Redefining The Weekend
'No weekend; all weakened.' - Toba Beta
There are times in my industry where the term 'weekend' is a distant friend. Perhaps you experience the same thing. To receive two, restful days off is something that really doesn't happen to you on a regular basis.
Some of us can't realistically take a full weekend sometimes. But we all should.
Well, guess what? The weekend doesn't necessarily need to take the form of two days in a row with nothing but social plans, sleeping in, and the occasional day or night of overindulging.
Let's take a look at what the word, 'weekend' actually means:
Our friend Merriam-Webster defines weekend as, "the end of the week: the period between the close of one work or school week and the start of the next; especially Saturday and Sunday."
Allow me to change that definition just slightly:
Done By Friday's version:
"The mental end of a day or week. The period of mental and physical rest between the close of one day of work or school, and the start of the next; with breaks in-between. Especially, when one makes the time for these mental and physical breaks."
Yes, friends. The weekend should not be driven by a physical calendar, and it certainly shouldn't be driven by someone else other than ourselves.
I'm going to paint a picture:
In the summer of 2016, I worked full-force in Cleveland and Philadelphia on the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. (Not the place for THAT conversation, folks.)
During the month of July, I worked almost four weeks straight with no 'weekend;' or in this case, 'mental or physical break from work obligations.' That's right. The job was in my face the whole time and I couldn't say 'no' to taking 24 hours off from my gig. As with everything else in life, there came an end to the project and a real calendar weekend when it was all over. Even though the paycheck was nice, that job taught me something: I needed to plan my breaks; and if I couldn't stick to the schedule, then I needed to adjust and re-plan my breaks.
A weekend should be a mental and physical break from your extended job, daily duties, and tasks. It isn't necessarily 'me time,' but it is an awareness of your life outside of obligations, work, and daily routines. There needs to be a series of breaks, distractions, etc. to make sure that we are turning off our brains to enjoy the world around us and our life. We have to take a step back and appreciate people and things that aren't in front of our faces when our heads are buried. Whether that is for 10 minutes a day, or 10 hours a day, it is up to us.
And we need to schedule our own weekends. We can't let them schedule us.
So, what is your weekend? What makes you feel like you don't have to have your head buried in work or daily tasks?
I would encourage you to write down what you like to do in YOUR time. Whether that is by yourself, or with friends and family. Hobbies, interests, SLEEP. (Yes, sleeping is good for us!) Even if it becomes 5 things or 15 things, write them down and get them into your calendar. When we're trying to stay fit or lose weight, our fitness instructors always tell us to schedule our workouts so that we will hold ourselves accountable.
This is why we schedule our weekends. We need to hold ourselves and our time accountable.
So how would you schedule your weekend?
Well, it might look something like this:
You can't take a full 48 hours on Saturday and Sunday as a weekend. You have to work X amount of hours or do something that takes up your personal time.
Find out how much time you can actually take for yourself on the 'weekend' and then distribute the time you're working or doing additional tasks to other days that you might be able to take personal time.
You could say that you're accruing your own vacation or weekend hours. (Which is what you're actually doing!)
Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
I have to work on a project for 6 hours on Saturday. Those 6 hours that I have to work on the weekend get re-distributed to another day or over the course of several days. The key is to actually look at your calendar and get those hours in the books. That way, you are holding yourself accountable for your weekend time. Even if you check email on the weekends, that time goes back into your hourly bank of weekend hours. Are you following me?
The point here is to take back your weekend even if you can't take a full one. Sound complicated? I invite you to try it. Really take stock of how you're spending your hours on the next calendar weekend that rolls around (or whatever days you call your 'weekend'). Write down what you're doing or what you did. How much time did you spend doing something that really felt like you had a weekend to recharge your battery? Where can you re-distribute the time that you couldn't take on the weekend? Perhaps it means taking a break during the week and doing something you might have done on the weekend. Hey, you might even teach your boss at work something.
Start writing down your personal time. We always seem to track our detailed work and task to-do lists (check out my To-Do List Tuesday videos on social media!). Start tracking your weekend hours. It's time to redefine what a weekend can and should be.