When it comes to how humans view time, we turn out to have multiple personalities: the anticipating self, the experiencing self, and the remembering self. In What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend (my new ebook, for readers arriving today), I argue that the experiencing self should not be given more weight than she deserves. We sometimes don’t do things on weekends because they take work to plan, or require more effort to make happen than simply turning on the TV. But the present is fleeting. Eventually the remembering self takes over. And she is happier to have done things than not to have done things, even if the experience itself wasn’t entirely blissful (which, let’s face it, life seldom is).
My family spent the last 10 days on the road. We drove 10 hours out to Indiana and Ohio to see both sides of the clan, with many jaunts between houses during that time. Traveling that much with small children is not easy on the experiencing self. The snow started up in earnest after our first few days; we got stuck on I-65 behind a wreck for 2.5 hours in a blizzard. A 150-mile journey took 6 hours. We drove home on New Year’s eve and celebrated a bit by letting the boys wave glow sticks in the back seat; my 5-year-old randomly decided to bite the glow stick, which then leaked all into his mouth, necessitating a pull-over on the highway as we frantically read the label to figure out if we needed to find an ER. It turned out to be non-toxic, if irritating. We did some rinsing and spitting in front of a very surprised truck driver using that same pull-off for a nap.
So, the experiencing self is a bit done with travel for a while. Nonetheless, the remembering self knows that happy childhood memories often revolve around playing with cousins and having sleepovers with them and visiting grandma’s house. The remembering self deserves some consideration in this equation too, even if the experiencing self wants to cry pulling into a Wendy’s parking lot as all three children are screaming and she’s still 3.5 hours from home.
That’s not to say there weren’t some happy times too. We had lots of great meals with family, some beautiful Christmas services, lots of presents and trips to two museums. What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend came out on the 31st, and simultaneously, my previous ebook, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, was named to a few “best of” lists for 2012. This gave both books a boost, and for a while I had two books in the top 2000 on Kindle, including the number one and number two time management ebooks. Fun! Here’s hoping that some more publicity over the next week will cause another bump.
Some awesome reviews definitely made me have a great (long) weekend:
- House of Peanut highlights my point that doing “nothing” on the weekend really amounts to doing “meaningless somethings.” She also graciously praises the prose. As Anandi writes, “When I read particularly good fiction, I often highlight quotes that I love. I don’t expect to do this with a non-fiction book, so I was totally caught by surprise reading the last chapter. Rather than giving more concrete tips and suggestions, it focuses on the fact that our weekends are finite, our children are only little once, and how holidays should be filled with memory-making activities.” Exactly.
- Sage Grayson had some initial resistance. “When I heard she was now tackling our weekends, I admit I was a little skeptical. I mean, come on! This is the weekend we’re talking about. Two full days to lie around, sleep in late, watch bad reality TV, blow off our chores and diets, and never get out of our pajamas. How can weekends be productive? Isn’t this our downtime?” But “Once I got over my initial aversion to revamping my weekend, I realized that Laura’s not talking about filling every second of Saturday and Sunday with busy-ness.” It’s simply about enjoying the time more.
- Laura Stack, also known as The Productivity Pro, writes a lovely review, and points out that we all have the exact same amount of time. “The super-busy can maintain their hard-driving lifestyle week after week only because they deliberately take time off on the weekends,” she says. “They look forward to this time and jealously guard it as a refuge from their hectic work lives. You should do the same.”
- Catherine Gillespie of A Spirited Mind recommends the book, writing that “The book does a great job of profiling busy people who make times for a restorative weekend, discussing relevant research, and offering practical suggestions for how to make sure your weekends leave you ready for Monday morning. I especially liked her suggestions for how to avoid the ‘three common causes of weekend stress: chores, children’s activities, and work that follows you home.'”
A few other links:
KJ Dell’Antonia includes me in her NY Times Motherlode 12 New Year’s Resolutions for Happier Families.
I suggest 3 Reasons to Nix the New Year’s Resolutions over at CBS MoneyWatch (and I interview David Allen, aka the GTD guy, on why he doesn’t make resolutions).
At Women&Co I have a piece up called “Do You Have an Emergency Fund? 7 Steps to Make it Happen.” I personally cannot imagine life without an emergency fund. I made a point of building one up even when I was earning very, very little. But I’m temperamentally a saver, and have learned over time that this isn’t a universal personality characteristic. Indeed, roughly half of Americans have less than 3 months worth of expenses stashed away. If you’re in that half, here are some steps to make 2013 the year you start putting money in the bank and keeping it there.
What will you remember most from this holiday break? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? I’m aiming to run 1000 miles this year. I’m 4 in, so I have 996 to go…