Do your workweeks ever seem to fly by in a blur? Whether you’re heads-down focused on a single task or running around like crazy, things can feel hectic during the week. Errands, chores, and other tasks tend to pile up until there’s time to tackle them.
Brian and I used to set aside casual to-dos until our weekends. We saved task after task for days that we had more free time. Can you guess what started happening on our days off? Instead of relaxing and having easy mornings, we were up and at ’em until nearly sundown. Our weekends became just as busy as our weekdays. Come Sunday nights, we fell into bed only to wake up and hit the ground running again.
We realized that we needed to change our strategy. Otherwise, we were headed for a serious burnout. Brian and I reprioritized our schedules to make sure our weekends became ours again.
We made some changes to simplify our weekends and commitments. Running around can only last for so long! So, armed with purpose and intention, we looked forward to our week so that we can enjoy our weekends.
1. Intentional Rest & Sleep
Aside from special occasions, our crazy late nights are mostly behind us. Brian and I prefer not to stay up too late. We try to stick to a bedtime routine so that we generally feel relaxed before we get some shut eye. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t – especially when Brian’s throat rattles all night!
In any case, choosing to be intentional with sleep allows us to feel more rested the next day. It’s no fun jumping into anything when you’re irritable and low on energy! More rest means a more relaxed presence to take the day as it comes.
2. Wake Up Early
Are you able you squeeze an extra hour or two into your day? Waking up early has been super beneficial for us. While this means we need to make sure we get to bed early, starting the day earlier also means that we have a little more time for ourselves. We can take care of some of our errands, have a little downtime, and get focused for the day.
There are days when I wake up at 3:30AM. Waking up early during our work week means that things are streamlined and handled before we actually get into the weekend! It’s been a great strategy for us.
3. Clean a Little Every Day
When I clean, I clean. I prefer a serious deep clean, which kind of gets on Brian’s nerves sometimes. If I leave my cleaning to once a week, it could take me a good 6-8 hours to clean the house. Who wants to constantly spend that much time cleaning on their day off? I know I don’t!
Cleaning a little every day allows me to deep clean for a solid hour rather than multiple. For example, since I keep the floors swept and vacuumed, it doesn’t take me very long to wipe down the baseboards. Throughout the week, I’ll find myself:
- Making the bed each morning
- Wiping down the kitchen and bathroom counters
- Sweeping the kitchen and bathroom floors
- Putting away dishes
- Doing loads of laundry
Breaking these tasks down throughout the week keeps the heavy duty cleaning to a minimum on my day off. Not only does this cleaning schedule feel lighter for us, but it keeps the house (and my mind!) clean and organized.
4. Grocery Shop During the Week
I never truly liked grocery shopping on the weekends. If I HAD to go, then I would do my best to arrive very early in the morning or late at night. I’m not one for crowds, especially the ‘weekend browsers’ who mosey along while leaving carts in the middle of the aisles. No, thanks!
We grocery shop at six different stores, depending on the best sales. If we go when there are crowds or traffic, our shopping could take hours! Instead, I grocery shop a couple of times during the week, usually starting on Wednesday when the weekly specials are released. The selection is plentiful, crowds are minimal, and there is no sacrificing time during the weekend.
5. Break Down Big Tasks
Do you have a huge project looming over your head? You don’t have to tackle it one fell swoop. Consider breaking it down into smaller tasks throughout the week. That way, if you do have to dedicate time on your day off, it won’t feel too overwhelming.
Breaking down big to-dos has helped Brian and me navigate challenging obstacles. From home improvement projects to lawn care and cleaning, our small successes lead to bigger successes and, ultimately, more free time.
6. Specify a Self-Care Goal
Before you begin your weekend, write down one reasonable self-care goal that you would like to accomplish. Brian and I are guilty of going through the chaotic motions of our workweek only to enter into our weekend asking one another, “What do you feel like doing today?”. Not only have we felt uncertain and frustrated with our lack of answers or interest to do anything specific, but it has also left us unfulfilled with the little time we have off!
When Brian and I nail down a specific goal, we feel way more relaxed and focused. Wasting time trying to figure out what we feel like doing is never a great way to wind down on the weekends. We’ve chosen to accomplish small and big goals alike:
- Catch some extra z’s
- Cook a meal
- Visit one of our favorite vintage stores
- Replace a shower cartridge
- Install an exterior door
With direction and purpose, you won’t feel like you’re wasting any time. At least we don’t, that’s for sure. So, what would you like to accomplish on your day off? Think about it, commit to it, and make it happen!
Commitments are different for everyone. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately, particularly on your days off, consider ways you can simplify your life. Take your weekends back. Create your own time during your downtime.
The strategies above have worked well for Brian and me. While our projects are endless and our days run into nights, we’ve learned that we work best when we simplify our time off. It gives us time to breathe and focus on the bigger picture. Try out some of the ideas above or some of your own that help you simplify your time off.
What ways work best for you? Comment below!
Ah, to be young and energetic. Many of us had routines or systems that helped us keep an orderly life while our commitments to others was minimal. Adding a child or pet or caring for a aged parent can suddenly and relentlessly throw your carefully prepared schedules into turmoil. As a father of five, I can tell you that there were precious few non-work times where I didn’t operate outside of ‘interrupt mode’. I recall about 25 years of living with a list of to-dos that I would somehow handle as the time and energy allowed, usually ON the weekend. It is with some regret that I had to steal mental health moments for myself to keep from being an ogre.
Yes, your advice is sound and admirable but remember life happens, be ready to go with the flow. I have no regrets with my hectic, non-organized adventure. I have overcome some personal frailties and found my soulmate. Together we managed to feed, clothe, and provide shelter for our family. Little victories. Life is good, even when it goes sideways.
Ah, that is so true. Adding others into the mix inevitably causes unexpected left turns all across this journey! It’s important to keep that energy in mind, especially as commitments, obligations, and other treasures pop in and out of our lives. While you can make way for the unexpected, it’s equally important to maintain the expectation that there will always be unexpected moments throughout the adventure – that’s what makes it all an adventure, after all. Little victories, like you say. Life is a journey. Life is good, even with the interruptions, side streets, and a few wrong turns!