
It's really up to you. Just keep in mind that summer is short, and half-day Fridays are a brief opportunity. Take complete advantage of them. And have fun!
--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com
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