Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Laura Vanderkam Once Again

Despite the fact that I've moved away from strictly books in this blog, it wouldn't be Words from the Sowul without a little homage to Laura Vanderkam now and then.

I've had her latest mini e-book, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend, in my Kindle queue for a few weeks. It's the second in a trilogy, following What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and preceding a yet-unreleased book. (I've also written posts about two of her other books, All The Money in the World and the oft-quoted, life-changing 168 Hours.)

As I discovered when I read it on Sunday (it's short- I read it in about half an hour, like the previous one) the new e-book is the perfect compliment to my latest thoughts on planning leisure time, which I wrote about in my most recent blog post Planning My Days. (Getting tired of all the links? Okay, I'll stop.)

In this book, Vanderkam talks about the importance of scheduling one's weekends with life-enhancing activities, just as one schedules workdays with career-building appointments. Don't be put off by the world "schedule," which often has negative connotations. Vanderkam recommends planning what she calls "anchor events," four to five activities to balance your weekend. For example, happy hour with coworkers on Friday afternoon; family breakfast on Saturday morning; long bike ride on Saturday afternoon; Skype with long-distance relatives mid-day Sunday; game night with friends on Sunday night. Doesn't that sound like a fun weekend? There is still plenty of "free" time in that schedule, but you're more likely to enjoy it because you've planned the rest.

Vanderkam claims that by planning our weekends, we are much more likely to participate in rich and rewarding activities that boost our spirits as we anticipate them throughout the previous week. Conversely, we are much less likely to loaf about, watching television and surfing the internet in the name of "relaxing," and ending a weekend without any happy memories to get us through the following week. She reminds us that while there are many hours in a weekend, there are only 52 weekends in a year, and less than 15 in a season. For example, there are only 3-4 weekends in the Christmas season, and 3-4 weekends with beautiful fall foliage in the Northeast. If you plan ahead for those weekends, you can create wonderful memories that last you the rest of the year. If you don't, well, you won't.

This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post, except better-researched and better-written. I've said it dozens of times before: read her books. They really will change the way you think about your life and what you can do with time, the one resource we all have the same amount of.

And this coming weekend, due to Presidents* day, we all have an extra 24 hours to create anchor events for! Here are my plans for the weekend so far:

Friday afternoon: Happy hour with husband at new favorite restaurant (Mom babysitting)
Saturday morning: Breakfast at the Millbrook diner with husband and baby and possibly a walk around Millbrook, weather permitting
Saturday afternoon: Still unplanned, but husband says I can have some time to myself!
Sunday morning: Step class at the gym
Sunday mid-day/afternoon: Long visit with my best friend
Monday: Still unplanned, teaching private lessons in the late afternoon

I'm already looking forward to everything on the list, and the unscheduled times in between.

Thanks again, Ms. Vandkerkam!

(*I just looked it up to see whether it should be written Presidents' day, belonging to the two presidents it celebrates, or Presidents day, no apostrophe, like Veterans day- which really should be Veterans' day, because it belongs to the veterans. I did not find an answer. Does anyone know?)

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