Afternoon lag. 3pm slump. Procrastination paralysis. Whatever you call it, hitting the weekday wall is a real thing.
Symptoms often include social media scrolling, distraction level 100, frequent daydreams and, occasionally, sleeping at your desk. Throw in a work-from-home situation, where you’re surrounded by all your favourite things plus your bed, and making it to 5pm just gets infinitely harder.
If you, like me, are in professional struggle-town, here are a few tips to get you through the day:
Make a priority list
Sometimes a to-do list can set you up for failure. Like, you put so much pressure on yourself to get the list completed, but you didn’t factor in the 2pm zoom meeting or the delay in feedback from your notoriously slow coworker. HURRY UP, CATHY.
So, instead of a to-do list, I’m a priority list gal. At the start of every day, over my morning magic (Melburnians, unite!) I assess my tasks, rank them in order of urgency and go from there. If I don’t get everything done, it just moves onto tomorrow’s list.
Have an admin day
Is your inbox forever overflowing? Does your Trello go nuts? Do you have to schedule one million Zoom meetings? If all of the above sounds like you, ya might want to consider allocating yourself an admin day once a week.
Personally, I like to do my admin on Tuesdays. My colleagues know that I’m not doing anything creative on Tuesdays but I’m available for meetings, I’m responding to emails and I’m giving feedback. Expectations are met, admin is done, the week is set.
Dilly-dallying is our worst workday enemy – to avoid procrastination paralysis, I’m into midday fun. A brisk lap of the block, a lunchtime yoga class or a round of competitive, addictive-in-a-good-way Red Bull Office Games will get those endorphins going and pump you up for an arvo of hard yakka.
Got a work bestie? Hit them up. As Troy and Gabriella from the ever-iconic 2006 High School Musical say, “We’re all in this together”. And by “this” I mean the 9-5, Monday-to-Friday work week.
In order to get through it without cc’ing the entire team into a passive-aggressive email thread, I highly recommend partnering up with a colleague to hold each other accountable, proofread LinkedIn posts and send each other memes until the clock strikes 5pm.
I’m not above bribing myself with food. And sometimes television. And occasionally wine. But the key to self-bribery is holding yourself accountable. Don’t you dare sneak a piece of chocolate until you’ve emptied your inbox. If I catch you hanging around the wine rack before you’ve called that client, there will be hell to pay. Bribery is only productive when you follow the rules AKA reward post-work only.
If you want to beat the afternoon lag and game at the same time, I highly recommend jumping on a Red Bull Office Games team and tackling the leaderboard.Image: The Devil Wears Prada