Can We Be Productive on Friday Afternoons?

Tired-Frustrated-HeadacheI enjoy my work, I enjoy being there for my family, but whew, when Friday afternoon rolls around, I am T. I. R. E. D. And, I’m sure I’m not alone.


If Wednesday is Hump Day, is Friday “Dump Day?”


Some organizations are on the Dump Day bandwagon. My first corporate job was for an insurance company whose 75-year tradition was to close at 3:00 on Fridays. The Skimm has a policy that no meetings will be held after 1:00 on Fridays. Another large corporate client of mine, while not letting people skedaddle out the door, instituted Face-to-Face Fridays both to reduce email as well as sustain motivation on what is perceived by many as the least productive day of the week.


And workers agree with the Dump Day philosophy. In a survey of several thousand managers and HR professionals, CareerBuilder found that a desire for half-day Fridays outnumbered fitness centers and blue jean days two to one. Why provide this costly perk? To increase employee engagement and retention.


Whatever your organization’s philosophy of Friday afternoons, you have to make a choice about how to treat your day. Here are some options to consider and implications of your choice.


Dump Day Choice #1: I am DONE by Friday afternoon.

  • Don’t schedule meetings on Fridays. You’ll need the morning to tie up loose ends.
  • Leave the office. Plan your week as if work ends by a designated time on Fridays.
  • Shut down email. You may need to set aside an hour or two on Sunday afternoon to attend to anything that came in while you were unplugged.
  • Finish the week. Clear off your desk, review your calendar for next week, and update your to-do list. Don’t leave loose ends, no matter how desperate you are to be done.


Dump Day Choice #2: I am tired on Friday but still must be productive.

  • Schedule fun tasks for Fridays. If there is any work duty you particularly enjoy doing, saving it for Friday can raise your energy levels when you need it most.
  • Find a Friday Buddy. If there is a coworker that can be an accountability partner, meet with them on Friday mornings and review what you must accomplish that day. There’s no ability like accountability.
  • Avoid distractions. When we are tired, we are more easily tempted by social media or other time thieves. Turn off all notifications on your mobile devices.
  • Choose a reward. What will you do this weekend for yourself in exchange for a productive Friday?
  • Finish the week strong. Use the impending weekend as an artificial deadline to inspire you to complete tasks that have been lagging on your to do list all week


Dump Day Choice #3: I love Friday; it’s my most productive day.

  • Enjoy your rock star status. You may want to put this on your resume.
  • Understand that your levels of motivation may not be shared by your coworkers. Don’t schedule tasks that require vast volumes of cerebral input from others.
  • Assess the deadlines and progress dates that you have given your tasks and see if they need to be postponed or deleted altogether.
  • Finish the week with gusto. Set aside time on Friday afternoon to make sure that your actions this week are aligned with your goals and values.


Did you notice that “Finish the week” is included in each choice?

Your next steps: Copy the content of this post and paste it into a recurring calendar entry at a time of your choosing on Fridays. Make the subject of the appointment “Finish the Week.” You can even add the words “strong” or “with gusto” if you are feeling inspired.

Although I’d love to tell you that I make choice #3 every week, it would be untrue. There are times I fall into the DONE camp and others where I limp my way through until quitting time. The good news is that being a good manager of time and tasks helps me bounce back from any unproductive Dump Days quickly.

Do you know someone who wants to be more productive on Fridays and, while we’re at it, other days as well? That’s my business. Your likes, shares, forwards, introductions, and referrals keep me doing it.


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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


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