I’m sure anyone who has worked in Britain has done the classic “Hey, not long til Friday, eh!” with their colleagues. It might be just small talk to some people, but others are legitimately living for the weekend.
I would say that’s fairly normal for your average person. For many of us, work is just that. Some of us are fortunate enough to have a passion and be paid for it, others work simply to make ends meet. Even for the lucky few in the former group, work can still be a great source of stress – and who among us has never woken up on a Monday morning and questioned how much they really need this damn job?
It’s pretty normal.
But what I’ve also come to realise is that this kind of attitude could be affecting the way you live your life. And that has to change.
What’s the big deal? Fridays are rad!
For most of the 9 to 5 population, yes, of course they are! Fridays are freedom. 48 hours to do as you please! What’s not to love?
I know, I know. The introduction to this blog probably came over a little bit too serious, perhaps even a little dramatic. Let me tell you why.
Some time ago, I was watching a TED talk about procrastination (a beautiful irony to be enjoyed there, given the fact I was meant to be doing something else). This one, by Tim Urban:
If you’ve got time, I thoroughly recommend you watch it. Tim is a super-engaging speaker and makes some excellent points. One of which scared the absolute shit out of me.
Right at the end, he displays what he calls a ‘Life Calendar’. On that big screen is an image of little boxes. One box represents one week in a long human life.
That comes as quite the shock. There really aren’t that many boxes. Not as many as you expect. Some weeks feel so long, right?
But here’s the thing. If you’re only ever waiting for Friday to do something that makes you happy, if you’re simply traipsing through each week, you haven’t got a great deal of time.
That is super depressing
I was worried you might think that. Truthfully, that TED talk stayed with me for days afterwards as I questioned exactly what in the hell I was doing with my time – which is exactly the effect that talk should have. I’ve read plenty of quotes and sentiments along the lines of ‘live each day as if it’s your last’ but nothing put it into perspective the way that life calendar did.
If you’re feeling a similar way right now, then I do feel a bit bad. Sorry. It’s quite something, isn’t it?
But this site is all about seeing the positives, and here’s one: Now you know, you can act on it.
After watching that talk, I came to the realisation that I’d already used quite a portion of life up to that point. I wasn’t about to go and waste what I had left.
And so, here are some things I did to counteract the ‘TGIF’ mentality.
Literally, forget about Friday
Listen, I know you’re knackered because it’s Tuesday night or whatever, but it’s not hard to just have a mate over for some pizza and a movie. Or pop out to the pub with your other half. Or spend an hour or so catching up with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
These things are low effort with high reward – making meaningful connections is never a waste of time.
Take stock of where you are now
Okay, this bit’s not always nice because it’s hard. Take a look at what you’re doing, how you’re spending your time, and who with. How do those things make you feel? Are you happy?
If things aren’t looking so peachy right now, that’s okay. The whole point of this is to make a positive change spurred on by the fact that DAMN, life’s a bit shorter than you thought it was.
It’s a bit morbid, but it’s an excellent motivator.
…and then make some motherfudging plans
‘Where do you want to be in five years’ time?’ is a cliché for a reason. It’s a damn good question. Make the length of time shorter – give it some urgency. What do you want to have done by the end of this year? What’s something you can do this month that would make a difference to your life, or help you achieve that goal? Alright, now baby steps. Can you start this week?
Get excited! Make plans and get on your way to doing something you’ve always saved for ‘some day’.
If this all sounds a bit much (because, quite frankly, I’m still a bit shit scared myself), that’s okay too.
Life’s a funny and scary thing and a lot of us have an awful habit of not making the most of things when we really ought to.
I still look forward to Fridays (HEY, LIE INS). But I like Wednesday nights too, because that’s when I spend my time writing. I like Thursday lunchtimes, when I have my regular ranting session with my friend at work. I schedule catch-ups throughout the week as often as I can, because it’s nice to have something to look forward to that doesn’t depend on not having to work the next day.
They’re all small things, of course. That’s okay.
What isn’t okay is spending your precious time being unhappy. It’s unlikely a solution will fall in your lap – and you owe yourself more than that.