It struck me the other day, on my way into work, that my most efficient time of the week is between 7:10am and 8:30AM on any given Monday – Friday. In that hour and 10 minutes, I accomplish the following:
- Get out of bed
- Feed the animals (2 cats, 1 bunny)
- Feed the kids (1 girl, 1 boy)
- Shower/brush teeth
- Get dressed
- Get the kids dressed
- Pack back packs
- Get kids on bus
- Dry hair
- Put on makeup
- Drive to work (20 minutes)
If you take out the 20 minutes of driving to get to work, I accomplish ALL of that in one hour. On a weekend, that stuff takes HOURS, sometimes all day. I wondered to myself, why can’t I do all of this efficiently on a weekend when I can do it mindlessly during the week? It’s because it’s part of my routine for getting the kids ready and I have a deadline that I have to complete all of those things by (the arrival of the bus for the kids and being on time for work).
I have begun to experiment with this idea of routines and deadlines. My weekends are always a struggle between knowing that I only have two days to accomplish the fun and not fun things I can’t get to during the week and wanting to use my down time to relax. Sometimes I get so sucked up into that struggle, that pretty much nothing gets accomplished. I need part of my weekend to be on autopilot like that hour in the morning is during the week so that I get to a point that I’m getting things done and I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
So, the question is, how do I get to autopilot so that I can enjoy some of weekend? The key is in the routines and the deadlines. When the weekend rolls around, the routines and deadlines go out the window. The weekend wants to be this luxurious time when we do nothing but whatever strikes our fancy at any given moment. But, the weekend actually becomes the time to cram in all of the errands and play dates and family time and cleaning and projects that we didn’t get to during the week.
There are two steps to solving this problem.
Step 1 – Create a Routine and Deadlines for the Weekend
Your weekend routine should be just as efficient as your weekday routine. It might include sleeping in until 9AM (or 11AM? whatever fits your lifestyle!), but the routine should still be something that is easy to follow and becomes programmed into your brain. Athletes talk about muscle memory and this how a routine should feel. You can do it without thinking about it and when you don’t do it, it doesn’t feel comfortable. What makes weekend routines a little more difficult is that weekends are usually a malleable schedule. Basketball games aren’t always scheduled at the same time each weekend; sometimes you visit Nana & Papa for lunch, sometimes dinner; play dates might be on Saturday or Sunday. And those are the things that you want your routine to work around. That will help balance that struggle between getting things done and basking in the weekend glow.
Here’s an example of my newly implemented weekend routine:
- Map out the activities that will happen throughout the weekend – when are the sporting events, when will you visit family, are there play dates happening, etc
Saturday and Sunday
- Some time prior to 9:30AM – 30 Minutes to Shower/Get Dressed/Get Kids Dressed/Eat Breakfast
- 2 Hours total of 15 minute/per room cleaning – this can be spread out over Saturday or Sunday, or done in one day depending on what is planned for the weekend.
- 2 Hours total of errands
- 3 Hours total of cooking and/or projects for the blog
Other than the first bullet point, these things are flexible and can be planned around the fun stuff you want to get done during the weekend, but each task has a finite amount of time, a deadline, to be completed within. I always find myself getting sucked into cleaning all day on Saturday and it makes me absolutely miserable. Sure, the house may look great, but I hate that I spent all of that precious weekend time doing it. If I force myself to stick to 15 minutes a room, I’ll have a clean enough house (don’t believe 15 minutes is enough? I didn’t either. I’ll be writing another post about it!) and I won’t pout about all the work I did to get it that way. And if you can successfully accomplish all of those bullet points, then you will be guilt free at the end of the weekend because you did more than just relax and have fun.
Step Two in making the most of your weekend, is to create some routines during the week that will help the weekend move more smoothly. I’ll be working over the next couple of weeks on adding on to some of the simple routines I have now and I’ll report back on what I’ve found works. And what doesn’t!
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