2013 Reading

Reading 2013: What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend

January 9, 2013

What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off (Laura Vanderkam)

Although I read this book as a stay-at-home mom with three little ones who still need care on the weekends (i.e., weekdays sometimes blur into weekends, though they come accompanied with my husband’s (huge!) help), I nonetheless found this book challenging me to think about how my husband and I (and our children) spend our weekends. Having read Laura’s other time  books, I didn’t find this short ebook introducing novel concepts; yet, it was helpful to see Vanderkam apply some of her time-management concepts to the wisely using the weekend.

Laura shares the paradox of the weekend: for most of us, it comprises around 60 hours–a rather substantial chunk of the 168 hours for an entire week, and yet few of us actually plan ahead. Thus, we end up not maximizing our weekend hours and arriving to Monday unrejuvenated and disappointed at how we once again spent another passing weekend.

Anticipating push-back from parents who feel that children make weekends more difficult, Vanderkam also offers solutions and ideas for parents of small children and busy soccer-scheduled families.

While Laura make it clear that she isn’t recommending jam-packing our weekends full of exhausting plans, she does recommend that, instead, we create anchor point of rejuvenating and memory-building activities that will make our weekends more productive, energizing, and something to anticipate. These days, it is also easy to take our work with us wherever we go, and so it’s important to be intentional about going off-the-grid (whatever that may mean particularly for each of us).

For those with children, this book also highlighted the brevity of the time we have with our children to build and create memories together. This point was illustrated by reminding parents that most of us have around 900 weekends with each of our children (and even some of those will not be years they remember). What a gift to them and to ourselves to use those weekends together and wisely.

Like some of her other works, I sort of have to disagree with Laura on the importance of a clean house ;), but maybe that’s because in our home, neither of us work outside the house (with a few meetings away from home, on his part) and spend a lot of time in our home and a messy house tends to make us all grumpy. However, I can still agree that scheduling in short periods for housecleaning (such as a Friday night) will make us more likely to work quickly to accomplish it, and then be able to use our Saturday and Sunday for other activities.

Reading this book can definitely be a short anchor point for the weekend, and if you’re leaving weekends feeling more tired and unhappy, this might be a helpful read for less than a cup of Starbucks coffee.

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