Your weekend might be the most important time of the week. It’s not only the end of one week, but also the beginning, the setup, for the next. If used correctly, it can be a great way to wrap up a successful week or to recover from a difficult one. If used correctly, it can be a great springboard for an awesome week ahead.
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If used incorrectly, it can end a great week on a sour note and set up an even worse week ahead. All because you make one or more of the five mistakes I share below.
5 mistakes most people make on their weekends
1. Not reflecting on the week that was.
You don’t spend time looking back. You don’t dig into what went right and what went wrong.
When you don’t review your week, the lessons you learned get lost, successes aren’t celebrated, and you tend to lose track of ongoing projects. When you start on Monday, it’s as if you are starting all over, rather than picking up where you left off.
Spend 15-30 minutes on Friday evening or Saturday morning reviewing your week. What went right? What went wrong? What lessons did you learn? Who helped you? (You’ll want to write them a thank you note) What are your most important projects for the upcoming week?
Keep this in a journal so you can review it quarterly for patterns.
2. Not making time for downtime.
I know for a fact that this can be hard. Yard work, haircut, grocery shopping, birthday party, house cleaning, writing a book, getting the oil changed…you have to do them all.
But what about rest? What about some downtime? When you don’t have downtime, your uptime is not as up (I know, the sentence was profound). When you’re out of gas, you can’t run anymore.
I remembered just how important this was recently as I spent three hours on a Sunday afternoon watching a golf tournament. Nothing else. I literally did something I enjoyed that required no effort from me…for three hours.
I slept great on Sunday night and woke up Monday morning blazing.
How did I make this happen? I scheduled the time. Tara and I planned to watch the golf tournament. You have to do the same. You must put some time on your calendar each weekend that is non-negotiable downtime.
Schedule a Sunday afternoon nap. Or time to curl up with a good book (such as one of these). Or to do whatever it is you want to do.
3. Not pursuing joy.
Similar to not making time for downtime, most of you probably don’t make time for a joyful pursuit.
The famous runner, Eric Liddell best described joyful pursuits when he explained what running does for him:
When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.
You likely don’t take the time to feel God’s pleasure. To do that one thing that brings you joy.
Pursue at least one joyful activity each weekend. Maybe it’s running, like Liddell. Or perhaps it’s painting or playing the piano.
Whatever your joyful pursuit is, make time for it each weekend.
4. Staying within your boundaries.
Do you feel like your weekends are mundane and repetitive? You’re always in the same places, doing the same things, weekend after weekend.
Failure to get out and explore new places and activities is a surefire recipe to living in a rut and entering the week ahead tired and depressed.
Get out and explore. It doesn’t have to be expensive or even cost anything beyond a gallon of gas. Sometimes it can even be in your backyard or a park or nature area right next to your home.
Drive to a small town nearby, go to a different park than the one you normally go to, or try a new restaurant. Go for a run through a new neighborhood, shop at a different grocery store, or go to an art museum (assuming that is not your usual weekend routine).
Full disclosure…I suck at this. My wife, Tara, is more of the explorer and I am more of the routine person. Now I am on record as saying this is important, so she can hold me to it.
5. Not ending on a high note.
You end the weekend on a bad note or at best a “blah” note. You pay bills, do the dishes, or any of the myriad of other things that “must” be done.
Sunday night is mundane and you go to bed wishing the weekend had ended better. And then Monday…
Make Sunday night sacred time. I don’t mean sacred in the religious sense. I mean that, if all else fails, Sunday night is your night.
Try your best to get everything that must be done (bills, house cleaning, etc.) completed on Saturday morning or early afternoon so you have the rest of the weekend, and especially Sunday night, for the best.
The last four hours of your weekend before you go to bed should be the time you reserve for joyful pursuits, relaxing, and reinvigorating yourself for the week ahead. You’ve planned your week already, you’ve finished your weekend work, and you’ve explored new things. Now, end the weekend well.
Watch a movie together as a family, play a game, talk to an old friend, or simply sit on the porch and enjoy the sunset while eating together. There are hundreds of ways that you can end your weekend on the right note and set the week up for success.
Action item: Identify one mistake (even if you make all five) and focus correcting that for the next four weekends. If you need more rest, focus on getting more rest. If your biggest mistake is not exploring more, get out and explore. Make the next four weekends your best ever.
You can use your weekends better. Now, go make this one your best yet.
What are you going to do to make this a better weekend?