It started with an idea from Sol Orwell: take Fridays "off" from your typical work and use them to invest in yourself, your development, your network, and your next week.
I really responded to this idea after feeling bad about the Friday slump: I was slower, less effective, and had a hard time concentrating. After reading about Sol's approach, I decided to embrace the Friday slowness and turn it into something meaningful. Here's how:
First, I started looking at my end of week deadlines as Thursday night, not Friday.
I don't know about you, but Thursday has been a historically busy day for me, starting as far back as high school, when I used to have theater rehearsal after classes. Now, it's morphed into a day of back to back calls and hard tasks. I used to bemoan Thursdays, and whine about the full schedule, but just as I had decided to embrace the slowness of Fridays, I decided to embrace the breakneck pace of Thursdays. I didn't have to do anything differently, except change my expectations.
Now, any deadlines I set for myself or my team had to be met by Thursday night. Any communication on projects or with customers had to be done by Thursday night. Most customers wouldn't schedule calls with me on Friday anyway, so there was little impact in turning off that availability. I started following up with customers on Thursday night, instead of Friday. What I learned doing these followups on Thursday was, for the most part, I had the same results as following up a Friday--no one got back to me until Monday. When you serve entrepreneurs, you serve people that create their perfect weeks--people like Sol Orwell, who take Friday "off." Whether I sent an email on Friday morning or Thursday night, it went unanswered all of Friday, so I wasn't missing anything critical.
Once I cleared my Friday, I had to figure out what to do with it.
One thing I noticed about any Friday calls I'd have with my co-workers (we are all fully remote, so calls are a necessity) is that we had longer, deeper, more meaningful conversations when we talked on Fridays. These types of calls are the key to building relationships with my team. I would occasionally have these types of conversations on other days of the week, but always feel guilty, that an hour or longer conversation is distracting from my work. So now, I had a place for them to be, a place where I could take the time to get deeper because there wasn't pressing work we were being distracted from.
The thing Sol dedicates the majority of his day to is reading. Each time he finds a great article, he saves it, and revisits it on Friday. I love this approach, especially saving the minor distraction blips throughout the week. If I come across an amazing article on Tuesday, I don't need to stop what I'm doing and read it: I need to save it and read it on Friday. Knowing that I'll get to read it when I'm in a better mindset means I'm not upset that I don't get it to read it now. I put the article in it's place, go about my day, and return to it when it's ready.
Something that I've always done on Fridays at work, that fits in very nicely with this concept, is Book Club. We do Book Club as a company, we all read the same book then get together to talk about it every other week. This is reading and connecting deeply with others. It's also quite a lot of self-reflection, exploration and learning.
I try to take a learning-focused approach to my Fridays, even if we aren't having a book club meeting. What skill can I improve, what topic can I learn more about, what expertise can I keep fresh?
And the last thing I do for the day is take stock of the week behind me and reflect--what did I do well, what did I do poorly? What can I learn and apply to next week?--and look forward at the week to come and make some high-level plans, so Monday doesn't surprise me.
The most important aspect of this is that it is a journey--my Fridays may never be a perfect version of this, an urgent task or meeting will inevitably sneak up on me. But I like to think of it like yoga--it's a practice. I set this as my intention every Friday, and then I practice. I might not have a perfect day, but at least I practiced, and continued to make it a habit.
A note about practicing this within an organization:
I don't work for myself, I work for and with a lot of incredible people. That means the last thing I want to do is flake on them by doing fuck all with my Friday, and forcing them to pick up my slack because I read a cool article. That's not what this is. It is important that my Fridays are still spent in a way that is valuable to the company.
When I started experimenting with this idea, I didn't tell anyone. I just shifted my to-do lists and my expectations. Fridays are pretty quiet at ConvertKit, especially afternoons in Pacific Time. I already had a difficult time getting a hold of anyone after 2p, so that time was always reserved for independent work, though usually work on simple tasks or things I now transitioned to Thursday.
This means taking the time to connect with my team, learn something or some things that benefit ConvertKit, and taking the time to reflect on my work for the week, and look forward to the next week.
I share all of this because I want to invite you to embrace the Friday vibes as well.
We're going to take Fridays a little more slowly, and we're going to be better for it!