When I was in my twenties, I used to say that December was “the Friday of Months.” The connotation at that time was that it was a month full of parties and festivity. It was the least productive of months. My friends and I embraced the celebratory nature of the season.

Older now, that same phrase brings with it a different meaning. Fridays and by extension December are now when you reflect back on all that you haven’t gotten done and all that you have to do. So you stressfully scurry about trying to complete as many tasks so you can finally enjoy maybe the last few days of the month.

So with that framing, how will you approach this December? Will you let go and lean into the festive season or will it be a mad dash to the end of the year filled with stress?

I’ve never been one for “to do lists” but do keep a list of opportunities that I want to get to each month. Like most lists, there are many things that carry over from month to month – reminders of failures or missed opportunities.

In the spirit of this note, I just went through my December list and deleted everything that wasn’t either essential or inspiring to me. The list was cut by 90%. What a relief!

Speaking of reductions, I listened to this podcast earlier this week that featured the economist Bryce Ward discussing the American Time Use Survey that looks at how we, on average, spend our time. Since 2014, we’ve cut the time we spend with our friends in half – to less than three hours a week. During the same period we’ve increased the time we spend alone by ten hours a week – most of which is sitting in front of a screen. This trend is true for almost any age and demographic. Ouch.

December marks the giving season. So start by giving yourself a break and dramatically cut your list of “to dos.” Or give a friend a call and make plans to get together. Better yet do both.

Let’s raise a glass to the “Friday of Months” and give the present of lowered expectations and increased presence in each others lives.

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