You grab your jacket and head to the parking lot on at 5 on a Friday evening.
There are 60 glorious hours of free time between 5 pm Friday, and the blaring iPhone alarm on Monday morning. If you’re like me, you spend the workweek dreaming of fun filled Saturdays, but when the weekend comes, we waste it: sprawled across the couch, aimlessly scrolling through Twitter.
Weekends are an important time to rest, recharge, and reset from the stress of the work week. In the US, 12 hour shifts, 6 days per week were once the norm for all workers. Labor activists rebelled. They staged protests and armed insurrections against greedy industrialists for the right to have a “weekend”, two days of leisure, many paying with their lives. Today, we can honor their sacrifices by using the time as it was intended, to relax, rest up, and have fun.
Here are my top 5 tips to squeeze the most out of your weekend.
The ten pound burrito is no match for a man on a weekend mission.
Like a huge nerd, schedule your weekend ahead of time. Don’t plan every waking second. Instead, identify 2- 3 main events you are excited about experiencing, and build a plan around those.
Having plans offers you the opportunity to look forward to your weekend. It ensures you prioritize the important events you listed, and plan around them. Examples include seeing the action hero blockbuster every one is talking about, a family cookout, or a boxing class.
Explore. No matter where you live, there are fun adventures to be enjoyed in your own town, or within an hour’s drive. Make a list of fun day trips near you: wine country, ghost towns, state parks; and schedule one weekend each month that you check them out.
Book an Airbnb and live like a tourist, 45 minutes away from your own house. Go back to work on Monday bragging about how you were the first city slicker to finish the famous 10 pound burger at Merle’s Diner three towns over.
From Salt Lake City, where I currently live, there’s more weekend adventures than I could do in 5 years of weekends. Some attractions I’ve explored are natural mineral hot springs in Southern Idaho, iconic rock features in Moab, Arches National Park, abandoned mining towns, even Las Vegas six hours away when I’m feeling adventurous. Pull out a map, gas up the car, and have a weekend worth posting to Instagram.
Create instead of consume. It’s easy to just lie around on the weekends, lost in a mindless cycle of Netflix, pizza, Pornhub, repeat. To enjoy every moment of your weekend, schedule time to create something, instead of just consuming media. Write, play guitar, try an exciting new recipe, record a video for the YouTube channel you talked about starting. When we create, we allow the ideas locked in our brains to come out and exist in the physical world.
“Instead of using our physical and mental resources to experience flow, most of us spend many hours each week watching celebrated athletes playing in enormous stadiums. Instead of making music, we listen to platinum records cut by millionaire musicians. …We do not run risks acting on our own beliefs, but occupy hours each day watching actors who pretend to have adventures” -Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Flow
You don’t even have to be good at your chosen artistic pursuit to feel the intense pleasure of creating. When we were children, we loved building tree houses, drawing monsters, princesses, and spaceships. Most of our drawings sucked. The tree house was a fire hazard that couldn’t withstand a strong breeze, but it was FUN.
Experience the simple joy of building, making, and creating this weekend but reigniting an old hobby or project. Many times, this skill or hobby can be easily monetized into an enjoyable side hustle, if you choose. Create SOMETHING.
Do chores during the workweek, or hire them out. It’s better to spend 90 minutes a couple days during the week working on your project, then to burn the whole weekend working when you should be regenerating yourself for the work week ahead.
For fellow homeowners, consider hiring a handyman for the nagging projects that you procrastinate on forever, then spend the entire weekend completing once you do get to it. Calculate the hours you’ll spend driving back and forth from the big box hardware store, researching Youtube videos, then inevitably redoing some part that you did wrong. On top of that, the plain frustration of doing construction on a beautiful Saturday you could be enjoying. It’s worth it to pay someone to complete the job, especially if you find a reliable, reasonable handyman. Your time is better spent figuring out how to make the money back doing something you enjoy, and know how to do. The division of labor is how economies thrive. Circulate your money and save yourself the frustration.
5. Plan a fun activity for Sunday night. Imagine rolling in to the office with a big smile, and funny stories from your bowling night with the boys. A fun Sunday evening ends the weekend with a bang, instead of the sad whimper of laundry and reruns. You should be doing laundry on Tuesdays anyway. The weekends are for fun.
In this article, I quoted Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s national best seller Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The book is a summary of Csikszentmihaly’s decades of research on “the positive aspects of human experience- joy, creativity, the process of total involvement with life”, which he calls “flow”. The book presents principles to “transform boring and meaningless lives into ones full of enjoyment”. For more information about the book, click the link below.