How to make your weekends last longer

Imagine, it’s Friday afternoon, and work is nearly over for a couple of days. You’re feeling excited about all of the fun possibilities that lay in store over the coming 48 hours. You just can’t wait to get stuck into those delicious activities you’ve got planned.

The usual please Bob…

Your weekend then plays out like this… You enjoy an amazing meal at a great restaurant with your friends on Friday night. then on Saturday morning you lie in for a bit, then go and get a sweat on at the gym.

Next you have a nice lunch with your family. Saturday evening you enjoy that new musical you’ve been dying to see. Then you wake up on Sunday morning, and have breakfast. Then you and your partner catch up on your household chores. After your chores you watch a few hours television, before heading into town to buy a few bits, before coming home and making dinner. After dinner you watch a bit more tv, then go on Facebook to see what everyone’s up to before finally slipping in to bed around 10pm.

Blimey, is that the time?

As you get in to bed you wonder where your weekend’s gone, and feel that oh so familiar Sunday night feeling when you know you’ve got work in the morning. You’d do anything to be able to rewind a few hours back just to make your weekend last a bit longer…

Sound familiar?

Many of us feel we don’t have a good enough work/life balance. John Maynard Keynes the British Economist predicted many years back that we’d all be working 15 hour weeks by now. But for now that doesn’t look like being anywhere on the horizon, so we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got until the robots hand us plenty of (or permanent!) leisure time.

Is less more or is more more?

In today’s culture it seems that more equals more when it comes to activities in our free time. Its definitely uncouth to announce on Facebook that you’re not really up to much this weekend. Just watch how few likes you’d get for a status update like that. You’d be kicked out of the cool club in no time. Yup, nowadays if you’re not climbing a mountain at the weekend, out shopping for a showroom car or jumping out of an aeroplane your social stock takes a dramatic tumble.

“Can’t stop now, I’m far too important”

Somehow we’ve come to equate busyness with importance in our lives. We have to be busy to feel worthwhile. With this in mind it makes sense why we feel we have to be piling on the weekend activities to ensure we’re still as important as we’d like to think.

But is more necessarily better? Consider only being allowed to have one chocolate versus being allowed to have as many as you want? Which one has more meaning. Or how about, just one glass of wine versus a whole bottle? I’m a fan of Czech lager, and for me just enjoying one bottle is far more satisfying than attempting to drink six or seven (believe me I’ve tried)

Psychological time

Have you ever noticed how days at work seem to absolutely fly by when your workload is stacked and you don’t have a moment to breathe, but when your schedule is a little thinner it feels as if somebody’s taken the batteries out of the clock.

I think we should apply this perceptual principle to our weekends…

If you’d like to expand your weekends you have to begin saying no to overloading it with constant activities, and begin setting some limits. Doing more doesn’t necessarily make us more, although it may feel that way. Anyway, bit of down time in between activities works wonders for the mind.

Experiment with limits

Set a limit on the number of activities you will engage in over the weekend, and stick to it. See how that makes you feel, then experiment with the number. See how going lower makes you feel. Step into discomfort. Be brave, it won’t kill you (although it may be social media suicide if you announce it!) Then when you reach a number that makes you happy stick with it.

Remember, more stuff does’t equal more meaning. In facts it results in less meaning. By applying limits to the amount of activities we instantly force the most important ones to the top, resulting in us only doing stuff that’s meaningful, and partnering it with plenty of mind rejuvenating down time.

The memoirs of a do-aholic

As an ex-complulsive do-er I used to have to ensure every moment of my day was crammed with stuff, just so I didn’t have to face the terrifying ordeal of having to actually sit down alone with my mind. But over the years as I’ve improved my relationship with my mind I’ve found that quiet time isn’t something to be avoided at all costs, but instead something essential to a balanced mind. Remember, it’s the silence between the notes that adds the beauty to music.

A word from the wise..

To help keep you motivated to expand your free time, keep in mind the words of the 20th century French writer Antoine De-Saint Exupery, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

Jonathan Pittam

Mental Health & Resilience trainer

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