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Upgrade Your Weekends Pt 2

Lesson 6 from: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Laura Vanderkam

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Lesson Info

6. Upgrade Your Weekends Pt 2

Next Lesson: How to Win at Work

Lesson Info

Upgrade Your Weekends Pt 2

When it comes to weekends, I find that there are three main categories of things that kind of detract from our weekend enjoyment, but fortunately, there are strategies to deal with all of them, and I know that people at home have been asked to think about things that you don't like to do on weekends, things you kind of doing on weekends that you don't like to do on weekends. So maybe we can share a few of those things right now, things that we wind up doing on weekends that we don't want to be doing on weekends. Well, I certainly know for myself I spend a little bit too much time thinking about the workout and not just going ahead and yeah, absolutely so thinking about things before you're doing them spending too much time kind of puttering. I like that word before you actually get out the door and do whatever it is you kind of do. Okay, that's a great one, three eighteen media is talking about chores. Sure, yes. Although they've hired a housekeeper, which helps a lot with that. That i...

s one of the things that that happens. Those hang shores. Yeah, I heard a lot of people here in describing what they were doing this weekend as laundry. Laundry was happening on the weekend yes that's gonna say I don't know if anyone else says this but I try to make it like an event for everything so if I have to do my laundry it's going to be fun with the music and that sort of thing and even when I have to pick up my sister from school sometimes it's like really horrible traffic so I just kind of I don't know like have music on and you know, doing things like that, but I just try to make it fun yeah, right that's how you think by so I don't really have something I dread to do uh tried to get a good strategy, so if it's something that you wouldn't naturally want to be doing, you're trying to make it more fun. Great? Well, this there are a lot of things that we don't want to do on weekends that we somehow wind up doing on weekends and I do think that there are a couple of areas that this tends to be more of a problem and then others and yes, chores chores is the first one, so I'm sure a lot of people here use weekends to get caught up on chores right? And I know that weekends do seem like a great time to do chores because, well, what else are you going to do them right, what else are you going to do? The chores but here's the thing tours expand to fill the available space they're kind of like email that way and if you give yourself all weekend to get your chores done, it could literally take all weekend and it seems like the whole weekend will disappear into the care of your house, the care of your yard shopping for random stuff these errands khun start taking up your whole weekend and that will not be particularly fun. And you remember this study of the texas women we talked about their happiness scales through the day? Well, errands and housework were definitely lower than socializing, exercise spiritual activity, so if we're tryingto fill our lives with things we want to have their and not fill our lives with things we don't want to have their than that suggests we should be spending more time on the socializing, exercising spiritual activities and less time on the housework and the errands. So the first strategy, of course, you ignore them or outsource them. So the housekeeper was a good idea for that. You could ignore things you can in fact, go to bed with dirty dishes in the think earth will not crash into the sun, but whatever it is that you can't ignore or outsource, you have a couple of strategies to deal with that and probably minimizing is the best idea, and one way to do this is to give yourself a small window of time to do the tour. So set a time during the weekend that is devoted to chores or devoted to erin's. If you have a lot of that and as much as possible, you have to compress it into that period of time. So maybe it's an hour before you go out on saturday night, maybe it's, you know, a knauer during the morning on saturday, but whatever it is, give yourself a small window of time, and that way, if you find yourself looking at a dirty floor at some of other point, you can tell yourself there's a time for that there is a time for that. And now is not that time. And as a bonus, give yourself a small window also forces you to prioritize. What are the housework or tours or errands that actually have to happen? What has to happen and what's? Just kind of I clean that before. Oh, there's toys on the floor again. Oh, there's toys on the floor again. I put those away. They're back out on the floor again. It's, like somebody else, is coming out and putting the toys on the floor. E I wonder who that is s o u want to prioritize the things that actually have to get done versus the things that don't, and by giving yourself a small window, you keep the chores from taking over your entire weekend. The second problem that kind of hurts people's enjoyment of their weekends, I tend to find is children's activities, so we have maybe more people at home who have this is an issue, but even normally rational people are sometimes prone to making funding decisions when it comes to scheduling their children for things. So I'm gonna be like, I know I'll sign them up for a basketball class that's forty five minutes away. Well, then you're driving for ninety minutes on the weekend. Why isn't my weekend any fun? So if this is a problem for you, you can do a couple of things first, pare back to activities that only you and your children really enjoy. Okay? Because life is short, you don't have to fill time just to fill time. Children don't have to do that many things, and we don't have to do stuff just because it's their kids often like their weekend down time, too, they, like doing family activities and sometimes scheduled activities will take away from family activities on the weekend. I'm not saying don't do things you love like, obviously, if you have a child who loves a certain sport or loves in our class, that that should be part of their weekend that's part of their weekend fund to, but if there's things, they're not as happy about. If they're things that are even the margins, then maybe that's not worth having part of your life. Second, it also helps to figure out exactly how long these things take, because that could help you get some perspective. So a weekend where one kid had a four hour swim meet and another kid had a four hour baseball game would certainly sound like a crazy weekend, right? But that's eight hours remember how much time we had during the weekend? We have thirty six waking weekend hours, so eight hours of children's activities would still be less than a quarter of your total weekend time, so it might help to try to keep these things in perspective and realize that the time is still there and you also have to resent realize why is it that kid's activities seemed to dominate our weekends? Why is that and partly it's? Because they occur at certain times and they involve commitments to other people, and that is quite a combo. In terms of making things seem important, right, it's the same thing that makes any random conference call seymore important on your schedule than spending an hour brainstorming a new business idea? I mean, thinking about it brain storming. The new business idea is objectively a much bigger priority in your life, but it doesn't have to happen at a certain time, and it doesn't involve a commitment to other people, and so it seems less important, even though it isn't. But once you know that once you know that you can use that little insight to your advantage on weekends, right? So you can schedule your own activities, make them happen at a certain time, make them happen with other people, so they seem just as important as that basketball game or that's when me and say, I'm going to meet my friend at eight a m on saturday to run along the river it's at a certain time, it involves a commitment to another person it's on the calendar, and so it seems important as well. Your joy on weekend keeps everything in perspective, and the final thing that detracts from weekends is work right work, particularly work that you don't want to do, so let me clear something up. A lot of successful people do work on weekends. Sorry if anyone thought it would be different I thought that magically people had managed to take two full days off doing nothing I told you at the start of mike huckabee doing a six day work weeks but the thing is I mean, many, many successful people actually really like their work right? So there's not the same impulse to not do it that you might have if you didn't like your work but that said I was kind of amazed at how much people made a conscious effort to confine work to certain times and to use other times to kind of keep their brain clear says the same thing is the housework right finding it to certain times in order to have the rest of the time open and as I think about this I keep coming back to the idea of a sabbath not necessarily a religious sabbath but but a sabbath of sorts. So in the well known old testament story, god commanded the israel lights to rest on the seven sabbath the seventh day and often we kind of view sabbath rules is a bit legalistic you know all the things that you shouldn't do on sunday there you can't drive or start a fire these various things is so reading through the old testament sometimes it seems a bit legalistic but if you read closer there's often phrases like don't make your slaves work on the sabbath right, so we're clearly talking a different sort of type of work that we're thinking about that you're trying to keep people from doing and if you think about it there is a massive social benefit of having people in power not be able to make other people work around the clock right? So that if you are in a position of power you're not making other people work around the clock and so obviously it's not the same exact thing now but people who are maybe an extreme jobs people have people reporting to them consciously taking at least twenty four hours off consciously taking weekend time off from work makes a different life possible both for you and the people who work for u s o your team members can have a time to reset they could recharge their batteries and so they'll probably work better on one of the energy women I interviewed for this book actually observe the sabbath religiously as as an orthodox jew and she also worked at a major accounting firm and accounting has a busy season it's right before april fifteen and right now if anyone filed their six month extension on their taxes and needs to get those in in the next few weeks so it has a busy season and during that time many accountants will wind up working kind of around the clock the work seven days a week but she couldn't do that so as she was climbing up her firm's ladder she had to go to her bosses and say I cannot work seven days a week I have to be done at sundown on friday and I cannot work again tell sundown saturday and she said it was very difficult to do that but the funny thing is she didn't wind up getting any less done so she was working fewer hours than other people but she was getting justus much done and she won't up making partner fairly quickly and she was always rated at the top of her class and you know maybe it's because she wasn't burnt out maybe it's not that she made partner that she rated at the top of her class despite working fewer days maybe it's because she was working fewer days may be taking a little bit of time off makes us perform better so if you don't have a religious prohibition on a certain time that you can't works obviously some people have sundown friday to sundown saturday some other people have maybe sunday that they're not allowed to do work in their religious traditions but if you don't have a specific time you can try creating a sabbath for yourself so maybe it could be saturday evening to sunday anything that's something that winds up working for a lot of people you've done whatever you're doing on during the day saturday and then you can turn the device is off for twenty four hours turned them off. Maybe some people have little kids and work during their naps on saturday. That's fine, but maybe the devices go off after that and don't come on again until nap time on sunday, and I find that if you take this text sabbath, you'll probably be amazed at how many ideas pop into your brain when you don't feel that tiny little space of boredom with another email check, right? Your brain has to do something with its time, and it might start doing really cool things. I tell people I always get a lot of amazing ideas in church and it's, not that I go to church in order to get ideas I'm supposed to be listening to the minister who is hopefully not watching this way seldom get opportunities in our busy life just to sit still and think and when we dio our brains react to that. So we've got some great ideas for weekends, right? We've planted anchors. We've minimized that the have to news but there's one last thing we need to d'oh to make our weekends awesome you want to hit monday? Ready to go and part of that involves thinking through what you want to do on monday. So we talked a little bit about planning here I'm trying to get in the habit of planning my weeks by friday afternoon, so that way I don't have to do it on sunday night, but if you haven't done it by friday afternoon, sunday night is a great time you want to know monday by sunday, so sit down and ask yourself, what do I intend to accomplish this week? And when do I intend to accomplish these things? And you probably already have a fair amount of half to deuce blocked into your schedule, right? We often have that have to do is already and there's, this question is largely about what you want to do, what steps he take toward items on your list of hundred dreams over the next week, so don't over commit, but just think of two to three activities that would nurture your career, nurture her relationship and their true yourself. So, max, we have six to nine things I want you think right now think about where you could black the's in on your weekends and your next week, right? Think about where he could block in these six to nine things over the next week, that way you hit monday, ready to take on the world and you're ready to make your own personal world a better place, so why are we doing this? All right, why are we doing this? Why are we putting so much effort into thinking through our weekends? I know that weekends are something sometimes something of an afterthought right? You get through the week you slog away all week you get to the weekend and so the idea of putting effort into these days off is not immediately appealing all right it's not immediately pilling I get that but if you live to be eighty you have just a bit more than four thousand weekends in your life I have the number of four thousand one hundred sixty up there that's if you live to be eighty you'll have four thousand one hundred sixty weekends and just a light a fire under anyone some chunk of those air gone way have a different percentage for everyone in here but some chunk of that is gone gone we'll never get it back at this point so you have four thousand one hundred sixty weekends they're probably at least that many things you'd like to do our experience in life right and not all of those things we want to do can wait for vacations not all of those things we want to do can wait until we're retired someday there are things you want to do now and failing to live fully on weekends during those thirty six waking weekend hours amounts to missing out on our own lives yeah, you're tired you've had a busy week you're tired, I get that, but you know what? We will always be tired and we draw energy from meaningful things. The analogy I use for people is another holiday one, so we talked about looking forward to weekends like wrapped presents under the tree. So every time around this year, speaking politics, as I start to get pitches from people who write e books or doing blog's siri's or television shows on simplifying your holidays, all right, I get a lot of here's how we're going to simplify our holidays, lots of magazines, stories on simplifying our holidays coming out over the next few months and in the narrative that these companies and experts are promoting were so overworked put upon that we should just trim the holidays down to the necessities, right? You don't have to bake, you don't have to throw a party, relax, slowdown don't curl the ribbon on that pile of spare presence, stacking up under what's, hopefully a minimalist tree, and I do see the wisdom in some tempering like there's, no point in filling the holidays with things no one wants to dio right there's no point in doing that and there's no point in buying a lot of expensive stuff that no one wants or that leaves you in debt afterwards. But if you've got little kids like I do, it doesn't take long to realize that there would be that many holiday seasons where they'll actually race downstairs to see what santa brought they won't always want to bake with you they won't care if you put up a giant tree or if you go caroling or you throw christmas parties, they won't want you to make a snowman in the yard with them so you'll be able to beg off great we'll be able to simplify our lives right? But human life is a funny thing and eventually some day we may all be staring at the snow from the two simple room of our hospitals of our nursing homes dreaming of the days when making snowmen with our children was actually an option and so I think that this realization leads us to a different question than all these articles on simplifying the holidays which is namely what are you saving your energy for, right? What are you saving your energy for? Yes, you may feel like doing nothing on weekends, right? But what are you saving your energy for? This is all there is anything could happen you are not guaranteed more time. You are not guaranteed an infinite number of weekends and so we may as well make the most of the ones that we have. We may as well make a fuss make a show spend your energy now be fully present in your own life and live on weekends in a way that helps you do more during the week so I hope our discussion here is giving you some ideas on upgrading your weekends I I actually kept track of my weekends I kept a time log at last weekend for saturday and sunday and it is fascinating to see where the time really goes so it's one thing to keep a time log during the work week right? You look at where the times going but in a rough sense you know where your work this somewhat goes the weekend is crazy and I realize we can't really see this so I'll talk a little bit about it but is up making pancakes pancakes is our saturday morning tradition and I kind of did some work on saturday I will admit that I was working if you could see this you'll see that I was practicing speeches for this I had to practice my speeches for creative live but it was actually pretty cool weekend I got to play outside with the kids I took my six year old to a friend's birth the party and chatted with the grown ups always there so they were able to steal a little bit of socialization in that time that was really about his birthday party ah and then I went out on a date night with my husband at a local b y o b it was great fun on saturday night, so that was fun. We sat on the porch together reading afterwards, said a good day that sunday we did a couple of really cool things. We went to the y m c a this has started to be a pretty cool weekend family tradition for us is that when it starts to get cold, well, they still have indoor pools, and so we can go and we can't. My husband and I could work out well, the kids are in the kid zone and we can all go swimming as a family and being able to swim as a family on a cold weekend. It's pretty cool actually went down the water slide twice s oh, that was a nice little addition to my weekend, and then it was looking at what happens on sunday nights. We had a cookout, probably it will be our last of the season because it's going to start getting cold pretty soon, but we fired up the grill. We made hamburgers and hot dogs on the weekend, so that was a pretty cool thing to do, so I had a pretty good weekend. I didn't work some I worked on sunday night, and I worked on saturday morning but tried to confine it to those times. There are other things I was not as pleased about it probably did a bit more housework this weekend then I should have I should have just let it go always tell myself put it down go play with the kids it doesn't have to happen but that's what I spent this weekend doing so I'd love to answer some questions if we have some coming in absolutely jazz actually asks how does successful people scheduled the tours they have to get done like cleaning or paying bills et cetera and he's also curious about how much time watching tv surfing the web et cetera these people do per week or is suggested normal yeah well I can tell you that probably highly successful people watch less television than the rest of us and that's correlated that it's just time but not necessarily being used in its highest value and it's not that people don't watch television like some people do the people do it's not that people who are successful don't watch television because they do but I find that people tend to be a bit more mindful about it just because you have limited time off right if you're working really hard you have limited time off and so if there are shows you love we talked about breaking bad earlier was that you if you love breaking bad then by all means watch it right watch those shows that are your favorite shows make a time to do it and then be done with it right? Be done with it when those shows air over don't watch the marginal television don't watch the television that isn't your favorite, but it's on right? I can't think of what else to do with myself. I have a list of things you want to do with yourself, things that are exciting, meaningful, enjoyable, even taking a nap is probably more relaxing than watching television that you don't really care about. So again, I don't think don't watch tv, I sometimes watch tv there's nothing wrong with it it's just want to make sure that you can control it rather than it controlling you and it's the same thing with chores and paying bills that you want to set a time for it and do it and be done with it, right? You don't want to be constantly picking up through the course of the weekend because the house will just get dirty again. The house is just going to get dirty again, but you will never get that time back right? So set a time for it and then be done with it. Uh, terry is asking his three year old daughter needs him to play with her all the time when he's home so there's not much time for him or his wife, any suggestions on how to balance of course, so obviously one reason that we can't do nothing on weekends is that many of us have small children and if you think about what you're doing on weekends is kind of the equivalent of what a stay at home parent would be doing during the weekends, and I certainly would not want to suggest to a stay at home parent that they're doing nothing during the week, right? I don't think that would go over very well in the same way you're not gonna be able to do nothing on the weekend because you're going to caring for these children, and so the thing with a three year old is, you know, you have to work with their schedule, probably the three year old is not awake as many hours as tricking his wife are right, so there are things you can do, you can say what we're gonna have a grown up dinner after she goes to bed, so let's say she goes to bed at seven thirty or eight were going to cook together after that and have a great grownup meal on enjoy that in house date time together, or you can have a babies that are even come after she's gone to bed, we do that sometimes if you have a late night sit here come the sitter's thrilled because she's getting paid to watch tv and your kids don't even know right? They don't even know that you weren't there. So that's one way that you can get time in, um she may take a nap. She may not, but she may take a nap if she does or if she just has a little bit of down time. I find it's good to have downtime in general from one to three p m that's when we're all a little bit tired post lunch, but maybe that's time that she could have a little bit of screen time if she doesn't still nap and the parents could do that for use that for some of their time. Right? So if partly the reason that kids keep asking us to play with them is they don't feel that we have been giving them our full attention. So if he and his wife really have consciously played with her in the morning and done those games, they've played chutes and ladders, played candy land and hungry hippo and really done that. Then you get that attention, right? And so it's, not like you're trying to do something else, so give her your full attention, and then you could have often a little bit of a break from each other that she'll be more okay with one of our participants in the chat room delayed fulfillment says that they're a little mixed between planned and spot deliberate in spontaneous says that they set something in their schedule like let's say they set for to read it eleven a m and they start and then they get so motivated and inspired by it. They go past their plan time, and then they get off their schedule. Yeah, so how can we help you know what, one of the solutions there? Well, that's, why I talk about setting anchors that are for these broad periods of time, right? Because if reading was the thing that this person wanted to do saturday during the day, then there's no real reason to stop right away. We haven't planned every a minute of the weekend, we haven't planned that. Ok, exactly. At eleven fifteen, we have to stop reading because we're going to do this until eleven thirty, and they were going to do this until eleven forty five, so I don't like planning weekends too tightly. You want to have broad swaths of time that air for a certain activity. So that's what I'd say to that, that it's it's kind of the mix between planning and spontaneous, that you can have. Open times for things that you are inspired by right? Because maybe you go to the farmer's market and it's so awesome you're finding so much amazing stuff that it takes longer than you thought it would right that's why you don't want a plan every minute you want to give yourself the ability to stay there longer if you're enjoying yourself to stay there longer but usually you know if we've got that plan does an activity for saturday day at some point you're going hungry you're gonna have to stop at some point so then you could do whatever it was your activity was for saturday nights that's why we only set maybe those three to five anchors in the weekend if we can help so we are going to be talking when we come back about how we spend our workdays so our work days are obviously what a lot of us think about in terms of time management, how we handle our time at work and we'll be talking about a couple of daily disciplines that will enable us to get more done and less time so they can get home and get on to the fun stuff terrific well we wanted to share a couple of their quotes coming in from the internet that air great really, really positive quotes coming in three eighteen media says it took me forever to change my mindset to outsource my cleaning best decision ever, and kara says, I love the plan. Serendipity. I'm the only family on my house. I didn't plan all my boys would sit, so obviously the tips are helping a lot. And finally, lovelace is failing to do these things amounts to missing out on life, just wow, hitting home for a lot of people, yeah, laurie, you way transformed the way that I think about weekends. I mean, I think I was part of that school, like, who is weak, and I'm not going to, you know, but this idea that really we only have four thousand and four thousand weekends and change that's serious business. So did to make that time as meaningful and valuable as the rest of the time that we spend aligning our dream list to the way we spend our time, I think, is that's a winner? I mean, it's, a it's, a huge quality of life improvement.

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Ratings and Reviews


Listening to the free on-air version. She's got a good presentation style - nice to get someone who doesn't have the "ums" and "uhs" every other sentence. She's engaging but also delivers good content. It's not the same old time management stuff: she's got realistic ideas and innovative suggestions. I like the way she refers to published research, too.

vol leo

This class was amazing! A must for anyone that's at a stand still in life! Awesome!


This is a really useful class. It's pretty involved but you walk away with a useful plan for how to more effectively start your day.

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