A quick tip on how to keep your weekend from being all work or all play.
Many people rush into work, whether it’s a out of the house or working at home. Whatever is yelling loudest gets done. Nerves are jangled before you even begin.
Since you are already behind you have no time to plan or get in a better head space before you start.
Mistakes happen. Tasks don’t get complete before dousing another fire. By the end of the day you are so tired because of all the emotional energy you needed to hold it all together.
Getting calm before starting work is a necessity. Taking just five minutes to breathe then pick out the few most important priorities leads to a different day.
Before I start planning the day, I prepare myself. For me that means I have prayed, taken a few deep breaths, have written down my gratitudes and my intentions to be and do for today.
For yesterday that looked like:
Thank You Lord, for a new day, that the rain washed away the snow, feeding the ducks, for getting me up this morning, for my home, for Jeff, Brea and Jon, for my health, for this city, for the printer, for time to dream and plan, for knowing we are all connected, for Melody’s Finding Your Way Home book.
I intend to replenish my energy. I intend to focus. I intend to be kind to myself.
Last week I wrote
Thank You for waking me up easily, for guiding me to a smoothie for breakfast, for a nice yoga stretch after some walking and weights.
Today I intend to be ethereally radiant, full of wonder, uncaged, inquisitively immersed and deeply connected.
Now that I am feeling good I can plan. I take a look at the calendar to see if there is anything I need to prepare for.
I look at yesterday’s task list and see if anything needs to be followed up on or moved to today.
I add anything I need to on today’s list. Then I highlight 2-5 things that are high priority.
Now I am ready to work. I do my top priority – right now it is writing my eBook. After I do that, I check email, adding things to my list and then start working on the other top items.
This takes very little time and makes a big impact on my energy, focus and ability to complete things. Try it and how it works for you.
Sometimes the kids or the spouse or the boss don’t tell you things until the last minute. They may not mean to. But often they just forget. One of my favorite questions to counter this is:
Is there anything I need to know for… (today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this project)?
When I pick my daughter up from someplace I usually ask if there is anything I need to know for tomorrow, so I know if she has last minute plans that require me to drive or her to bike.
At the beginning of the week, I find out what is on the schedule for the various people in my life so I can plan.
If you have a boss that waits until the last second, ask about projects coming up or what you need to know about the upcoming week. This gets them thinking ahead more often.
You can also use this question on yourself at the beginning of the week so you are thinking ahead.
Let me know how this works for you.
One working woman wonders how she can get her priorities done on the weekend with family and friends clamoring for her attention.
First, I want her to know how blessed she is with so many people in her life that love her.
But, it’s hard to get things done when you work and have this lovely group of people in your life.
Get things done during the week
One suggestion would be to get one extra thing done a day during the week. If everything waits until the weekend, it’s not going to get done. Most people I work with say they have no energy after work to do anything. That is usually because they are not giving themselves any breaks to de-stress and work out their emotions during the day so by the time they get home they are exhausted.
Many of our jobs are not physical, so it is not normally physical exhaustion but mental and emotional exhaustion. Sitting on the couch actually makes that worse. Getting yourself up to exercise or do physical chores like laundry can move that stress out of your body.
Doing one thing each evening that you usually save for the weekend, gives the weekend more free time. Monday can be mopping. Tuesday dusting. Wednesday vacuuming. Thursday errands. Friday paperwork and bills. Play around with a schedule and see what works for you.
Check with family and friends early
Often with kids and grandkids, they will just pop over or call at the last minute. Or you run into a friend at the grocery store and you make spontaneous plan. Those can be fun. But to be able to plan more for the weekend, you can ask your family or friends earlier in the week to see what plans they have. Say something like, "I may not be available at all times this weekend and I was wondering if or when you plan on visiting."
Make plans with friends for certain times on the weekend so you can plan out when to do your priorities. Or make plans with friends that include your priorities. You can exercise together, get together for brunch after church, run errands together, declutter (one weekend your house, the next hers), do something creative like scrapbooking or photography.
Watch sleeping in
I find when I sleep in on the weekend, I am more groggy. Plus I miss the morning which is when I am most productive. I have an 8am Zumba class on Saturday mornings so I make sure I am up. And church Sunday mornings where I sing in the choir so I can’t slack off. I probably wouldn’t get up early if I hadn’t built in this incentives.
If you are up early you can get things done before many people are even out of bed. Errands especially take less time.
Make a list
Weekends are usually less mapped out than the week. Which can be fine, unless you are frustrated that you haven’t done what you wanted at the end of the weekend.
Friday evening make a list of your priorities in categories. Then star the three or so that you want to get done most. Do those as early in the day and weekend as possible. Make a note of what has to be done, rather than what would be nice to get done. Then make sure you let yourself feel satisfied and good even if only those three get done. Often it’s not you don’t get much done, it’s the expectation that you should get an impossible amount done.
If friends or family visit, see if you can include them. Or do some work while they are there. Get the grandkids involved. I know I did quite a bit of raking and gardening at my grandparents.
If possible, get work and chores done on one day so the other day you can spend with social activities, spiritual replenishment and fun.
Plan for fun
Part of the fun, is anticipating. So instead of the same old get-togethers, plan a fun outing to the beach. Or plan a picnic. Or a play out with your husband. What lights you up and gives you energy? Plan at least one of those for the weekend. Then look forward to it during the work week.
But, don’t plan every moment. Have in your mind the top 3 from your list, your fun idea and maybe one or two social events. Then you can flow with what is happening the rest of the time.
Have downtime, but use that time for activities that really renew you. A walk in the woods or a good book is usually more renewing than watching TV or surfing the net. Using less technology on the weekends can give us respite from being always connected.
How about you, readers? Do you have any tips of getting things done on the weekends and still having fun?
I’ve talked about Setting Up before – for projects and wins.
Usually we aren’t setting up for ourselves. Usually we are cleaning up after ourselves. "Oh, I see we had snacks in the living room last night. I can tell by the wrappers." " I didn’t get to bed on time last night and now I am wiped out." "I didn’t put away that last project and now I don’t even know where to start."
What would it be like if you set yourself up.
This morning, I reaped the benefits of setting myself up. I had a video interview at 9 a.m. with Mohamed Tohami of Midway Simplicity. During my weekly planning I saw this was coming up and asked what I could set up ahead of time to make this easier.
So on my to do list the night before I typed in actions like set out clothes for interview, polish the piano that shows in the video, look over the link he sent over about the topic and check the video from my camera on Skype.
On my to do list this morning I had put in contacts, put on makeup, check teeth, turn off the phone and get into a good head space.
I also set out my Bible study materials the night before because I was leaving for church right after the video interview.
The interview went smoothly and I felt relaxed.
In my past, things would have gone differently. I would have waited till morning before checking the video feed and looking over the link. I may or may not have had time for good grooming first. Things would have been thrown off the piano right before video time. Forget about having any time to relax and focus before the interview. Then I would be coming to the interview anxious and worried I was forgetting something (like something stuck in my teeth.)
You are the person that gets to deal with things you left for the last minute, things you left out, things you bought at the spur of the moment. We like to think of that person in the future as someone else when we procrastinate or don’t plan. But, it’s still you.
And you are the person who can enjoy waking up to dishes having been done, a post it note on a project file so you know what is next, or a table that is set for breakfast.
Try that this week. Look over the week ahead to see things coming up and ask yourself, "How can I set this up to make it easier on myself?"
How has your life been simpler in 2011? Any changes you made to bring more simplicity into your life? Congratulate yourself on any of these changes.
How about for 2012? If you still feel life is too overwhelming and hectic take a few moments to answer these questions. They will help set you up for a simpler year ahead.
- What will you stop doing?
- What will you get rid of to bring in the new?
- What boundaries will you set?
- What projects will you drop, even for a little while?
- What simple habits will you incorporate, like the one in one out rule or having daily quiet time before anything else, or staying home at least 2 evenings a week?
Want more questions and worksheets for a simpler year? Check out the Simple Annual Plan.
A new client of mine is beginning a big project. So the first thing we did was set her up to make the project easier.
Do you have a project or goal you are doing or about to do? What would it mean to set yourself up to win?
- Get enough sleep
- Get a relative or babysitter to watch the kids
- Visualize the outcome before starting to go from, "this is too hard" to "this is what I want to see."
- Clear off your desk
- Create a project file
- Clean up a location
- Get a coach, buddy or support person for accountability
- Get any materials
- Block out time in your schedule
- Plan reviewing progress time
- Set up your environment to make your project easier
- Decide which of your strengths can help this project
- Be clear on what outcome you want
- Anticipate obstacles and come up with solutions to overcome
The easier you make a project on yourself, the more likely it will get to completion. Preparing helps you finish.
Photo by JayneandD
Many times when I talk to people they tell me they are busy and they don’t know how to stop. They have to take the kids here and here and here. Or work is keeping them overtime. Or they have to attend so many meetings.
The biggest difference I’ve noticed between the "too busy" and the "not too busy" is that for the too busy it’s always someone or something else causing the problem.
"Too busy" is the kind of people that makes you exhausted, irritable and like you are missing meaning. Some people can be rushing around like whirlwinds, but they are feeling fulfilled in their lives and energetic. Too busy will seem much different from one person to the next.
In order to become less busy, you need to be self-directed. You can decide how many activities the kids can be in if you are the one driving. You can decide whether you want to join the PTA or not. You get to decide to be more productive during work time so you don’t have to stay late.
You can make your priorities, true priorities. You can make sure you exercise, connect with someone and have quiet time before you watch TV, go to a game or surf the internet.
Trust me, I realize sometimes things happen. People get sick, your daughter gets married, there is a big project at work. Sometimes you may be busy no matter what. But, if you are always too busy, it’s probably not circumstances. It may be you.
Lots of people use busy as a badge of worthiness. I am busy, so I must matter. When they aren’t moving, they get antsy. Some create crises just so they can save the day or complain to others about the drama. Or they stay busy because they are scared other people will get ahead of them. Or look down on them. Staying too busy can be a way of masking feelings they don’t want to deal with.
Where can you take responsibility for the busyness of your life? What are you willing to do about it?
Photo by Eierschneider
- Simplifying Not Organizing
- Questions to Help You Simplify Your Life
- Areas to Simplify
- What to Do with all the Papers
- How to Get Things Done When You Are An Emotional Wreck
- How to Get to the End of Your To Do List
- A Question to Help You Make Changes
- Choosing Your Committments
- Laziness Isn't the Problem
- What's Keeping You From Decluttering?
- Uncovering the Creative Areas
- Decluttering the Entryway
- Decluttering Cosmetics
- Piles of Magazine Clippings