I have been thinking about how I use my weekends as I study how other people use theirs (for my next ebook in the series “What the most successful people do…”). My general sense is that it helps to have a few anchor events for a weekend. This gives you something to look forward to. It also means you don’t have to do the work of planning your weekend on the weekend. I’m a planner, and having kids has made me more of one — it’s really hard to get a sitter for Saturday night on Saturday! But even if you don’t have kids, there’s something to be said for not having to call for reservations, tickets, etc. on Saturday morning (plus a lot of the good stuff books up).
I hear two main objections to planning weekends ahead of time. One is that “I don’t want to have to do anything.” I think this is a misunderstanding of what I’m talking about. The plans shouldn’t be things like “take the car to get repaired.” Yeah, you might have to do that, but that’s not a weekend anchor event. I mean things like brunch at a restaurant you like, bike riding on a trail you think is beautiful, or tickets to a team you follow. You wouldn’t say “geez, I have to go see the Phillies this weekend” if you were a fan. That’s what I mean by planning things. And second, there’s the objection that people don’t like filling the weekend up. But I’m talking 3-5 things. If they each took 3 hours on average, that’s 9-15 hours. There are 60 hours between that first beer at 6 p.m. Friday and the 6 a.m. alarm on Monday. If you sleep for 24 of those hours, that leaves 36 for other things. Subtracting 9-15 hours of planned stuff leaves 21-27 hours for lounging about or anything else that comes up. That’s still plenty of time.
So what did I do this weekend? I had some things planned: I was on CNN with Randi Kaye around 6:40 on Saturday, which necessitated an early bedtime and an early wake-up. On Sunday, we had my husband’s office picnic, which I knew would be fun (there are a lot of young offspring; events are planned with that in mind). I also planned to do a long-ish run, as I’m training for the Philadelphia half-marathon in November.
We didn’t do perfectly with the planning, though. We knew we wanted to take a fun family excursion on Saturday somewhere, but we hadn’t been able to decide on what we wanted to do. The beach was an option. But the weather didn’t look promising. My husband stayed up kind of late on Friday, and one thing he looked into was fairs. We’ve had a lot of fun at various fairs around Pennsylvania this summer. The kids love the rides, and there’s often a deal (like pay $10 per person and you can do unlimited rides for 5 hours). So we wound up going to the Elizabethtown (“E-town”) fair, and let the kids exhaust themselves on the kiddie amusements. We left just as it started to rain in the late afternoon. It was all good — but there was some stress of deciding what to do Saturday morning. The danger is that you’ll run out of energy and not do anything when you don’t have a plan — always an option when you wake up at 5:15 a.m.
Actually, being up at 5:15 a.m. on Saturday was kind of cool. CNN sent a car service, and it was fun to ride through downtown Philly just as the sun was coming up, painting the city in a pink and orange glow. It reminded me of why I like getting up early when I actually manage to do so.
But also fun? A nap on Sunday morning. Ruth slept in until 7, which was great enough, but then after I took the first shift (to 8:20), my husband was on for the next hour. They let me sleep until 10 with one interruption (Jasper coming in to announce that they’d spotted a praying mantis eating a bug in the backyard — which actually does sound pretty cool).
What did you do this weekend? What was planned and what was spontaneous?
Photo booth shots of me and the baby, taken this weekend