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It’s easy to get into a rut.
I’m not talking about habits or routines, which serve a useful purpose in allowing us to get through our days without having to concentrate and think about every last little thing.
I’m talking about out-and-out ruts, where what you are doing is done simply because you’re used to doing it.
Weekends of Chores
It wasn’t many years ago when my weekends were filled with housework and shopping. We would spend Saturday super-cleaning the house, then Sunday we would do our various errands together. It was a not-so-relaxing way to spend the few large chunks of free time we had.
When my daughter was born, all routines went out the window for us. Our lives revolved around the tasks that an infant requires. As she grew older, we often stayed around the house simply because we were so exhausted during the week we needed time to catch up.
Fast forward a few years. My daughter, now in elementary school, has events and friends that she does on weekends. I no longer do my errands and housework on weekends, but I don’t seem to do much else, either. My time is spent on my projects, or relaxing, or socializing.
I’m not saying that’s bad. But when I looked back over the last year and realized that in spite of living 15 minutes from the ocean, we hadn’t been down there once last year. We also hadn’t gone to any museums, or made trips to any of the major cities within a short drive of us to experience the museums and concerts.
So I was left wondering, “When did the weekends stop being fun?” and, more importantly “How can I make them fun again?”
Making The Weekends Fun
Having fun can be done, even with full work schedules, household chores and a family. It just takes a little planning.
Get Things Done During the Week
No one wants to spend an entire weekend cleaning and grocery shopping. If you get things done during the week, you won’t have to worry about them. Here are some strategies:
- Do cleaning in chunks. If you do certain cleaning every week, break it into small chunks and spread it out over the week. For example, clean the bathroom on Monday night, mop the floor on Tuesday.
- Make cleaning easier. Just because Granny did the floor with a scrub brush doesn’t mean you have to. Find effective tools and use them, like a Sh-Mop or a Roomba.
- Use services. If you’re short on time during the week, use services to help you out. Dry cleaning shops can sometimes deliver to offices, and grocery stores often offer shopping services.
- Batch. Plan your activities so you can combine like activities/areas. If you know that you have to go to the grocery and library, and they are located near each other, make one trip and cover both.
- Do things at lunch. If you are able to, knock out some of your tasks during lunch during the week. A bit of shopping can save time later on.
Modern technology has caused work to bleed into the non-work hours. If you are working at home in the off-hours (evenings or weekends) ask yourself if it is really necessary or required. If you are required to do it (make sure it’s in writing!), then you have to; but if you are doing unnecessary work, stop. If you cannot get all your work done during working hours, this also signals you need to speak to your boss. Most things can wait until the next day.
Turn Off Electronics
One key to getting more done during the week is to limit the interruptions. Turn of the cell phone and pry yourself away from the computer and television during the week. On weekends, try to avoid these time sinks. You might find yourself with lots of time to do something fun!
Have a Plan
Nothing is worse than having time and motivation to have fun, but having no clue what to do. Keep an eye out for local events, and have information on hand (or know where you can get it quickly) about local attractions like museums. Perhaps a place you’ve been meaning to get to? When someone says “Someday I’d like to…” note it down.
Plan Spontaneous Adventures
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but when you see a chunk of time to get out and have an adventure, do a little planning, then do them spontaneously. Know hours, cost and transit time to allow the adventure to happen whenever. Having information makes the difference between a Griswold Vacation and having fun.
I’m hoping to get some more fun back in my weekends. Tonight will be a date with my husband, and Sunday perhaps a trip down to the oceanfront for brunch. Beyond that, we’ll have to see.
Photo by half alive