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We used to let weekends just slip through our fingers! We felt so relieved to have a break from our busy schedules, we didn’t want to plan anything. Instead, we woke up purposeless, asking each other, “What do you want to do?” like the vultures in Disney’s The Jungle Book. Either we took so long to come up with an idea that we ran out of time to make it happen, we tried to fit everything in and felt exhausted by Monday, or we ended up fighting over our opposing ideas instead of making any happen. While it’s tempting to blame the kids for making weekends feel indomitable, we wasted weekends because of our failure to communicate effectively and plan our time. Since then, we have implemented a few manageable changes that have had a major impact. Now, we conquer our weekends, and you can, too.
Plan your time
Dave Ramsey says, “If you don’t tell your money where to go, you’re going to wonder where it went.” We’ve found that the same principle applies to our time.
Believe it or not, even with four kids, our weekends feature laundry, errands with or without kids, a date, visiting with friends, quality family time (including one-on-one time with our kids), work, cleaning, a nap, home improvement, exercise, paying bills, or pretty much anything we want to do on a weekend. We conquer our weekends because we PLAN them.
We always wanted to be adventurous with our kids, but to fit in all the hikes, trips, and experiences, we had to take control over our weekends. Now, at the very least, on Friday night we discuss our weekend plan: what we each need, what we want to get accomplished, and how we want to invest any free time.
Even better, once a month, we make it a point to review our calendar for the upcoming month. We look at our open weekends and free days, and pencil in bigger activities that we wouldn’t just do on the fly, like bundling up four kids and taking them on a winter hike, or an activity from our shared list of family adventure ideas.
On weekends sprinkled with family events and commitments, we take stock of what we need and want to get from our free time. For us, the weekends are very much for balancing our energy. When we’ve had a super busy week, then we take the weekend to slow down and recharge our batteries. If the kids have a school event in the afternoon, we might plan a quick house project that we know we can knock out beforehand. If we think the kids feel cooped up, we hit the zoo or a hiking trail. When either of us needs alone time, a nap, or a morning to sleep in, we work together to make it happen. Whatever we need from the weekend as individuals and as a family, we communicate it, we coordinate it, and we conquer it.
Establish your priorities
Initially, when we began learning to conquer our weekends, we prioritized one thing on Saturday: groceries. Groceries were one of the biggest stressors throughout the week, so we decided to capitalize on our free time to tackle that first. It immediately paid off by relieving a lot of stress, both on the weekends and during the week.
That’s when we established Saturday non-negotiables: tasks that will make our lives way easier and less stressful when they’re complete, allowing us to do more of what we love. Some tasks that most frequently earn a spot on the list include groceries, laundry, dishes, watering the plants, cleaning the kitchen, and tidying the kids’ areas. As we approach each weekend, we consider what we need to prioritize for our family.
For example, Nicole tries to finish the laundry during the week, but if we have a crazy week, we put it on our Saturday non-negotiable list. When we’re on the same page about priorities, we accomplish what our family needs in order to run smoothly. Plus, we work together to complete these tasks, so there’s no resentment or a feeling of workload imbalance.
Taking back Sunday (and Saturday)
We have found that intentionally planning our weekends does not make them less restorative or less productive. Rather, it is a way of loving your partner more intimately by reducing stress and meeting each other’s needs as a team.
Your weekends don’t need to be stressful, chaotic, or useless. You can take back control, cross tasks off your to-do list, and get the rest you need. You can thrive every weekend. It starts with identifying your basic needs as an individual, as a couple, and as a family. With everyone on the same page, you’re ready to invest your time in whatever will leave you feeling refreshed and accomplished at the end of each weekend. Are you ready to conquer your weekends?
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