Friday, December 28, 2012

Vanderkam, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend

Time management expert Laura Vanderkam has written such books as 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. Her latest offering is What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off (Penguin, 2012). It’s a very quick read that might be helpful to some people who want to have a more fulfilling 2013.

The basic message is that at least part of every weekend should be planned. Otherwise what should be a leisurely weekend will most likely become either a slothful one or a marathon of exhausting chores. Moreover, the non-planner will miss the joy of anticipation. “When you plan enjoyable things ahead of time, you magnify the pleasure.”

Admittedly, Vanderkam’s examples of “awesome” weekends sound like excursions into hell to me. Take weekend #1, with events alternating between evening and day: friends over for game night, family beach trip, family dinner at a restaurant near the beach that you’ve been meaning to try, church, leisurely walk around the neighborhood. Weekend #2 starts with karaoke at a bar with friends, not much of an improvement as far as I’m concerned.

But even if I would be a miserable participant in Vanderkam’s “awesome” weekends (if you’ve read Susan Cain’s Quiet, you’d understand why), the basic idea of planning a few events makes sense. Moreover, after you’ve had your great Sunday evening event, “you still have one more thing to do to secure your weekend’s awesome status: carve out at least a few minutes to plan the week ahead. Schedule not just what you have to do, but what you want to do.”

Somehow I doubt that I’ve read what the most successful people do on the weekend. Can you imagine Jamie Dimon at a karaoke bar? But weekends are important and many of us let them dribble away. Personally, I devote much of my weekend time to reading and writing. If I had all those “awesome” (I hope you are beginning to understand how much I hate the hijacking of this adjective) weekends, you’d not have the pleasure of reading this blog.

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