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Ask LH: How Can I Get Through A Boring Friday Afternoon At Work?

Dear Lifehacker, By the end of the week I really struggle to get through the day at work. Around two o’clock on Friday, I’m pretty much useless. Is there anything I can do to help myself power through the day some what productively? Thanks, TGIF

Photos by Maridav (Shutterstock) Jayel Aheram, NazarethCollege, LetTheCardsFall, Lindsay

Dear TGIF,

We’re right there with you. Powering through a Friday afternoon with a weekend coming on is one of the hardest things to do (and doubly so with an impending long weekend). However, it’s not impossible; here are a few tricks to push yourself to get work done fast, or at least make the afternoon fly by.

Stick To “Interesting To-Dos”

We all get a little sleepy after lunch on a Friday. The natural response to this is to pack in the bulk of your work in the early morning so you don’t have to do it in the afternoon. That’s fine, but Lifehack suggests keeping your afternoon tasks interesting to combat tedium:

Thus, the first rule I follow is to stay away from uninteresting to-dos after lunch. If necessary, I will switch up my workload to keep things interesting. Working in a dynamic environment will undoubtedly help as well. This rule usually helps me feel less or not at all sleepy in the afternoon.

The idea here is pretty simple: instead of taking on your most boring tasks this afternoon, spice it up with something you’re actually keen ondoing. This way, your brain will stay interested in the work at hand. This isn’t always possible, but if you have a fun work project, saving it for a Friday afternoon might be the perfect cure to getting over those Friday-blues.

Learn A New Skill

Often, it’s hard to get through a Friday afternoon because you don’t want to start on a new project, but you’re done with the bulk of the work for the week. So, while you’re in limbo, you’re just futzing about the office waiting for the clock to hit 5 pm. This is the perfect time to pick up a new skill.

If your employer lets you take time to work on new skills, then saving those sessions for Friday afternoons is a good way to get through the workday quickly. Even if it’s a boring class on spreadsheets, the fact that your brain is learning something new is often enough to get your through the day.

We’ve talked about a few ways to learn new skills when you’re stuck at a boring job, and you can also employ some of the same tricks that can make a car ride suck less, such as listening to podcasts, learning a new language, taking online classes, or even doing a little blogging. The main idea here is to keep your brain as engaged as possible when you’re in that doldrum period of Friday afternoon so you don’t drift off to sleep when you’re not supposed to.

Take A Quick Nap

If you are drifting off to sleep, embracing that feeling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Done right, a quick afternoon nap can provide the perfect boost to your productivity and help you power through the rest of the day.

Over time, we’ve seen plenty of studies that suggest a perfectly timed nap can help you power through the day. In our experience, a 15-20 minute nap can help you recharge and get things done. If you need a little help finding the best target time for that nap, this nap wheel helps you pick the best time for a nap for optimal results.

If your workplace actually lets you take a nap, then take advantage of it. Provided you keep it short and don’t overdo it, a nap is all you need to turn a boring Friday afternoon into something productive.

Do Some Exercise Or Leave The Office

When you’re stuck in a late week afternoon rut, the last thing you want to do is exercise of any kind, but it’s a good way to get your juices flowing again so you can get through the rest of the day.

You don’t really need to do much. This set of simple desk stretches are enough to keep your body activated. Once you get your body moving again, powering through the rest of the day will be a bit easier. Personally, I do a post-lunch run to give me the energy to get through those last few hours of the workday. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it works surprisingly well.

Even if you don’t want to work out, getting out of the office and into the sun for a couple of minutes is a good way to boost your energy. We know a quick walk is a great way to reboot your brain, and getting out into the outdoors is boosts creativity and productivity. If you can, convincing your boss to let you work outside for the afternoon gets you away from distractions and in the mood to get work done. When it’s nice outside, I’ll often wander outside with my laptop to finish up work on a Friday afternoon. The change of setting along is usually enough to keep me on task.

Slogging through a sluggish Friday afternoon is never easy, but if you keep your brain and body moving it’s easier to get through the day. If nothing else, you’ll at least get your work done so you don’t fall asleep at your desk.

Cheers
Lifehacker

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