Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Having a Great Work Week May Start with Weekends

In her no-nonsense style, Laura Vanderkam explains how a successful weekend can lead to successful a week. What the Most Successful People do on the Weekend.

She concludes that "While we often crash into weekends feeling overwhelmed, the impulse to do nothing leads, as one reader told me, to feeling like we're missing out on our own lives."

For some professionals, working all weekend (or on your days off) can give you an adrenaline fix that lasts right up until 10 a.m. on Monday when the energy just disappears. The adrenaline crash is the worst. Not caffeine, not a good lunch, and definitely not another late night will heal that crash.

For parents, weekends can be driven by children's activities. Vanderkam asserts that these activities don't take up all weekend as we claim (and she's right), but we certainly lean on these times like they do. Swim lessons, gym lessons, birthday parties, and play dates. We do these things to make kids happy, but on Monday morning, we're zonked, having taken nothing for ourselves, except quick trips to the market and the laundry room.

Vanderkam claims we need to break our weekend into parts and write down the plan. Planning a weekend in that much detail seemed so awkward to me as I began reading. Weekends seem like the worst time to be driven by a calendar, but the truth is that we are driven by our calendars anyway, with swim at 9:00 and another class at 4:00, so by the end, I got it.

What I love most about Vanderkam, though, is she is not about paring down, doing less, simplifying, or keeping chaos at bay. Instead, she offers advice for how to make life happen, how to grab the most interesting moments and not to worry about how difficult those moments might be. We all have excuses from small children to not wanting to go alone, but Vanderkam encourages us to just embrace what makes our lives awkward so that we create memories for later. Our remembering self, she writes, these memories "are there to fortify the soul in years to come when the busyness of now is replaced by a quieter life."

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