“What are you doing this weekend?”
Don’t know yet?
If you’re like me, your answer runs the gamut of shouting, “Nothing! I need to chill!” to having a full-on list of everything that got neglected during your busy workweek.
Because let’s face it, you’re killing it during the workweek, boasting no shortage of lists, bullet journals, and meetings; check it off, and boom, boom, boom, you’re a master of productivity.
And then comes the weekend – your family, friends, pets, home, body – and every other area is screaming for attention. You see it all week long and so starts the mental list, I’ll do ALL THE THINGS this weekend!
I’ve had some weekends where I’m so drained that I start off relaxing and resting, and next thing I know it’s Sunday night and I’m watching Madame Secretary with a glass of wine ready to pass out by 10pm (or sooner!).
So starts the guilt, the rearranging of tasks and pushing them to next week (bullet journalists have a sneaky way of migrating tasks from one day to the next without any sign of completion), followed by the disgust of laundry still yet to be folded, and of course the familiar lamenting over not even making it to a single yoga class.
In my efforts to either rest or accomplish, I have spent too many weekends wanting to rest or work, get things done or not – only to wish it had gone exactly the other way.
There’s hope. With just a tiny bit of planning, I have found that I can take control of my weekend and land on Sunday night accepting how things went, because I designed my weekend ahead of time.
Here are 3 easy (I promise) ways to take control and love your weekends!
1. Plan a little bit – with an emphasis on a little bit. Skip the bullet journal, Google calendar, or anything else that feels like work. I love a clean 8.5 x 11 lined notepad and a blue pen (I use black at work to bullet journal). I sit in a place that I don’t work much – kitchen counter, outdoors, or at the neighborhood brewery.
And then I start my list with a flowy title like: Things I want to do. Sometimes I even just title it Stuff, or Things I think I need to do.
And then I let it all pour out from my week. And I leave nothing out! A few weeks ago, I even included Watch Grammy’s Live so that time would be blocked out and doing something I love felt like an accomplishment! See?
On a particularly exhausting week, I think nothing of putting “Couch time” or “Catch up on Episodes of I’m Sorry” (just kidding, I’m never behind on that one).
Bath. Nails. Work on projections. Clean up inbox. Call mom. Unpack wine boxes (yes, that’s a thing). Pack for trip. Clean out bathroom drawer. Work on a presentation. Write a blog. Take a long walk. Buy boots. Review financials. Watch a movie.
This step is simply about offloading the things from your brain onto a clean piece of paper. This shouldn’t take longer than 15 -20 minutes tops. Don’t go digging for things that aren’t right there.
Power tip: if things come to mind that are strictly work-related and you don’t want to do on your weekend, I put them down anyway – and then migrate them on Sunday night or Monday morning to my journal.
2. Check in with yourself and your housemate(s) – unless you live alone, others are affected by your weekend choices, so it’s kind to check in and see what someone else has in mind.
But checking in with yourself by looking at what was in your head, now on paper, is key. If everything you see makes you exhausted, then it’s time to cross things off that aren’t critical and put in more down time. If you’re gritting your teeth by the end, that’s a good sign you’re over-shooting.
You can do a quick reality and practicality check here, such as labeling items as follows: don’t really need to do that; this MUST happen (packing for a trip); let’s do the boot shopping together and add lunch, or I can call mom while I take a bath.
Either way, at the end of filtering, crossing off, and combining, you can check in and should be excited for what’s ahead. Last resort, you may just be too tired, and start with a solid rest, sleep in and try again the next day.
3. Time blocks – yes, I said it. It’s a workweek hack that fixes most lost weekends. I like to use big chunks of time – morning, afternoon, evening – so I’m not drilling down to the hours like I would at work. But this saves the weekend from slipping away with nothing but guilt or frustration at the end.
One recent weekend, my husband and I needed to do some budgeting for a work project. He wanted to push it off to Sunday, and I thought if we didn’t get it done Saturday, it could just slip away. He wanted to garden and exercise instead.
We agreed to meet up for lunch and beers Saturday at 1:30 and use up the late afternoon block for the project. That meant we both got to do whatever we wanted for the entire morning, including having time for our regular walk and coffee shop. He got to garden for four hours and I had the house to myself for puttering and a little computer work.
If we hadn’t set that time aside, we would have both lingered too long at the other things, let the afternoon slip away and feel the pressure coming of the work we needed to get done but didn’t plan for.
Rather than dread it, my mind was clear knowing we would get it done. We kicked it out, I got to yoga class afterwards, and we still had the evening to relax.
Winning on weekends isn’t about getting the most done. It’s about tuning in, getting done what will bring you into the week with a clear mind, and taking control no matter what that means this weekend. Whether a lot of rest, connecting with friends or kicking out some work is what you need, the power is in you to make conscious choices, eliminating the guilt and heading into your week ready to go.
Let me know what you think and how you are winning at weekends! They are incredibly key to your success Monday through Friday and peace of mind every day.