13 killer tips to slash your Friday 13th unproductivity

Paraskevidekatriaphobia and productivity. What do these two words have in common?


They both start with the letter ‘p’.

One can be worked on rationally, the other comes around regardless and is illogical. Paraskevidekatriaphobia, in other words Friday 13th, has arrived. Seen by the majority of us as an unlucky day, what could be worse?


An unproductive Friday 13th.

I’m going to offer you 13 killer tips to slash your unproductivity this Friday, and restore some balance to this dreaded day.


1.) Hack away at quick jobs

In the morning, go through emails to see if there are any tasks which can be completed quickly or respond to queries so others can get on with their tasks. You never know, you may also encounter an urgent piece of work which takes priority over your day.

2.) Commute to your advantage

If taking public transport, why not go one step better and do number 1 on the train? This means you will most likely gain an extra 30 minutes or so to your day.

3.) Slice meetings by 25%

A lot of time with meetings is wasted dealing with conference call set-ups and making the teas when the meeting has started rather than before. Cut meetings from 1 hour to 45 minutes. You will gain 25 hours a month of work. Roughly this is 300 hours a year, close to two months of work.

4.) Have breaks

You may think why break? I’m losing time as I’m not working. However, not having breaks is unproductive. You will become tired, loose focus and in the long run take a prolonged amount of time to produce a poor piece of work which you will most likely have to do again. Think about it. Our average attention span is 8 seconds, less than a goldfish.

5.) Work alone

Work alone when needs be. For example if you are copywriting some documents and need to fine comb a thesis sized document requiring intense concentration, lock yourself into a room to stop interruptions. Just make sure no one is behind the door…..

6.) Converse, don’t email

When possible go talk to a colleague about something you need doing rather than emailing. Emails can get lost in translation and require follow ups. Just don’t go down any dark corridors on your way there…

7.) Chop problems into small chunks

Watch how that once impossible huge task now becomes much more appetising to complete. This will reduce procrastination and increase confidence.

8.) Silence your phone

Turn your phone on silent and put it into your draw. You’ll need to have your wits about you today of all days.

9.) Stop saying “Yes” so often

Pareto Principle states 20% of the effort produces 80% of the results, however 20% of the results requires 80% of the effort. Stop working harder and focus on tasks that produce 80% of the results, and stop saying “yes” to tasks that bring less or no results.

10.) Work together

If you take on too much of a load, you’ll eventually burn out and become unproductive. Allow someone to share the burden, meaning things can be done twice as fast and perhaps offer a fresh perspective you were lacking.

11.) Begin automating

When possible, automate tasks. For example rather than posting Tweets to a variety of accounts, spend 20 minutes using software such as Hootsuite to write out all your Tweets for multiple accounts and auto deliver these. This allows you to concentrate on other tasks.

12.) Give yourself something nice to look at

Research shows outfitting your office with aesthetically pleasing elements can increase productivity by 15%. Perhaps a nice new plant or a photograph? Or how about……

13.) Stop being a perfectionist

Nothing is ever perfect. Do a task to the best of your ability and then move onto the next one. It is much better to complete a task to a high standard then begin a new one, rather than pushing things back to try perfect one. Many tasks can also be returned to should they not satisfy your standards.


Hopefully these 13 simple tips will make today a bit more bearable for those with paraskevidekatriaphobia in particular!