How To Be Productive On Fridays - Mighty Fridays In Nozbe

Research as well as conversations with friends and self-observations show that for most people Friday is the least productive working day. I guess it stems from the fatigue of the preceding 4 days and the anticipation of the weekend. And that’s why Fridays in Nozbe are special.

The 4-day workweek reshaped

The to-do list goes on and on. You can catch up every day, and there will still be something to be done. Not all employers are thus ready to let their team take a day off on Friday and go with a 4-day workweek. But if the stuff we do on Fridays makes us work much more efficiently on the other days? That doesn’t sounds so bad any more, does it?

On Fridays in our company, we try not to work on current affairs. Instead, we focus on reviewing the week that ends, planning the one ahead and then we have time for personal development. Our concept was described in many Polish publications and soon will appear in Western press.

More and more organizations try to adapt the idea of Mighty Fridays and what they experience their expectations.

Why would one resign from work on Fridays?

  1. Fighting fatigue

As already mentioned, Fridays are days of lower productivity for many people. Especially in the afternoon, when most people’s minds are already in the weekend mode. Friday starts the weekend… and so on. This day should be better approached in a different way. One that will motivate and engage the employee.

  1. Development

We work not only to check off our tasks and run off, but also to learn and develop. Since we already spend at least 40 hours a week at work, it would be nice to gain new knowledge and skills - you know… to become a better specialist and a better person.

  1. Planning

As we are constantly busy carrying out tasks, attending meetings and writing reports, we don’t have time to plan our work properly. To draw conclusions, sum up the week and prepare for the next one. And planned work is so much more effective than chaotic wandering through the to-do list.

And this is where our Mighty Friday appears - all in white, riding a unicorn ✨

Friday is free… from day-to-day work

Fridays in Nozbe, Mighty Fridays, are not free from work at all, but they are free from a day-to-day work. On a Friday, every team member does a solid weekly review and then focuses on personal development and perfecting their skills. Everyone designs this day for themselves to work even better and more efficiently next week!

We sharpen the saw on Fridays to work better on the other days

In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes that you should regularly “sharpen the saw”.

Here goes his story:

Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree. “What are you doing?” you ask.

“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”

“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”

Sounds familiar?

Let’s be honest, you cannot saw wood all the time without taking care of your tools. As the saw becomes dull, sawing will become harder. That is why it is worth pausing the work every now and then and “wasting” some time sharpening the saw. It’s about regularly investing in ourselves so that we can reap dividends on a continual basis. It means working smarter, not harder.

I think the analogy is quite obvious 🤓 The saw can be also: improving processes, searching for new solutions to old problems, learning new things that will make us perform our daily duties more efficiently or completing your project management training. After all, the saw can also be planning work for the next week and organizing the reference materials.

The toughest day of the week becomes the best one

Another advantage of Mighty Fridays in Nozbe is the way they help fight humdrum monotony. On this day, everyone can break away from current tasks and focus on developing creativity, experimenting, and having fun with work at work. Thanks to Mighty Fridays, we come in the office (in our case - the virtual one) with a plan, new information and energy on Mondays.

Time for development - within the working hours

Employers often require employees to constantly improve their skills. Or even better - training and development opportunities are guaranteed (they say during the recruitment process). But then, when are people supposed to do that? Obviously: in the meantime!

Michael, the CEO of Nozbe, believes that it is the manager’s job to create opportunities for his team personal development. Opportunities, i.e., the possibility to dedicate regular blocks of uninterrupted time to learning new things, improving processes, researching new tools, and reading. And all this within their working hours. Not at night or weekend.

Weekly review and planning work for the next week

The highlight of the Mighty Fridays concept is the weekly review. Sorry guys. No review, no fun. But it wasn’t always like that…

Although the Nozbe app is inspired by David Allen’s “GTD - Getting Things Done” methodology, where Weekly Review is a key, even in our company we stopped running reviews at some point. Current commitments had a higher priority than planning and improving, and everyone would choose to check off more tasks than summarize the week and plan the days ahead.

This was a mistake that we needed to fix quickly.

5 tips to a proper weekly review

  1. Enter a weekly review in your calendar - as if you were having a meeting with a key customer or other VIP. If you are using an on-line calendar, make it a recurring task. This makes it harder for you to find an excuse - you have it on your calendar! Weekly review time!

  2. To make the review less “terrifying” and faster - try to zero some of your “inboxes” and folders (eg. e-mail, Priority list) on a daily basis. You will need less time for it during the review.

  3. Act according to your plan - prepare your own weekly review checklist that is tailored to the specifics of your work - the points below may be an inspiration for you. David Allen breaks down his weekly review method into three sections: 1. Get Clear: Process all your loose-ends. 2. Get Current: Make sure all your items are up to date. 3. Get Creative: Come up with new ideas to improve how you live and work.

  4. Get your space ready. No matter where you decide to run your weekly recap, make sure that it is focus-friendly and distraction-free: turn off sounds and notifications, ask colleagues not to disturb you, etc.). You will need inspiration and cool ideas. 💡 You might want to do your weekly review in a slightly different place than you usually work.

  5. You can think of a reward. An extra one. Because I can assure you that the joy that you feel after completing your review is pretty rewarding already.

How to run a weekly review

With everything you’re already doing, committing to a weekly review sounds like an added chore. If you already have a productivity method in place, why add more complexity to your week? On the contrary, a weekly review provides clarity and direction. It’s well worth the hour-long investment each week.

A weekly review is an opportunity to direct your life with intention. It’s dedicated time to think about the past week, reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and plan for the week ahead. It’s a chance to get aligned with your goals and ensure that the work you’re doing on a daily basis is helping you reach them.

Our main collaboration, communication and work management system is, of course, the Nozbe app. This is where the most of the stages of the weekly review take place - though not all. Here are the most important of them:

  1. Review and organize/clean your physical documents - folder with bills, invoices and other paper documents that you collected during the week. You can scan some of them to have their digital versions, some you can put in appropriate binders or post them where they belong.

  2. Review and zero your e-mail inbox - reply to e-mails that require it. Emails that are actionable should go to your project and task management system (eg. Nozbe). Unsubscribe from newsletters that you no longer want to receive and delete completed threads. You can also look into spam - sometimes important e-mails land in there.

  3. Review your long-term goals and see if you are getting closer to them and what you can do to achieve them faster. Or maybe they need to be updated or modified? This step will incline you to summarize specific projects.

  4. Go through the list of your Priorities - see what you’ve managed to do (in Nozbe, use the option: Show completed) and what is still left to be done. Add comments, check deadlines, reference materials, and whether you have reminders set.

  5. Carefully review the Incoming view in Nozbe (this may be a different location in different systems - but this is where things that require your attention go). Decide what to do with individual tasks - do it right away, add a comment with an explanation or request for feedback, add a due date, add to the Priority list, or maybe delete?

  6. Now review the projects you are actively participating in. In Nozbe, browse all Followed and Favorite projects. One by one, analyze all the tasks that sit there and check if everything is where it should be. Mark some tasks as completed, change the due date or add a reminder to some of them. If you think it is better for someone else to take over, assign them a task with a specific description of what needs to be done. You can abandon some tasks if you think they are not important or transfer some to other projects.

  7. Check your commitments - in Nozbe, go to the Team view and select yourself from the list. In the main view, you will see all tasks assigned to you sorted by projects they belong to. Check whether all the time-sensitive tasks have due dates. Decide whether it’s worth setting a reminder to get started soon enough to meet the deadline? In some tasks, I recommend that you add a comment describing their status - say what stage of work you are at - it will help your colleagues or supervisors and you :)

  8. Review your Single Tasks and other places in your work system where information or requests from colleagues may be hidden. Also review the calendar and meetings schedule to stay on the ball.

  9. If you still have space, you can check out the Activity view in Nozbe, which lists everything that has happened in the projects you have access to. This will allow you to see what other people on the team are doing, what stage the work of other departments or people is at, what new stuff they are planning and what has been successfully ticked off the list. If you see that you can be of help somewhere, you can add feedback, or mark the task so that you can add your input in the coming week (e.g. star a task - it will go to your Priorities or add a reminder for a specific day.)

  10. You now have a picture of what happened, what went well and what was not done. You can start planning and get to a creative part of your review 😉 Add new projects to your system, write down new ideas - either in the form of tasks or topics that you will analyze, write up in a document and ask your team for feedback. Clear your mind - that is, write down everything that is on your mind that you must remember off. Plan your work and set goals for the upcoming week.

  11. At this stage, most people set priorities for the coming week and add comments to them to make sure all the information is there.

A regular weekly review performed every Friday won’t take you more than 1-2 hours, and will allow you to keep organized and stick to a coherent plan. David Allen believes that weekly review time is actually the only time he thinks about what he has to do, and afterward, he simply does it all since he knows that he’ll have time to think about things again next week.

The wrap-up: 3 golden rules of Mighty Fridays

  1. Tackle work-related tasks from Monday to Thursday only. Your productivity naturally drops at the end of the week, so focus on getting important tasks ready by Thursday. This will keep you working less but better.

  2. Run your weekly review on Friday. Start your Friday by performing the most important thing to do on this unique day: a thorough Weekly Review. It will help you review your week and plan your work for the following days. When you start again on Monday, you’ll know exactly what you’re supposed to do. This way, you’ll prevent stress buildup and have a more productive workweek!💡 To make your Mighty Friday really special, spend it in a different place or context – even just for the time when you’ll be doing your Weekly Review. A coffee shop, a couch, a different room – the choice is yours!

  3. Use the rest of the day to be a better version of yourself 😎 After completing the review and scheduling tasks for the coming week, you can choose whatever you want to do with your spare time.

💡 Fridays can also be used to find and learn new tools that will improve your work, such as Nozbe. It’s packed with features that will help you and your team become even more productive!

These are things Nozbe team members do on Mighty Fridays:

  • have foreign language lessons;
  • read articles and interviews collected during the week;
  • watch webinars and tutorials saved during the week;
  • investigate what tools have appeared and what changes have been made to the tools they use;
  • clean or rearrange their physical or virtual work space;
  • have psychotherapy sessions;
  • talk to colleagues;
  • do sports, yoga, walk;
  • develop automations and other enhancements in order to work less but better.

You can read more about Mighty Fridays in the 17th chapter of Michael’s “NoOffice book.

Will you try to introduce Mighty Fridays in your organization?

What are your first thoughts related to our Mighty​Fridays concept? Do you think they would work for your company? Or maybe you’ve already managed to introduce something similar? We hope that more and more employers will be offering Mighty Fridays as a way to increase efficiency by maximizing commitment and fun from work!

One of the Nozbe team "dinosaurs" - #NoOffice practitioner since 2013. Extravert, neurotic & vegetarian feminist with 189 imperfections.