I think a lot about living with intention—of treating our lives preciously and making really good use of the time that we have in this life. But on a daily basis, so much of my time and energy go into the basics—keeping my kids changed and fed and well-rested, getting my work done, and hanging out with my husband.
It can be hard to spend what little free time I have with intention and doing what I really want to do.
I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s latest book, The Four Tendencies. She essentially divides the population into four categories based on how we respond to internal and external expectations. If you are curious about your tendency, you can take her quiz here. I am an Obliger (with a dose of Questioner), which means that I do great meeting other people’s expectations (meeting deadlines for clients, showing up for appointments on time, taking care of my kids’ needs) and not so great about taking care of myself and my own interests.
One example of that is the difference between a weekend that I planned out intentionally and one that feels like like it happened to me. A weekend that happens to me is one in which I drag my way to the finish line of the week. The house is a mess and we have no food and few plans. But then we just kind of hang out and do the same things we do during the week or spend the whole time filling it with chores we feel like we should do. Some of this is just reality right now with two small children. However, I always feel significantly more refreshed and recharged with just a little bit of planning before the weekend begins.
Let’s say that I know it’s going to be a really snowy weekend (and in Minnesota, this is a fairly common occurrence). When I’m stuck inside on a wintery day, I like to make soup, bake cookies, and watch a good movie. But if I wait until the weekend, I might not have the energy or motivation to go out into the wintery weather and get ingredients. I probably won’t think about a movie I actually want to see. I’ll just look through Netflix until I find something that isn’t too obnoxious, and then spend most of the time "watching it" just scrolling through Instagram. However, with just a little bit of planning ahead of time, I can pick out what recipes to make, grab the ingredients before the storm, and spend a few minutes reading movie reviews to pick the perfect movie.
Another piece of this planning that works well is that I get to anticipate my weekend. I can really get excited about whatever recipes I’m making and my time watching a movie. I am less likely to have my phone open if it’s something I really want to watch. I am more likely to be present and enjoy whatever it is that I have planned, even though my amount of free time is fairly limited.
This all starts with something that sounds simple but can actually be pretty challenging for those of us who struggle to meet our own expectations.
Think about the most awesome version of yourself. The one that sometimes makes an appearance in real life, but is often just a figment of your imagination. Maybe this person gets up early on the weekends to go kayaking or is working on writing a novel. Maybe this person volunteers regularly or is an amateur chef. It doesn’t really matter what the most awesome version of yourself is like—these are your own interests and ideas. But most likely, there is something (or maybe a few things) that you imagine yourself doing more regularly in your spare time. But when you actually get the chance, it can be hard to get yourself to do whatever it is that the dreamy version of yourself does on a regular basis.
Yep, it’s difficult to understand why we sometimes have trouble doing things that we actually like, but we are often stretched so thin taking care of the basics that there is little time or energy for the things that make our lives worth living.
Are you interested in spending your weekends more intentionally, doing what the most awesome version of yourself would do?
Here are 5 steps to making it happen:
- Get clear on how you want to FEEL over the weekend. Relaxed? Energized? Well-rested? Content? Exhilarated?
- Think about what activities you could do that will elicit that feeling.
- Pick one of those activities and schedule it into your next available weekend. Put it on the calendar.
- Schedule in one additional block of time before that weekend to do any necessary planning and supply gathering.
- Sit back and anticipate your fun weekend, and then when it rolls around, enjoy the hell out of it! Take a few pictures but set aside the temptation to make everything Instagram-worthy. Enjoy this time with yourself or with your friends and family. We never know how many opportunities we will get to do the things we really, truly enjoy with those we love the most.
So that’s it! It all comes down to the process of identifying what it is that you want to spend more time on, scheduling it in, allowing enough time to put the pieces together beforehand, and then going for it!
Also know that it is totally okay to sit on the couch and binge-watch an entire season of something on Netflix. But even that feels better when it is a show you truly look forward to watching, when you invite someone to watch it with you, and when you pick up some truly epic snacks ahead of time.
How does the super awesome version of yourself spend time on the weekends? And what are your blocks or obstacles to making it happen on a regular basis?
P.S. You also might like It's All About That Energy