It’s one of the great dilemmas of time management. If you spend a lot of hours working during the week — particularly if that work requires you to be away from home — then weekends seem like a great time to get caught up on personal to-dos. The problem is that too many personal to-dos can make weekends feel as task-driven as the rest of the week. You’re thinking so much about what you need to do that you don’t actually enjoy yourself.
My solution for this is to have a running list of personal to-dos. These are the beyond-life-maintenance things that should happen, but don’t generally have to happen right this minute. Things on this list recently have included buying 2T princess underwear (motivational for a potty-training little girl), using a gift certificate I got for my birthday, and signing the kids up for camp.
Whenever possible, I try to do these during the week. Princess underwear can be purchased from Amazon in 10 minutes between calls. If things don’t have to happen on weekends, I’d prefer they didn’t.
But some things are so tedious or complicated that they really require some weekend time. Signing the kids up for camp was one of those things, because it required me to plan out the summer — nailing down vacation weeks, figuring out which camps they would go to, plus registering.
I was not looking forward to this, but I sweetened the deal by assigning myself very few other projects this past weekend. I needed to register the kids for camp, set up the keyboard stand (we’d already ordered it, but it was sitting in the box), and dye my hair (a time and money saving proposition!). That’s it. I did wind up signing the lease for a beach rental for part of August, but that was somewhat related to the camp thing (i.e. planning the summer).
There are all kinds of other things I could have done. I should vacuum out my car at some point. My office is kind of a mess. I need to hang the beautiful historic map my husband bought me for my birthday. There are people I’d like to get together with that I haven’t contacted. I set up the keyboard but I haven’t gotten around to signing my kid up for piano lessons yet. But as of Sunday night when I’m wrote the first draft of this post, I’d done my assigned to-dos, and that was good enough. Because I also wanted to use my weekend for other things: recreational outlet mall shopping with my 2-year-old, running outside in the balmy 40-degree weather (much better than 4 degrees), reading To The Lighthouse, and watching the Super Bowl. If you take on too much, the weekend disappears. Take on just a few things, and they get done.
How do you keep to-dos from taking over your weekends?
In other news: We had quite the ice storm yesterday, and lost several branches in the yard, including a large one from my lovely magnolia tree–and some other flowering ones. I’m mourning that. We lost power for 2.5 hours last night and were settling in to a cold night when the power flickered back on. Phew. The kids are home from school and are already going stir crazy. It would have been worse with no heat and power.
The snowy trees are beautiful though — thick snow weighing down the evergreen branches like dollops of whipped cream.