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How reframing Friday could boost your productivity while busting stress at work

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today! This well-known expression could be the new mantra for Fridays, at least in the context of work.

Published: Jun 21, 2024 11:21:02 AM IST
Updated: Jun 21, 2024 12:10:57 PM IST

'Focus Friday' means devoting your Friday to the most complex and energy-sapping tasks so you can leave with a clear mind for the weekend. Image: Shutterstock'Focus Friday' means devoting your Friday to the most complex and energy-sapping tasks so you can leave with a clear mind for the weekend. Image: Shutterstock

How would you fancy devoting a whole day to your most arduous professional tasks, without any source of distraction, so that you can leave for the weekend with the weight off your mind? That's what 'focus Friday' is all about. This method, adopted by some American companies, not only boosts productivity, but also makes people feel much less stressed. Here's how it works.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today! This well-known expression could be the new mantra for Fridays, at least in the context of work. After a busy week, it can be tempting to kick back and relieve the pressure by indulging in procrastination, pointless meetings, or any other activity likely to distract you from the challenges of work. According to research published in the journal Plos One in August 2023, employees were generally less efficient on Friday afternoons, seemingly confirming this theory. But this approach can be a source of stress as the weekend approaches and the start of the new working week looms.

That's where 'focus Friday' comes in. This new approach to Fridays could be the solution to boosting productivity at the end of the week, meaning you can leave for the weekend without having to think about the tasks that have piled up waiting for your return to the office. The concept is simply to devote your Fridays to the difficult tasks that require total focus for an extended period of time, and above all, to tackle everything you didn't have time to do during the week, from dealing with emails to that report you never read. But, more than anything else, it's about switching off from distractions like unwanted calls, endless instant messages and especially... meetings.

"Meetings, love them or hate them, have always been a part of everyday working life. But it can be easy for them to overtake your working week and distract you from doing more productive work. Meeting-free time enables you to fully focus on tasks without constant interruptions," says Ray'n Terry, human resources director at Totaljobs, speaking to Stylist UK. The magazine, which spotted the 'focus Friday' trend back in September 2023, also reported that companies such as Google and Slack had already embraced this innovative approach.

Also read: Publish or perish: What the research says about productivity in academia

The aim is to knuckle down on Fridays to lighten the load on Mondays, considered to be among the most difficult days of the week, while also making for stress-free weekends. Plus, it can help ease the 'Sunday scaries,' the term used to describe the feelings of anxiety that typically set in on Sunday evenings in anticipation of returning to work. "It changes everything! It structures our weeks. We make better use of our time and energy. You don't spread yourself too thin, you have a framework. And above all, you don't end the week in a state of stress, in a rush," says a Slack developer, interviewed by the French financial newspaper, Les Echos.

Note that this approach stands in total contrast with a concept that became popular last fall, the "quiet weekend," which consists of organizing your work week in such a way as to lighten the load on Fridays. Each to their own...