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Surviving Thursdays: 35 Personal Productivity Secrets to Finish The Week Early

 Thursdays are tough. We all know it. The end of week slump can be as deadly as the afternoon crash.  But what if you could magically transform your Thursday into a Friday?

Imagine if you could double your productivity, power through the day, and finish your whole week’s work before Friday even hits.

You’d free up an entire day for creative projects, socialising with colleagues, and pre-weekend celebrations. Whatever your heart desires.

The 4 day work week doesn’t have to be a dream. Learn how to get work done on Thursdays with these 35 personal productivity secrets, and finish your week early. What you do with Friday is up to you ;)

Download our 150+ page guide to becoming more productive!

1 - Avoid alcohol at all costs.

I know it’s tempting (and the end of the week is so close!) but even one drink will impair your focus and slow you down. Save the celebrations for Friday afternoon - beer tastes better when you’ve earned it. 

2 - Start early.

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The morning is your ‘golden time’ for productivity. If you want to get work done, don’t give into the snooze button temptation. 

3 - Turn off (or mute) notifications on your phone and desktop.

Even the smallest distractions can ruin your focus. Once something breaks your concentration, it takes up to 25 minutes to get your flow back.

4 - Chew gum.

It might sound strange, but researchers have found that chewing gum can boost alertness and short-term memory by increasing blood oxygen. Performing the action of chewing (or mastication) has also been shown to reduce stress 

5 - Follow the 2-minute rule.

If a task or job is going to take less than 2 minutes, always do it immediately. This teaches you how to work faster, prevents your to-do list from getting cluttered, and keeps your mind clear. 

6 - Set strict timeframes for each task you need to complete.

Learn how to get work done by holding yourself to hourly deadlines. Don’t let yourself slip into the time allocated for another job. Check out the time tracking functionality in WorkflowMax for more information.

7 - Enforce shorter deadlines for difficult tasks.

Work is ‘elastic’, meaning it stretches out the more time you give it. If a project is particularly hard, force yourself to complete it in a shorter timeframe than usual. This teaches you how to get work done more efficiently.

8 - Share your deadlines with others.

Tell your boss or colleagues you’re going to finish something today, so their expectation helps to apply external pressure. 

9 - Install a website blocking app.

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If you’ve logged your time and measured your personal productivity metrics, you’ll know what your most distracting websites are. Use an online tool like Freedom, so it’s impossible to visit them during work hours. 

10 - Stumble upon a great read?

The internet is full of tempting articles, e-books and blogs. Instead of falling down the rabbit hole, save it for later with an app like Pocket or Instapaper.

11 - Stop multi-tasking.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; multi-tasking is the enemy of productivity. Train yourself to complete tasks fully before moving onto the next thing. This allows your brain to reach a much deeper state of focus.

12 - Use a pomodoro timer.

These apps work harmoniously with your brain’s natural capacity to focus for around 25 minutes of work. Taking these regular, small breaks teaches you how to work faster overall. 

13 - Increase your typing speed.

How much of your day is spent typing reports or writing emails? If you answer ‘a lot’, it’s worth improving your typing speed. There are free training tools which can improve your rate dramatically - try 15 minutes of practice on your break each day.

14 - Drink coffee wisely.

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Don’t procrastinate with constant coffee breaks; save the caffeine for when you really need it. Between 9-10am and 1-2pm are the most effective times to reach for a coffee hit, according to your natural circadian rhythms. 

15 - Make it clear that you’re working.

If you have a private office, close your door. If you work in an open plan environment use visual cues (like wearing headphones - even if they’re mute) so people are less likely to distract you.

16 - Do meal prep on Sundays.

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Prepping your Monday-Thursday lunch meals in advance can save hours of time each week. It’s also a great way to stay healthy and reduce impulse spending.

17 - Sit somewhere different for each task.

If you’ve hit a mental wall, changing environments can help you to get work done. Take your laptop outside or find any empty meeting room while you work on a specific task. Stick to that one job, and only move somewhere else when it’s complete. Here at Xero we love using beanbags whenever we need a break from our desks!

18 - Dress for success.

Studies have shown that wearing smart, corporate clothing can help your brain to distinguish between work and play time. This is especially important if you’re working remotely. Looking sharp also helps build your confidence...So ditch those pyjamas and put on your power suit!

19 - Take a multivitamin.

Many of us don’t get enough magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D from our diets alone. If you feel fatigued or sluggish at work, ask a doctor which multivitamins could boost your health and performance. 

20 - Learn keyboard shortcuts.

Is there a specific piece of software you use every day? Many programs (like the Adobe Suite) will have a wide range of keyboard shortcuts to make your life easier. Print off a guide and stick it next to your screen - you’ll know how to work faster immediately. 

21 - Exercise on your lunch break.

Do a set of burpees in the lunchroom, go for a run, or speed walk around the block. A midday bout of exercise will dramatically boost your energy and mental clarity. It’s a proven way of preventing the afternoon slump.

22 - Take a power nap.

Too sleepy for exercise? Try a 20-30 minute snooze at lunchtime instead. Power napping in the early afternoon has been proven to boost alertness and performance. Find a dark, quiet and comfortable space to lie down - and set a timer so you don’t exceed 30 min. Any longer will leave you feeling groggy.

23 - Clean your desktop.

Digital mess is a big distraction. Each day spend 5 minutes deleting pointless or outdated files. It’s a cathartic process and helps to clear your mind as well as your desktop. 

24 - Reduce your meeting times.

Want to know how to get work done? Cut your 1 hour meeting down to 30 minutes. A shorter timeframe means you’re more likely to stick to the agenda. 

25 - Use dictation.

Need to write down your thoughts? Maybe you want to make post-meeting notes? Dictation is four times faster than writing. If you use Google Docs, try their built in Voice Control tool. For more advanced software try Dragon.

26 - Get a workflow board.

Create a visual representation of your jobs using an online workflow tool like Trello. This lets you see all of your tasks at a glance. Mark any challenges or delays, move tasks as you complete them, and watch your productivity skyrocket. 

27 - Have a ‘useful’ procrastination list.

Make a wish-list of skills that will help you work faster, like touch typing or keyboard shortcuts. When the urge to procrastinate is overwhelming pick a skill to practice from your list. This means that even your procrastination will increase productivity in the long-term.

28 - Have your ‘Fun Friday’ planned.

What’s the point in finishing your important work by Thursday if Friday is a day of drudgery? Make sure you have a reward scheduled for Friday afternoon. Plan to work on that special personal project, leave the office early, or have a pre-weekend celebration with your colleagues. 

29 - Listen to ambient noise.

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If you want to work faster, a certain level of white noise can help you reach a state of highly focused concentration. These 3 apps are specifically designed to increase productivity.

30 - Follow the 70% delegation rule.

If 70% of a job can be done right by someone else, delegate it to them. 

31 - Use the right time tracking apps.

These 8 powerful time tracking tools will help you stay productive and focused, especially if you’re working remotely. 

WorkflowMax Mobile app

32 - Get a desk plant.

A fascinating Melbourne study found that simply looking at plants and flowers can boost your concentration at work. Plus they brighten up your mood! 

33 - Use scented herbs.

Certain herbs create aromas which can improve your mental state. Cinnamon and peppermint are believed to boost alertness, while rosemary is good for memory. Keep some handy at your desk. 

34 - Guzzle water.

Hydration fights fatigue like nothing else. Drinking plenty of water is still one of the most effective ways to increase productivity and work faster. 

35 - Keep your ultimate goal in mind.

All the productivity secrets in the world aren’t enough if you don’t feel motivated to use them.

Imagine how it would feel to finish all your work by Thursday - not just this week, but every week. Visualise your success every morning, keep that mental image in mind, and strive for it! 

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Productivity feels amazing but it has an arch-nemesis...Procrastination. Procrastination is the little demon on your shoulder telling you to stop working, doodle a masterpiece, play games on your smartphone, or make another sandwich. What if you could silence that voice forever? Next week we’re sharing some proven tools and techniques for kicking procrastination to the curb!