I used to never love Fridays. I was happy about the weekend to come, of course, but not the fact that I was exhausted, I couldn't get anyone on the phone, and the day just seemed to get away from me. I made a commitment to make Friday one of the more productive days of the week, and not the least, and over the past few years I've seen a world of difference in how I end the week.

Here are some of the top ways I've made Fridays stand out:

Start your workday earlier in the day than usual.

This might be counterintuitive. After all, if you're like me, by Friday your energy might be waning. The key is to go to bed especially early on Thursday so you can start an hour earlier than usual on Friday.

Don't check your email for the first two hours of the day.

Even if you went to bed earlier on Thursday, there's a good chance your energy will dwindle over the course of a Friday. Given that, don't waste your peak hours at the start of the day on email. You can even use a tool such as Stay Focusd or Block Site to block your access to your webmail during certain hours to help you stay focused.

Work on a major initiative you've been putting off.

Fridays are often odd in that you're rushing around to end the week on the right foot, and yet nothing of major substance happens. Instead, block out time for one to two hours at the start of the day so that, even if you get hit by a truck at 10 a.m. and your workday ends suddenly, it's already been a very productive day.

Don't send emails; schedule them.

I've done data analysis to show that, as I suspected, Friday is the worst day to email people, assuming I actually want a response. Instead, I write emails but schedule them to get sent later. Two of my favorite tools for doing this are Boomerang for Gmail and Sidekick from HubSpot. I'll try to schedule emails for Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, rather than anytime on a Friday.

Figure out something you can say no to.

I get approached a good deal about business deals that don't make sense for Firebrand Group to be involved in, and it's uncomfortable to say no, so I put off the decision. I know from talking to others that saying no isn't always easy, but sometimes it's best to just find the perfect time to deliver that no and move on. Fridays are great days to say no and to head into the weekend feeling like a weight has been lifted.

Plan the week ahead out carefully.

Look over your calendar to make sure you're fully prepared for any upcoming meetings. Sometimes, my Friday review of next week's meetings will uncover that I have lunch appointments in two different cities at the same time, which is never a good thing. Also, sometimes I'll notice awkward gaps between two meetings in a certain region, which is a prompt for me to visit LinkedIn to see who from my network is nearby that I ought to use that gap space to catch up with.

These are my secrets to ending the week on a stellar note. Adopt a few of these, and there's a good chance you'll head into Friday night feeling like you're entitled to a great, relaxing weekend.

Published on: Nov 14, 2014
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.