Stop wasting time on Friday

As the week winds down you finally get to Friday, which for many employees turns out to be the most unproductive day of the week. Most of us are looking forward to the week being over and may be even a bit burned out, and by noon productivity begins to dip. I’ve experienced this many times myself as we use what is left of our precious energy to get through the remaining hours of the day so we can get out of there. I’m going to suggest an alternative for the Friday malaise, and it has to do with using what you have left in the tank mentally and physically to do something that produces value for you and your employer.

Friday1

The suggestion is to devote as much of the day as possible to planning and cleanup activities. So instead of watching the clock and generally wasting time waiting to get the hell out of there you have something to do that occupies your time and can help you achieve your goals. The following activities and benefits provide the basis for making Friday a productive day versus a waste of time:

  • Activity: Plan out all your meetings for the upcoming week, schedule your conference rooms, and align your calendar with your to do list. Benefit: This sets you up for success on Monday and you now have a well thought out plan of attack for the week.
  • Activity: Cleanup your email, file everything in folders, respond to any outstanding emails, and delete all the stuff you don’t need. I try to get it down to maybe a dozen messages in my inbox. Benefit: Again you are doing some pretty easy work, and when you come in on Monday you start with a clean inbox. This allows you to focus on the present and the future and not have to deal with unread emails from the previous week.
  • Activity: Update your to do list or project schedules, adjusting due dates, adding tasks, and marking tasks complete. Benefit: Now instead of spending precious time next week you have a current to do list and project schedules. While this takes a bit of thought and planning it is not overly taxing.
  • Activity: Last but not least plan out what you will do this weekend, if you are like me you have been so busy all week that you haven’t had time to think about what you want to accomplish this weekend. I use an app called Wunderlist for my personal to do list manager because it is simple and works on various devices like my notebook computer, chrome book, and my android phone. Benefit: Instead of ending the day and having no plans for the weekend you now have a pretty good idea of the things you would like to accomplish and planned some recreational time.

None of the above mentioned activities require a lot of brain power, but they all provide value and set the stage for a more productive upcoming week. Because we are generally low on energy, focus on the planning and cleanup activities if you can, and save the stuff that takes real effort for Monday through Thursday. We all need some time to reflect and plan; contrary to what you may think this investment will pay dividends over time. The trick is to take care of the critical things on Friday morning and then if possible devote the afternoon to these these planning and cleanup activities.

I realize this doesn’t apply to all roles and jobs, but there are an awful lot of occupations where this can work.

Have a great weekend, I need to start planning.

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Follow-up #1 on What am I eating?

Popeye spinach

Sure it took me a few days to start interjecting some vegetables into my diet, as old habits die-hard.  So last night after I worked out I decided not to eat a pizza, but instead had a few ounces of tuna fish (no bread), and about 8 ounces of frozen cut leaf spinach cooked of course.  Strangely enough I felt better than usual, more energy and not as bloated as when I consumed the better part of a pizza myself, or as in my dinner the day before of 4 hot dogs and baked beans.  I like spinach and have made some assumptions about it being a pretty decent vegetable to consume, but a bit of research was in order.  Pulling out my handy HTC One Android phone I checked my Nutrition Data app and it says that 100 grams of spinach has the following nutritional makeup:

  • Calories 34
  • Total Fat 0.9g
  • Saturated Fat 0.0 g
  • Total Carbs 4.8g
  • Fiber 3.7g
  • Sugars 0.5g
  • Protein 4.0g

So without getting to technical I learned that frozen cut leaf spinach is low in fat, high in fiber, and contains a surprisingly high amount of protein.  Figuring I must have consumed at least 8 ounces I converted this to grams which means I consumed about 250 of them.  So the spinach I ate contained about 85 calories, 9.25 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein.  So next time you go shopping pick out some high fiber, low-calorie, high protein spinach to go along with the rest of your meal.  Maybe Popeye knew what he was doing.  Next we will analyze another of my favorite vegetables the Lima Bean, now that should be nothing short of fascinating.

Cool fitness apps for your phone

runtastic-Pedometer-PRO  redy-gym-log-workout-tracker

Without sounding like I’m plugging anyone’s products here, I just wanted to mention a few different fitness apps I used on my Android phone.  I used to haul my laptop upstairs to my workout room and log my reps and weights used for my strength training routine into a Google spreadsheet.  While this worked rather well it had me hauling the laptop up and down the stairs, and sometimes other folks in family were using the computer so it wasn’t all that convenient at times.  I did a little research at the Play Store (Google’s equivalent to Apple’s app store), and found an easy to use tool called Redy Gym Log.  The Redy Gym Log came pre-loaded with most of the popular strength training exercises, and you can add your own very easily.  I then created my 4 day split routine, and we were off to the races.  So now I just grab my phone and go upstairs do my workout and record it.

If you read an earlier post you know I like to walk, and since I take my phone with me it made sense to see if they had a pedometer application that would give me a pretty good idea of how far and fast I was walking.  I found the Runtastic Pedometer Pro (a couple of dollars to upgrade), and it has been great.  So now I’m tracking my strength training with Redy Gym Log and my walking with Runtastic Pedometer Pro.  Well since I also try to exercise first thing in the morning and had incorporated some squats into the routine, I noticed that Runtastic had an app for that too.  I downloaded Runtastic Squats, upgraded it (again another couple of dollars), and now I use Squats Pro and do squats 3 days a week in the morning.  There are other great fitness apps you can get for your Android or Apple phones, but these are 3 that I use every week and have been very pleased with.

I guess the revelation if there is one here is that you don’t need to haul around a laptop, notebook, or tablet PC; just grab your phone and get moving.  These apps provide a history of your workouts, making it easy for you to set new goals, and in the case of the Runtastic Squat Pro it actually creates the next workout for you and generates reminders.  All good stuff, but I’m not typing in the post from my phone, I just don’t have the patience for that yet.  So don’t pitch your laptop/notebook just yet.

The links for Runtastic and Redy Gym are as follows:

www.runtastic.com/

www.redyapps.com/gym/

I would love to know what fitness apps you are using on your phone?