As I draft this post, it’s 4 p.m. on a Friday in my office. There’s no one here. I’m the only one in my suite of offices, classes are largely finished for the day, and even the grad students have cleared the decks for the weekend or for another day. I like the space and the cerebral quiet. It gives me time to clean up my digital to-do list, begin making a new one for next week, and gives me the time, space, and permission to leave when it’s all done. It gives me time to clear out my feedly feed, chuckle at buzzfeed for a few moments, and then answer any emails that have lingered in my inbox unanswered over the past day or two. It also causes me a great pause to reflect on the week that has finished, celebrate my personal “wins” (submission deadlines and thoughtful reflection from students) and “better luck next time’s” (writing and efficiency).
I used to clear out of the office on Friday afternoons too, but I’ve started to stick around. My circadian clock hates late afternoon, but on Friday’s, I like to stay. To mentally and physically clean things up. File, recycle, save for next week. Review my work notebook and evernote to see what’s still on deck for next week. I like the routine. I like the hum of the silence. Even the occasional door opening makes a louder noise on Friday’s since there’s no voices to buffer, no student hum between classes, no laughter or chatter about the last test, question set, or doors banging between classes. Faculty will sometimes have their young children in on Friday afternoons after school gets out. Another hour or so before they head home, the shrill giggles of young children and requests for “mama” are more audible.
Friday afternoon’s are my academic golden hour.