How does weekend planning work? (More on Tranquility by Tuesday Rule #2: Plan on Fridays)

This week in the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge we’re looking at Rule #2: Plan on Fridays. Taking some time on Friday to look through the upcoming week — both professionally and personally — allows for a much more tranquil approach to life. Holistic planning (deciding priorities for career, relationships, and self) also tends to make life more fun!

One of the most common questions I get about Friday planning is how that translates into weekend planning. (I realize some folks might stop reading right there, but yes, I think weekends benefit from planning — not setting stuff every 30 minutes like you would with work, but having some intentions. And just as a practical matter, I have five kids, so weekends tend to have just as much stuff going on as weekdays do. Planning means I get to have some fun alongside the shuttling and errands!)

There are lots of approaches that can work. But with my approach, weekends get planned twice: once more broadly, once on a more granular level.

My basic Friday planning looks primarily at the upcoming Monday to Sunday week. Since I’m thinking of career, relationship, and personal priorities for the upcoming week, many of those will wind up happening over the weekend. My time logs run Monday-Sunday, so that is the unit I tend to plan in. So I’m creating a rough set of intentions and timing for the weekend that is 8-9 days away.

That said, some details are still fuzzy at that point and stuff will come up (most other parents are not asking for playdates 8-9 days in advance, for instance). And so the weekend plan will be revisited later in the week, when I do my Friday planning again. I take a few minutes to look at the immediately upcoming weekend and finalize logistics.

I realize that might sound inefficient — why plan twice? But having broad intentions, and having anything big scheduled allows me to be more strategic about fitting in other things. If we’ve decided to go on a family bike ride somewhere on Saturday afternoon, I know that if a kid wants a playdate we should choose a different time…rather than offering a Saturday afternoon time and then not being able to do anything other than scheduled kid activities.

How do you plan your weekends?

In other news: If you’re doing the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge, last Friday’s email had a link to my Zoom office hours.

9 thoughts on “How does weekend planning work? (More on Tranquility by Tuesday Rule #2: Plan on Fridays)

  1. I do a personal weekly review on Fridays and then my husband and I do our family weekly planning sessions on Friday evenings. We do exactly the same as you for weekends – on Friday we confirm what we are doing for Saturday and Sunday and then start rough planning the next weekend. When it comes to planning playdates I usually put a note for myself to text people the following Monday/Tuesday to arrange something – I’ve realize I look far too keen texting on Friday for a playdate the following Saturday.

    It does mean that we don’t end up with surprise empty weekends… or surprise over-full ones.

    1. @Rachel – ha, yes, texting about a Saturday playdate for the Saturday 8 days hence does seem a bit…excited! I also make sure it’s only week of…

  2. We’re a travel baseball family with our son playing for a new program this year. It has lots of benefits (they invited him to showcase for Mets scouts last Saturday) but basically we have to be available for him to play every weekend once the season starts next month. We’ve always had him play on teams where we got an every other weekend schedule months in advance so this is a little daunting from a planning perspective. Apparently we’ll be notified on Tuesdays if he’s playing on the weekend and baseball tournaments usually release Saturday schedules on Wednesdays- Sunday just depends on scores Saturday. Any tips so I don’t loose my mind this season? We already have a few non-negotiable weekends (Greek Easter, a 90th birthday party) but I hate not being able to plan that week or so in advance. Ideas?

    1. @Calee – pretty sweet to play for the Mets scouts! Yep, that would be an intense schedule. I am not sure if the parents come along for the travel games or not, but I imagine so, and so if you’re trying to make sure some of the family does non baseball stuff over the weekend, you could assign each parent baseball duty for a weekend. The other parent could then make their own plans (with the other kid as needed/desired) and know that if there isn’t a game or if it’s local and early or something the other family members will join you or do something else. And then if you are the baseball parent that weekend you plan on doing the game, but have some back-up stuff you could do on Sunday if they don’t win. And honestly, while I like planning on Friday for the weekend 8-9 days hence, if you learn on Tuesday that he isn’t playing, that would give you plenty of time to plan something for the weekend! And if he is playing, and you know the time on Wednesday and it’s something that allows for other things (e.g. a late game not too far away) that would still give you a few days to figure something out. Maybe make a list of potential things you’d like to do so you can just pull from that when the opportunity arises.

  3. I’m not a planner to the extent that you are, *but* aside from the advantages you mention, retooling the general plan a few days (at most) in advance (or just creating a plan a few days in advance, as the case may be) lets one factor in the weather. We exercise and socialize outside a lot and live in a place with pretty frequent variations (this week contains everything from a sunny day with highs in the 60s to 40s and raining to sunny and 30s) so trying to push activities into places where the weather improves rather than detracts from the experience has become a goal of mine. We also have just 1 kid and he plays only limited organized sports, so that helps with flexibility.

    1. @Alexicographer – absolutely on the weather factor. Sometimes what winds up happening is if I block, say, Saturday afternoon for a family activity, that becomes somewhat weather dependent. Aquarium if it’s sleeting, but maybe the zoo if it’s nice!

  4. I try to start thinking about the weekend awhile ahead, especially since this term, I get home on Friday nights late. If we waited till Saturday am, we’d never leave the house. We have two anchors – music on Saturday, swim on Sunday, and work around those. But it feels like a lot of our friends book up far in advance, so we will plan things for 3-4 weeks out and just put them in the calendar. I always find it a treat when I’ve forgotten that we were seeing so and so, and notice it the week before.

    My husband and son would happily spend the weekend at home, but I’d be climbing the walls, so we are careful to get outside and have at least one low key social thing.

    1. @Coree- that is fun to discover your past self planned something cool! I think the staying at home vs. going out thing partly changes with kid ages. If we have a sitter for the little guy (who takes him out) then it feels perfectly relaxing to just hang out at home. But if he is home, well, better to schedule an activity because we start climbing the walls too.

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