Many people eagerly anticipate Friday afternoon as the beginning of a couple of days of freedom from the demands of everyday life, only to end up on Sunday night feeling disappointed and dejected that they didn't achieve all they had wanted to.
With my return back to an office environment after nine years of flexible work hours, I've had to re think my weekends to ensure they are fulfilling and satisfying. Here are some thoughts which work for me:
- Make a Plan - The biggest difference between a successful weekend and an unsuccessful weekend is a plan. I've found without a plan I am busy but don't achieve the things that are important to me. The weekend meanders along and is filled with the demands particularly of my children and by Monday morning I look back in wonder at the past 60 hours wondering where the time went.
- Minimise House Chores - I don't find housework and chores particularly rewarding and have very happily employed a cleaner. Friday is a much anticipated day for many reasons and one of those is coming home to a tidy and clean house that I haven't laboured over. Employing a cleaner is not a financial decision but is a lifestyle decision which has freed me up to focus on other things which provide far more enjoyment.
- Spend Time with Friends and Family - Everyone is busy and if I wish to maintain friendships with people who nourish me and who I hopefully also build up, then I need to ensure I plan to spend time with them. My favourite way of catching up with friends is to share a meal. I check the calendar two months ahead and make sure that I have planned to have a meal with a group of friends or family every weekend. I've read that some people enjoy a couple of catch ups each weekend. For me, once every weekend is a good balance.
- Start Saturday Right - Saturday morning has such a feeling of promise. The anticipation of an entire day to do what I want. My favourite way of starting the day is with a run with my family. We enjoy the organised ParkRun at South Bank. Check out parkrun.com.au as they conduct many runs around Australia. If I've managed to fit in a run, spend quality time with my family and enjoyed a cappuccino all before 8am it has been a wonderful start to the day.
- Do Something for Me - Usually this will be reading a book, watching a movie or baking. These are my most favourite hobbies so I like to indulge at least for a few hours on the weekend doing something I enjoy just for me.
- Plan for the Week Ahead - My workday week works much better when I've used the weekend to get organised. I am the queen of whipping up meals from the pantry but there comes the point when even I have to go grocery shopping. Making a meal plan for the week ahead including school lunches is a must for a smooth week. I also ensure by Sunday night the children have their school uniforms ironed and hanging in their cupboards for the week ahead. Many time management books suggest lots of other things to do. I've tried some and have found just meal planning and ironing of school uniforms is enough for me. Anything else added is just adding unnecessary work.
Every person is unique and with some thought will determine what works best for them. For some the weekend is most enjoyable by going away, being more active or catching up with friends and family as much as possible. One consistent feature though is the need to give some conscious thought to what makes you happier and then plan to make that happen.
For some further reading you may like to check out Laura Vanderkam's book, What the Most Successful People do on The Weekend.