Do you reach Sunday night or Monday morning feeling exhausted yet unproductive?
Friday was two minutes ago, and you had so many things you wanted to do over the weekend. But the weekend ran away from you. There is a simple strategy to take back your weekend that involves three easy steps: Dream, Plan and Play.
This problem was first brought to my attention after I finished my Master’s degree and moved back in with my fiance. I was finished. The to-do list no longer taunted me. I had no reason to set an alarm. There were a million and one books I wanted to read, crafts I wanted to make, and places to explore. My brain was buzzing with various thoughts, ideas and dreams with no outlet to get them organized. Sitting still was difficult. I couldn’t enjoy the peace and quiet, the lack of things to do, or the absence of the al
arm. I was so used to graduate school being busy and forcing the quick decision of shower, sleep, or food- pick two! The lack of structure from one end of the spectrum to the other was unnerving and I didn’t know how to take control of it.
With so many ideas, inspirations, and ambitions – why was I not more productive?
Let’s paint a picture here. Maybe this is just me and you are reading this thinking I am just a nut! But maybe this is how you feel too and it’s a relief to know you are not the only one! On a typical Friday my brain is making a list that looks something like this:
- Frame Vacation Photos
- Laminate Lesson Materials for Next Week
- Pick Out Things to do for Upcoming Vacation
- Deep Clean Washing Machine
- Read a Few Chapters of Latest Novel Choice
- Decide on a New Blog Topic
- Catch Up on Blog Social Media Sites
- Learn More About Successful Blogging
- Wash/Vacuum Car
- Hit Target Dollar Spot for New Classroom Materials – Spring Materials are Out!
- Clean Out Gmail Inbox (Uhg.. does it ever end?)
- Plan Meals for Next Week
- Grocery Store
- Meal Prep (almost never happens but I like to think I’m making baby steps towards it!)
By the time I zip to Sunday night, it sets in. The dreadful Sunday blues…. the “SMONDAY” transition where the brain comes out of the clouds and peers into the realities of the coming week. The plans I had, all of the inspiration floating around ready to get ahead in work, find a better strategy to meal plan, spend time with my husband, and prepare for next weeks’ learning experiences …almost none of it was completed. Why? Because I didn’t prioritize. I didn’t take large mountain size goals and break them down into smaller workable pieces. I flew by the seat of my pants with my brain buzzing full of ideas and inspiration that would never be utilized or brought to life.
Life Outside of School is Just as Busy – But the Difference is Control
Remember that graduate school decision triangle I mentioned before? Well, I took a look at it and realized a few things. 1.) In school the tasks were dictated for me. I had no control over what had to be done and when. I’m a mess now because it’s my choice and my responsibility to decide what and when. (Step one is recognizing the problem, yes?!) 2.) I don’t have to choose two anymore, I can accomplish as much as my little heart desires as long as I focus a bit and stop trying to conquer the world in two and a half days! and 3.) I can accept the responsibility and joy of continuing to build and achieve dreams and make it happen on my own and in a more positive way!
There is nothing wrong with a little focusing, a little planning, and a little list making even when it comes to the fun parts of life! The small effort and organization that it takes to take back your weekend is well worth it in the end. When you take back your weekend the important aspects of life can be focused on, the brain-buzzing can stop, and the weekend can be fun and productive on whatever level you wish.
Three Simple Steps to Take Back Your Weekend:
In order to focus on the things I really want to be successful with I began preparing for my weekend in three simple steps: “Dream. Plan. Play.” I want to keep the triangle decision tool, however, I want to transform it into something positive and productive. (And instead of picking two, I want to focus on all three!)
Make a small list of desired hobbies, books, work goals, blogging ideas, home decorating, places to explore, or bucket list items. Take your weekend back by setting a goals that enhance that enhance life with fun, laughter, opportunities, and new experiences.
Each weekend pick one or two small workable goals in three important areas. Choose one or two small tasks that need to get done immediately for work. This usually consists of laminating, gathering materials, writing lesson plans, etc. Then choose one or two small tasks for myself. Something along the lines of a long run, paint my nails, draw, read a book, sew, paint, etc. And lastly, choose a few small tasks to focus on the love in life. I call family or friends I haven’t talked to in a while, snuggle with the cat, spend time with my husband, plan a date, rent a movie, go on a walk or a hike, spend time with my girlfriends, etc.
People don’t usually think of planning when trying to have fun and enjoy free time – but trust me, you will take your weekend back with force with just a small sticky-note! Simplifying your weekend ambitions will allow for focus and progress. I found that when I don’t focus in on what I want to accomplish for the weekend I don’t enjoy the things I work on because I am shooting for quantity not quality. By simplifying my ambitions I can enjoy the tasks I choose to complete over the weekend.
Now that few simple tasks in all three areas have been chosen, the weekend is your oyster! Having only chosen a small number of goals there is room to be flexible as well. Last minute plans with family or friends may pop up. Maybe your favorite band or comedy show comes to town and you catch wind of it. Of course you have to go! But at the least, you have set small bitesize goals and the brain buzzing will stop. Progress will be made on specific hobbies, dreams, and tasks. And your mind will get a time out from the hustle and bustle of the week.
Lastly, when these three areas life have been focused on, the usual weekend checklist tasks can be completed such as laundry, housework, or grocery shopping. By focusing on yourself, the love in your life, and your work, Sunday afternoon can be reached feeling accomplished, productive, successful, and caught up. You have taken back your weekend. A healthy amount of time has been spent on the important things in life and Monday can be faced with a positive attitude and feelings of accomplishment!
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