Everyone knows that Friday is simultaneously the best and worst day of the week: the best when that late-afternoon emotional release rolls around and you know that it is finally time to put away the computer, the folders, and the general sense of dread, and start kicking back and/or turning up. But it’s the worst because, from the time you get out of bed to about 4:30 PM, you have to force yourself to get through what has to be an actual, productive workday, even though you have zero desire to function like a human being — let alone a professional, upwardly-mobile one. You don’t want to answer emails, you don’t want to file things, you don’t want to meet deadlines, and you certainly don’t want to have a mindless conversation with your office-neighbor about the election.
When Friday rolls around, you just can’t fake it anymore, but you have to.
So, in the interest of combatting that depressing work fatigue, and actually making the first eight hours of Friday something you look forward to, I (with some help from my friends and TFD teammates), came up with a little list of things to do to make your Fridays more productive, fun, and non-hellish.
Enjoy, and here’s to a Good Friday, every Friday! (tee hee)
1. Dedicate a solid half-hour to cleaning out your inbox. Unroll.me is a great place to start if, like me, you are very, very bad about having a clean and organized inbox. And while it may seem like an overwhelming task, if you dedicate a specific time frame to ~cleansing~ your digital life, it can become a routine you actually look forward to.
2. Create a Friday morning “treat yourself” routine. For me, because I know Fridays are always such a difficult day to get started and feeling energized, I light a candle at my desk, put on some jazz, treat myself to a breakfast item (partial towards bagels, donuts, or iced lattes) that I otherwise wouldn’t have, and allow myself to feel pampered. It’s a simple thing, but it makes the transition nice, and gives me something to look forward to when getting out of bed on Friday morning.
3. Start a running Friday potluck lunch date. You don’t have to spend money to have a great lunch, and everyone can use a reason to spend more time with their core work-friend group. If everyone makes and brings something — from entree to side to dessert — you get the fancy-lunch feel without spending a ton, and you get a reason to make a fun new dish. (You can even theme them if you’re feeling adventurous, based on anything from a movie/book to an entire country.)
4. Do a mini Friday recap, the way you would a to-do list. Just as much as it’s important to plan ahead, as many people do on Monday mornings with a little list, it’s good to look back on the week that came and went and see what went well and what you’d do differently. We have a chalkboard in the office, and I keep a cute notebook on my desk (that actually makes me want to take notes), and both are great places to do little Friday re-caps to remind myself of the lessons from the week’s workflow. If you get enough good lessons/insights, you can collect them into a Google doc and share with someone who might be interested. (One of my recent Friday lessons: share calendar reminders with other team members who aren’t in certain meetings, so they know where we are when we don’t respond in chat or aren’t available for something.)
5. Have a drink with a “no work talk” rule. At a lot of offices I’ve worked at, 5 PM on Friday generally meant “have a drink hour,” either in the office itself or at a place in the neighborhood. But that hour generally slipped into “complaining about work stuff,” which made it feel like more of a cause for stress than a way to relieve it. Even if just with your closest work friends, challenge yourself to talk about things other than work for that hour after work. You can even turn it into a game: the first person to bring up work has to get a snack for the table.
6. Clean your fucking desk. Seriously, there is something so cleansing/relaxing/satisfying about cleaning your desk, and if you set a nice lil calendar alert for it each week, you won’t be able to put it off for weeks on end. (When you only clean your desk at the moments you finally get utterly sick of yourself, you’re guaranteed to spend that intermediate time feeling cluttered, unproductive, and anxious.)
In the interest of transparency, here’s a #nofilter snap of my desk at this very moment. Nice and clean (if in need of a Windex), and featuring my Friday treat — Dunkin Donuts, which Maya was kind enough to bring this morning 😀
7. Make a Friday inspo board. Even if it’s just a little mini corkboard on your desk/in your cube, create a nice little board that you add to once each Friday. It’s not only a nice, relaxing thing to look forward to doing each week, it helps beautify your space and keep you motivated in the meantime. Here’s TFD’s!
8. Start a mini-newsletter group with a few professional friends. Each Friday, have a little email thread where you each send links to three articles that they really loved/learned from. Aside from being a nice thing to read each week, it’ll give you something more substantial to talk about the next time you hang out instead of — you guessed it — complaining about work stuff.
9. Practice Friday morning mini-yoga. Pick out your favorite basic YouTube yoga routine and start doing it each morning right when you wake up. Even if it’s just five minutes of basic stretching, it’s a great way to transition from the “ugh, kill me” of the alarm going off and the grind of having to get ready. If you do it right, you might actually be excited by the time you settle into your desk. Even on a Friday.
Image via Pexels