In Laura Vanderkam’s short book, What the Most Successful People do on the Weekends, she helps us to plan weekend fun so we have time to relax, restore and actually enjoy our time off.
Where did the Weekend Go?
On a typical Sunday night, I’m rounding up school jumpers and ties, making sure homework is done and trying to get everyone in bed so they aren’t tardy for school the next morning. And sometimes during the rush to sign papers and find knee-high socks, I wonder where on earth our weekend went. My kids and husband were here with no school or work for more than 48 hours and it seems like it was about 13 minutes of watching TV, bickering and making food.
Generally, I can’t wait for the weekend. I look forward to not rushing through the morning or having to be anywhere by 7am. I feel like we will have a little extra time to play a game or complete a project. But, without some planning, that rarely happens. If I haven’t decided before Friday evening what we are going to do for the weekend, we end up in different rooms by Saturday afternoon, the kids playing on devices or with Legos while I furiously try to catch up on cleaning.
An then it’s over as quickly as it started. Another weekend with nothing to show except some exhaustion and completely empty kitchen cabinets.
Weekend Fun Can be Easy
As much as I may love the idea of a planned and exciting weekend, my family does not. They enjoy lazy mornings, brunch at 11 and not getting out of their pajamas all day. All of those things drive me crazy. It feels like a completely wasted day.
On the other hand, I don’t want to be super busy all the time either. A few plans here and there, but extra time to play a game or read a book would be lovely. This is why I love Vanderkam’s suggestions in this book. I feel like is strikes a great balance between giving ourselves time off to relax and doing nothing but watching TV for 48 hours.
Start with the Weekend List
Vanderkam suggests having a Weekend List. She starts with trying to list 100 things she would like to do in her free time. This can include anything from browsing a new store in town that will take an hour to a full weekend get-away adventure. Having a list prevents us from having to make last minute decisions about what to do. This way, we have suggestions for all different time frames as well.
It’s not unusual for my kids to have weekend activities, but if Saturday morning is booked, I can find a short activity for the afternoon. When I see something I think we would like to do, I make sure to write it down. After all, if it’s not written down, it will never happen.
I started two different weekend lists. One for family activities and one for things I would like to do by myself or with my husband or other adult. All too often, if I have a few hours of free time, I find myself wandering Target and getting coffee from Starbucks. It may be mindless, but it’s not something I actually enjoy. Plus, it spending money on things I don’t really need. Now, I have a list of things I would like to do or try. If I have a kid-free afternoon, I can select from the list what I would most like to do.
Vacation Bucket List
Based on this idea, I plan to make bucket lists for school vacations. These can be longer activities or be further from home since we will have all day. It includes anything in a two hour radius that I’ve been wanting to do with the kids- zoos, historic landmarks, parks, museums, etc. I want the kids to contribute to it also so I keep this list in my bullet journal so I can add to it as we find something new to explore.
For the first time last summer, we tried making a bucket list. Each person contributed a few things they most wanted to do over the three month vacation. The suggestions ran the gamete from overnight trips to making homemade ice cream. This gave us just enough structure for our summer. If I didn’t have anything on the calendar for a few days in a row, I had an arsenal of ideas to draw from. We didn’t do everything, but we did do most.
Plan Weekend Fun of Your Own
The next step is as simple as giving yourself a space to write. Keep a running list of the thing you want to do, either by yourself or with family and friends. During a weekly planning session (I do mine on Sunday afternoons), take a look at the next weekend. Some will be crammed with sports, meetings, events or parties. But if it is glaringly empty, find a fun activity you always wanted to do or a goal you have been putting off and schedule it!