What do you have planned for the weekend? Anything you’re looking forward to? Or is your weekend likely to be filled with to-do-lists, followed by a slump on the sofa in the evening... and a skim read of the papers.
Sometimes we focus on cramming so much in during the week, that by the weekend we just want to kick back and do nothing. And that’s absolutely fine.
But all too often, we can get to Monday morning wondering “Where did the weekend go?” We have no new memories to hold onto. No new experiences to look back on. The house may be a bit cleaner. The laundry may be folded. But there’s a sense of disappointment. Of time having passed us by.
So how do you make sure your weekends don’t just slip through your fingers?
While spontaneity is all well and good, sometimes we need to put a bit more effort into planning. Because without at least a rough plan, it’s all too easy to get to Saturday and decide you want a night out only to discover that all the restaurants are booked up, theatre tickets are sold out, and friends are busy.
With a little bit of forward planning, your weekends could deliver so much more. Because, as the author Nora Roberts said, “Live, enjoy. Feed ravenously. Or the biggest regret you'll have at the end of your life is wasted time.”
With that in mind, here are a few tips for making the most of your glorious weekends.
Make a list of the activities you want to try over the next few months. Your list could include anything from exploring a local beauty spot to watching a play , visiting a theme-park (with or without children!), running a 10k, visiting old friends or taking a language class.
Add a note about who might join you for each activity. Do you want to see the play with a partner, a friend or a family member? Perhaps there are activities for a group of you. Which ones would you rather do on your own?
Prioritise your list. Which most excite you? If you could only pick 10, which would they be? Split the list into activities that need booking in advance and those that can be a last-minute decision. Figure out suitable dates for the activities that need booking.
Try to spread the more expensive - in terms of time and energy, as well as money - activities out over a few months. Buy tickets or make a note in your calendar for when you need to book your place.
Add your planned activities to a wall planner. It’s much more visual than a digital calendar and allows you to see where you have empty spaces or periods that are starting to look a bit too packed.
Don’t plan something for every single weekend. And try to make sure that most weekends have room for spontaneity and several pockets of free time. You want to end each weekend feeling rejuvenated not exhausted.
The month ahead
At least once a month, have a look over what you have planned for the next few weeks. Do you want to book anything else in, like a meal out or a trip to the cinema? Check your activity list again. Which activities are calling to you? Who do you want to spend more time with?
Likewise, are any weekends looking too full? Do you want to scale some things back or move activities to a different date?
Gearing up for the weekend
Make time on Monday to think about the upcoming weekend. What do you want to achieve from it? Do you want to fully unwind from work, socialise with friends or spend time in the garden?
Consider your planned weekend in relation to the rest of the week. If work is going to be really hectic, you might want a quieter weekend. Or if you’re going to be in your home office most of the week, you might want to get out into nature. With this in mind, do you want to change any of your plans?
You’ll also need to consider any responsibilities you need to fit in, like taking the car for a service, (always a joy) tidying the garden or sorting the laundry. Could you tick any of those off earlier in the week rather than leaving them until the weekend?
If you have fixed responsibilities, like taking a child to a swimming lesson, can you make the most of that time? Maybe you could download a new book to read while you’re waiting or invite a friend to meet you for coffee at a nearby café.
Don’t forget to confirm plans with friends and family if necessary and figure out if you need to do anything to prepare for the weekend.
A final point…A great weekend doesn’t have to a busy one. Your perfect weekend might well involve long lie-ins, leisurely afternoons and pottering around the house. If that’s what makes you happy, then don’t change a thing. But if you often end your weekends feeling bored and restless, then making plans could well be the solution.