The Friday effect

A recent observation I’ve had after a bit of experimentation is on the effect Fridays have on our memory of the working week.

As we head into the weekend, a busy Friday filled with many meetings and constant activity remind us of a work week that left more to be desired – regardless of how the other four days went (!).

On the flip side, a calm Friday with enough space to reflect, problem-find, and feel on top of what we want to get done triggers the memory of a productive week – again, regardless of how the other four days went.

If that triggers any vague memories of “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, you’re likely remembering the insight he shared on our propensity to remember only the peaks and ends of experiences.┬áThat insight has many applications – the effect of Fridays on our memory of the working week is a powerful example.

Note to self: Plan that Friday schedule very intentionally.

Friday connect-the-dots time

Here’s an idea for today/Friday. Take 10 mins – or maybe 30 – today and just invest in connecting the dots for yourself or others.

What does connecting the dots even mean? We are, for the most part, working in places that are matrixed and cross-functional while dealing with problems that are multi-faceted. So, you can think “dots” as the people in these places or ideas that constitute the many facets of the problems we face.

Here are some examples –

People: Find time to get to know two colleagues you work with personally, block an hour to have a get-to-know conversation with your manager (under the pretext of career development if needed), or organize a lunch or activity for your team.

Ideas: Take the time to delve into a hard problem, map out your development goals, start a monthly internal newsletter sharing insights from your customer conversations, or interview someone who is either insightful or productive.

Start with a small idea today. Then, rinse and repeat next week and the week after until connect-the-dots time is a fixture on your calendar.

Every one of our workplaces and jobs thrives on connection – between people and ideas. These connections make workplaces more collaborative, productive, and smart. While it might seem like we’re spending time on “extra-curriculars,” it is the unsaid bullet in all our job descriptions.

And, tiny, consistent investments in making these connections can transform our outputs and outcomes.