The closer it gets to the weekend, the less energized you are to get things done and the more excited you are to bolt for the door — right?
According to time management expert Laura Vanderkam, slacking off at the end of the week is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. In fact, she says that making Friday your most productive day can set you up for long-term success.
"I know what often happens on a Friday afternoon," the author of "Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done" tells CNBC Make It. "If you're working a Monday-through-Friday schedule, then you are kind of sliding into the weekend at that point and maybe even hiding out so nobody finds you. It's really hard to start anything new on Friday afternoons, but you might be willing to think about what 'future you' should be doing."
She says if you spend just a few minutes of your Friday planning for the week ahead, then you can transform time normally wasted on meaningless activities into the most productive moments of your week.
To do this, she suggests putting time in your calendar on Fridays to make a short priority list for the next week that is broken down into three categories. For example, you could divide your list into sections for career, relationships and self.
"Making a three-category list reminds you that there should be something in all three categories," she says. "It's pretty hard to make a three-category list and then leave one of them blank. So, that right there is going to nudge you to plan a more balanced week and have a more balanced life."
She explains that your list doesn't have to be long and that a few brief notes in each category will work. Vanderkam suggests prioritizing your most important tasks at the beginning of the week so that your odds of getting them done increase.
"Do as much of it as you can on Monday and Tuesday," she says, "because you know that stuff is going to come up. It could be good stuff. It could be bad stuff. But by planning the week ahead and putting what matters to you into your schedule first, you vastly increase the chances that that stuff gets done."
Vanderkam, who conducted a time study of more than 900 people, says planning your schedule won't just help you maximize your time, it will also help you to reduce stress.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 41 percent of adults in the U.S. feel like they don't have enough time to do everything they want. As a result, 44 percent say they feel stressed in their daily life. Vanderkam says that some of the most successful people she surveyed feel good about their time because they have a clear understanding of how their day was spent.
"People who feel like they have enough time are exceedingly mindful of their time," she writes in her book. "They take ownership of their lives and think through their days and weeks ahead of time. They also reflect on their lives, figuring out what worked and what didn't."
Video by Mary Stevens.
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