Summer Fridays

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From the CBS website:

"A few years ago, about 20 percent of companies offered their staff Summer Fridays, where employees would work a little later on Monday through Thursday before taking a three-day weekend.

Now, more than 40 percent of companies offer this summer perk. And it's not just out of the goodness of their hearts. Companies find that the gift of time and an improved work/life balance builds loyalty and makes employees more committed to their organization.

Conor Knighton reports on how some workers are spending their Summer Fridays far from work."

Watch the video

I watched this piece and immediately thought about something else I learned about a few days ago. One of my Family Photojournalism clients told me in the pre-session questionnaire that her family practices Shabbat (shuh-bot). When she explained to me what Shabbat is, I thought it was brilliant and I knew I had to start practicing it myself.

What is Shabbat?

The simple explanation is Shabbat is family and friends fellowshipping time for some specified block of time each week. From what I understand, it can be 24 hours starting Friday evening, or it can be longer. Depending on the practitioner, Shabbat can mean no electronic devices. I can see myself very happily checking out of phone calls, texts, the Internet, and everything else for 24 hours each week. I'm really just at the beginning of learning about Shabbat, so please forgive me for whatever I've left out or misinterpreted. 

I'm pretty sure I got the gist of Shabbat, though. It's time you allocate each and every week to spending time with the people who are what make life meaningful to you. Working to take care of your family is pointless if you have no relationship with your family because you're always working. It's way too easy for us to fall into a cycle of a hectic schedule that leaves no time to spend enjoying your friends and family.

Cycling Towards Regrets

That cycle is a tried and true method of ending up with lots of regrets down the road. Shabbat ensures that quality time is part of your weekly cycle and I love it. I absolutely love this concept. It's no different than time-blocking anything else that is important enough that you block out time on your calendar to make sure it gets done. 

Adopting Shabbat

As soon as I found out about it, I knew I was adopting Shabbat. But I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. As a family portrait photographer, specializing in Family Photojournalism, my work days are Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. So I can't practice Shabbat during traditional Shabbat hours. And there's no sense practicing Shabbat on a Tuesday when no one will be able to join me. The point is to spend quality time with people who mean something to you. 

I think I can make something work by combining Shabbat and Summer Fridays, though. I can practice Shabbat from Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon. I just have to find family and friends whose schedules align with that. Where there's a will, there's a way. 

Shabbat and Summer Fridays for Entrepreneurs

Another thing I thought about when I saw the Summer Fridays piece is that this is something that entrepreneurs should be giving themselves. It's pretty much the status quo that anyone trying to get a business off the ground works 24/7. We really don't have limits on our work days or working hours and that causes all kinds of problems. The list of things that must be done is still going to be there, whether we take Fridays off or not. 

I have to start blocking time each week to smell the roses. The only reason I saw the Summer Fridays piece is because CBS Sunday Morning is a protected time block on my calendar. I watch it every single week. In each episode, I learn something interesting and I just enjoy the show because it's a perfect Sunday morning show for me. They have the feel of the show just right. Most weeks, it's the only time I turn on the television the whole week. 

So I'm no stranger to the benefits of time-blocking. I just need to leverage it more. Life is too short not to.

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