“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” (Arnold Toynbee)
Today is Friday. In recent weeks at work I have been using the phrase “Friday Funday”, with myself and my team. I started it out as a bit of a joke, a way to lighten the spirit of my team room. As you can imagine, it was initially met with some skepticism, but now others around me are catching on, and it is becoming more of a fun day.
The project I am on is international. We have people working in the US (Eastern time zone), Mexico City, Shanghai, Chennai, London, and Cologne. Since the team grew to this geographic footprint I have said that the project never sleeps during the week. When viewed from my office’s clock, from about 7:00pm Sunday until about 8:00pm on Friday, there is always someone working on my project. And with people so widely dispersed, there are a lot of conference calls and other meetings to attend. We set a guideline 2 years ago that there should not be any project-related meetings on Fridays. This allows people to have more flexible schedules, and also to have a day to get in some valuable desk time to catch up.
As a result of our meeting guideline, Friday in my office can be both a blessing and a curse. While we tend not to have meetings, we usually have some work that has piled up which needs to be completed by the start of the new week.
When I arrive on Friday Funday, I start by pulling out a small notepad and making a list of things I want to accomplish. Some of them are leftovers from earlier in the week, and some are part of my long-term vision that I haven’t yet progressed. As I work my way through the list, I use a sharpie marker to boldly cross items out. Sometimes I make a big deal about it, in a humorous way.
At first when I started doing this, my coworkers thought I was nuts. As I was taking a moment to celebrate small accomplishments, they were eying me and wondering if maybe the cheese had slipped off my cracker. Over time, though, they have caught on that Friday should be a time to have a bit more fun, while getting a large pile of work off our desks.
As I read today’s quote, I think about Friday Funday. I am not sure this is what Arnold Toynbee had in mind when he penned the quote. I am sure he intended this be along the lines of the adage that if you find a job you really love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I am not sure that being a project manager will ever be that kind of job. I don’t know any little girls or boys who dream of one day making GANTT charts, and managing the budget. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy ourselves at work.
To have balance in life, and happiness at work, there has to be a more blurry line between the two. I cannot hang up my life like a coat on the hook when I get to my desk, nor can I completely ignore my job as soon as I hit the door at the end of the day. The two are tied to one another tightly. I am not one to work from home on evenings and weekends, but that doesn’t mean that my job and my project aren’t always on my mind.
Friday Funday is a somewhat lame attempt to add a bit of humor to an otherwise mundane day. It works for me because it feeds my need to check things off my list, and also because it is fun to do. Today I am going to work to blur the line a bit more when I get to my office. I am going to try to make this a truly fun Friday Funday!