Last November, my family reclaimed our weekends. When my husband resigned his position at the church to accept a new job, suddenly weekends could hold–for the first time in six years–leisure and family time instead of long workdays.
To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. These “regular” weekends are new to us, and precious. Now that we have our weekends back, we don’t want to let them slip through our fingers: we want to be intentional about using them well.
Since the fall, my husband and I have spent a lot of time thinking this over, relying on Laura Vanderkam’s ebook What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off as a guide and conversation starter.
Here’s what we’ve come up with so far:
1. We’re planning anchor events.
Laura says, “A good weekend needs a plan. Not a minute-by-minute plan, not a spreadsheet full of details, but just a few fun anchor events sketched in ahead of time.” I firmly agree. I’m always more satisfied with my weekends when I plan the “big rocks” in advance. Besides, logistics drain my energy, and I’d much rather get the planning bit out of the way before the weekend really gets going.
We’ve been choosing 4-5 anchor events for each weekend: things we want to do, not things we have to do. Some of these repeat each week, like dinner with my parents and church. Sometimes we’ll plan family excursions or dates for just the two of us; we also plan ahead for low-key activities like game night or popcorn and a movie.
Planning ahead has another benefit: we get to look forward to fun weekend events all week, and anticipation is a known happiness booster.
2. We’re involving the kids.
The kids are just as excited to have our weekends back as we are! We’ve been intentional about including them in the planning process. When they toss out ideas for fun excursions during the week, we ask them if they want to put it on the weekend calendar. We also encourage them to keep a list of things they’d like to do.
We’ve also been brainstorming happy family traditions, like big Saturday breakfasts or Friday game night, but we’re still playing around with that one.
3. We’re minimizing chores.
It’s easy for chores to expand to fill the available time, especially on the weekends when more time is (seemingly) available. We’ve been very deliberate about not letting the have-to-dos take over our weekends.
Right now, we usually spend 30 minutes on laundry right after Saturday breakfast, and that’s it for the weekend. Cooking is the other big “chore:” we both love to cook, but 3 meals a day for 6 people (and worse, the clean-up) isn’t what I call “fun.” We plan ahead so we have leftovers and easy meals for these days.
4. We’re backing away from our gadgets.
In her book, Laura points out the paradox of weekends: “You have to set an appointment to go off the grid as surely as to go on it.”
Convinced of the benefits of a “tech Sabbath,” we’ve been setting those appointments: we’ve been stashing our phones and closing our laptops–not all weekend, but for hours at a time.
I’ve found this habit is tough to make but easy to keep. At first it was hard to make myself leave my phone in my bedroom, but I’m getting used to it–and enjoying the freedom from distraction.
Finding the right rhythm
We’re still learning what works for us and what doesn’t, but I think we’re on the right track.
How do you approach your weekends? Any tips for getting the most out of them?
This post contains my affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Modern Mrs Darcy!