When You Work Until Candle Lighting Time – Getting It All Done on a Short Friday


Tis the season… of super short Fridays!

I remember the days when I’d arrive at daycare straight from work with 45 minutes to spare until Shabbos began.  I think it was one of those cases where I was so busy, I had to be super organized.  We never had fresh food- everything was cooked the night before and heated up in the microwave as soon as I got home.  The table was never set before Shabbos started and I was lucky if I even had time to change my clothes.

Now that I work from home on Friday not much has changed.  I save on commute time, but I’m now able to work up until the minute I have to light candles.  The table is still not set, I’m not usually dressed, and I still heat up my Shabbos food in the microwave.  The one huge difference is that we have fresh chicken.  I prepare it on Thursday night and since I’m home on Fridays I can take half a minute to pop it in the oven and set a timer.

So, how do I make sure everything’s done by the time Shabbos begins?  Read on- maybe some of these ideas can help you!

Erev Shabbos Checklist

The first thing I do to make sure Fridays aren’t more crazy than they have to be is write everything down.  And by everything I mean everything.  I have two kind of checklists- the one I use every Friday and the menu- basically a list of stuff I have to cook/prepare before each Shabbos.  The menu changes from week to week, but the other list stays the same.

This is what my Friday checklist looks like:


I keep it as a note on Google Keep and check/un-check the items every week.  Everyone’s list will differ, but these are the things I need reminders for.  Like taking the stroller out of the car, taking the laundry out of the dryer and filling up a water pitcher, since we can’t use our water filter on Shabbos.  These are also the things that I forgot to do so many weeks in a row that I finally made an official, written list.

Food Prep

I’m a huge fan of freezer cooking, but I don’t always have time for it.  Here are some other suggestions:

  • Prepare and cook all food on Wednesday/Thursday night
  • Buy takeout
  • Go away for Shabbos
  • Only make easy, one-step recipes
  • Use your crock-pot for Friday night too
  • Simplify your menu
  • Set a timer on your oven to start pre-heating before you get home
  • Keep extras in your freezer/pantry in case you can’t do last minute shopping (ex: challah rolls, raw chicken, rice etc…)
  • Heat up your food in the microwave- it’s faster than the oven!


  • Lower your expectations
  • Close your eyes and wish the mess away
  • Hire a cleaning lady

(cleaning is not my forte, so this is all I got in this section.  I only do the first two… sometimes only the first one if I’m really tired.)

Time Management

  • Wake up an hour early/go to bed an hour late
  • Shower in the morning or even the night before if your mornings are rushed
  • Make an Erev Shabbos checklist for your kids and have them help
  • Don’t save everything for Friday!  For example, I now set up my candles right after Shabbos is over.  Now it’s one less thing we have to do in the pre-Shabbos rush.  Not everything has to wait until the last minute!

 My Last Piece of Advice

Remember the beauty of Shabbos.  It’s not about what you did or didn’t do.  It’s a special time for you to connect to Hashem, spend time with your family and not think about work.  Enjoy every minute of it!

How do you keep it all together on these short Fridays? 

Until next time,