We all know how important it is to plan your week at work. Daily ‘To Do’ lists scattered on desks; post it notes stuck to everything, salesforce prompting calls to clients. Without planning, ‘doing business’ falls apart, time is wasted and people get distracted, working without cause or structure is just silly.
And so we come to an insight on weekends that people resist: a good weekend needs a plan. I’m not talking a minute-by-minute plan, or a spreadsheet full of costs, not even a Gaant chart, but just a few (preferably fun) anchor events penciled in ahead of time.
On some level, people are already attuned to this. In one study by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, he studied people being told they’d won a free dinner at a posh restaurant. When asked when they would like to schedule the dinner, most people wanted to wait, on average for a week before heading over-to savor the anticipation of their free dinner and to optimise pleasure gleaned from the experience.
Planning a few fun events for the weekend or even an hour or two just to relax gives us something to anticipate, something to look forward to, even if at the time it isn’t that enjoyable- That feeling of ‘at the weekend I am going to….’ is something very beautiful.
For those that don’t plan, yes you may feel spontaneous and free to chop and change right up until the last moment when the weekend hits…but what if you use essential free time up negotiating with friends, family or loved ones trying to decide on what to do? The restaurant you fancy may be booked up (by planners) but even if you do get a table, surely the food would taste better if you had looked forward to it, for me, those thoughts serve to magnify the pleasure once it finally arrives.
In all if you want to enjoy your weekend, give yourself something to look forward to. We all work hard during the week and deserve to make the most of our time away from the post it notes and spreadsheets. Don’t burn up willpower thinking about what to do, make a plan go with it, if it goes off on a tangent enjoy it, but always start with a bit of forward planning.