Time management expert and author Laura Vanderkam has a new e-book called “What The Most Successful People Do On Weekends” (read review from House of Peanut here). I haven’ t read it yet but the gist of it seems to be how to be more productive on weekends. I tend to emulate or strive for simplicity and personal happiness even if it’s not the same as what “successful” people do. I believe successful people are defined by the author as typically Type A high-powered & career-minded people who are successful in their fields. Therefore, I’m not the target audience!
However, that doesn’t mean I can’t get good advice from books like these (and I’m sure I will once I read it..). One of the tips from the author’s blog at least is to plan an Anchor event on the weekends. This anchor event should be something fun that gets you and/or your family out of the house so that weekends are more memorable and not all about chores and puttering around.
For several weekends, we’ve accidentally followed this advice. The first weekend was very simple and not super planned-out but it was a Saturday morning excursion to a nearby park. The next weekend was a music concert for kids at the library on a Saturday morning. The third weekend included a date night on Saturday. I admit that doing something fun on Saturdays, when I normally would be puttering around the house, was a good change for our family. We tend to put off the fun stuff; if we don’t do it on Saturday or plan something, nothing fun gets done.
At the same time, those weekends felt harried, too. The music concert took out a good chunk of morning. We still had a lot of stuff that needed to get done. On top of regular stuff like meal prep, cooking, putting dishes away, multiple diaper changes, and more, I managed to do some gardening and a quick wipe-down of the kitchen and bathroom, including the dreaded chore of cleaning the tub. My husband was busy, too, but we were too busy to notice each other’s chore duties!
After all these memorable, fun weekends, I need a chill-out weekend to decompress and do nothing!
How do you manage your weekends? Are you on board with the idea of planning fun or do you prefer to have unscheduled time, or a little of both?
I currently have my main to-do list (with about 10 items) and a 2nd priority list that comprises of less important things that still need to be done but with less urgency. On occasion I can delete things but in general all these items really need to be done, at some point. I realized that I’ve simply been moving items from my main list to my 2nd priority list just to get the feeling of getting things done. Sad, I know!
Note: Most of the items cannot be outsourced. It’s either small stuff like handwashing sweaters or financial/health-related (privacy concerns).
In the comments section of House of Peanut’s post about planning weekend fun, someone mentioned that she has to do all the planning in her household — the husband is just not the planner type. That is such a common statement among married women that I’m wondering if anyone out there has the opposite experience? It seems that 100% of women I know online or in real life is the CEO of household logistics, whether both spouses work or not. If the women is the only one working or the one with the full-time/ less flexible job, that does change the dynamics. But all things being equal, who does the majority of the planning (childcare, doctor appointments)? Who does the gift buying? Who does the travel planning (hotels, airfare, research)? Who does the meal planning, if that’s done at all? Who plans the fun weekends??
Most women justify this by saying that they’re just better at planning and research (which I’m not saying isn’t true). Yet if men can plan wars and proposals, so why can’t they plan household-related things and daily life? I’ve also known very disorganized, flaky women who somehow end up being the planners in their households, simply because they worked on this skill. In those cases, the husband is usually also bad at planning and once kids come along (or the woman just gets tired of boring weekends), the woman takes up the organizing mantle and reads a lot of magazine articles for tips. Hell,the January 2013 issue of Real simple is all about organizing your life year-round. I doubt men’s magazines focus on that. When men do focus on time-saving (like the 4 day work week), it’s to escape the corporate rat race and free up time to do things like travel the world or bungee jump…
In my household, it would definitely fall on me to plan travel and weekend fun (with kids). My husband does more of the doctor appointment planning due to his flexible schedule though. He’s also more prone to plan fun without kids. We both suck at meal planning… However I think if we both worked 9 to 5, I’m more likely to do the research/planning for the majority of things.
So, question 1, who is the planner and why in your household?
On another slightly related note, who does the apologizing? I keep reading articles, or seeing comic bits, where the man is told to say he’s sorry even if he thinks he’s right in order to keep the peace with the wife (who is also implied to be illogical yet probably right anyway). Apparently my husband has not gotten that message.
So I always end up apologizing or drag a half-hearted apology from him after months of discussion. Like the stereotypical man in a relationship, it would be easier if I just said I’m sorry and be done with it even if in my heart of hearts, I don’t think I’m wrong. So should I just “man up” and do that for relationship peace?? I never seem to get the apology I want anyway. I wonder if men take that advice and if so, how do they not get angry at always having to apologize?
Question 2: Who does most of the apologizing in your household?
As a result of our move, I’ve gain about an extra hour per day — half an hour in the mornings and half an hour in the evenings. Even though we moved over a month ago, I haven’t done anything concrete with that extra time, other than unpacking and decorating, but I would love some advice.
I know that some super-motivated time management gurus would suggest exercising or tackling a major project in the mornings. After all, sleeping in isn’t really taking advantage of that extra time. However, I’m going to say now that sleeping in is my plan for the extra morning half hour.
What I am asking for is advice on what to do with the other half hour, after work. I really don’t want to waste it on watching TV or surfing the web.
Here are my ideas:
Nurture Relationships: Having more time and energy for kids and husband is always a plus. I want to really enjoy this extra time. I promised my husband I would be less grumpy..now that can be a hard resolution to keep…
Career management: I can update my C.V., browse websites for job opportunities, update my Linked In profile, read career-related materials (which can also be done at lunch), attend networking functions. I would love specific action items / tips. BTW, here are some great career-building tips from Cloud/Wandering Scientist.
Exercise: At least once per weekday, I plan to take a class. I’m also taking walks around neighborhood and can go to the park more often. Now I can get home and take a nice walk with the kids in the time it used to take me to drive all the way home!
Cook and Plan Meals: I’ve slacked off in this area and would love to start planning healthier meals on weeknights, rather than relying on Trader Joe’s.
Chores…Ugh: I want to do some smaller chores on weeknights rather than saving them up for weekends. With a long commute, I was tired and short on time. Now I guess I could pick up a mop once in a while. There are two almost opposing challenges to this idea. I hate chores YET I also worry that I’ll use my valuable “extra” time to doing chores.
What would you do with an extra half hour per night?
Posted in Advice, Children, Family, random thoughts, simple living
Tagged career capital, chores, commuting, exercise, happiness, moving, time, time management, tv, wandering scientist
I knew this post would come back to haunt me. Due to a super busy work/life period, it feels like my/our to-do list has become a mile long. Everyone needs shots (even the dogs). It’s time for an oil change. The house is a mess, especially the floors. I can count 2 to 3 random tech-related things that we need to address before we fall back into the stone age. There is a crib-full of baby laundry. I have to drop off some things at the drycleaner. I’ve had a bag of clothes to donate in the trunk of my car for 3+ weeks. And we really should clean out the garage so that I can finally make one big trip to Goodwill. I definitely have to do laundry soon. Work has slowed down, which helps, but I have to do something to stave boredom off and work on “managing” my career before the next evaluation.
I would like to go on record that for 2 days, I was officially caught up on ALL my chores and errands.
I opened up my to-do list and saw that I had no errands pending. There was only major errand that I was hoping to pawn off to my husband. (He ended up doing this without me even having to ask! I think he’s husband of the year now..)
I was supposed to call someone back but not for a few days.
Our household was stocked in terms of paper goods, supplies, diapers, wipes and food. My shopping list was blank!
We didn’t even have social engagements lined up. There were no upcoming birthdays to remember or parties. I suppose this was like the lull in the storm before the holiday season.
I was swamped at work but I don’t really count that.
Of course, two days later, the to-do and my to-buy list suddenly started swelling up again. Oh well, I really enjoyed that “caught up” feeling!
I didn’t know much about writer-filmmaker Nora Ephron until after her recent passing, but she wrote this list of things she’d miss in life (and things that she won’t miss). Inspired by this, I thought I would write my own list. It’ll be interesting to revisit years from now and see if I still feel the same!
Things I Won’t Miss
- Commuting to Work
- Mommy Wars
- Cable Companies
- Office Politics
- Kid Tantrums
- Nasty Blog Comments
- Endless Striving
- Money Worries
- Aches and pains
- Health Insurance Insanity (bureaucracy, denials, etc..)
- People who stress out over little things at work
- Fast food
- California summers (when you don’t live near the ocean)
Things I Will Miss
- My Kids
- Family, especially my Mom
- Kids laughing
- Great books
- A good cup of cappuccino
- Where the ocean meets the forest/nature
- Learning new things
- Good TV shows
- Summer fruits
- Blogs and Blogging
- Music of my youth
- Good FOOD!
- California winters
Surprisingly for me, it was easier to come up with “Things I Will Miss”. While I can be kind of grumpy, there are so many beautiful things that are worth missing. I didn’t even name sunsets, the ocean or my home. I think writing this list was an interesting exercise because it focuses on things you’ll miss as opposed to things you love/like. While I really love my comfortable new ballet flats, for example, it’s not something that I would miss. I do think my home would make it to #21 but that has less to do with decor than the feeling of home. I guess in the end it is really the simple things that matter.
For the list of “Things I Won’t Miss”, I ran out of steam by number 13 but thought I would get it up to 20.
What Things Would You Miss (and Not Miss)?
Posted in Children, Family, finances, Italy, random thoughts, simple living
Tagged chores, lists, nora ephron, things I'll miss, weather, when harry met sally