“About those weekend daily themes, Mike…”
That’s what my wife interjected with as she drove me to the airport while I talked about plans for some weekends in the future. I was heading off to a speaking engagement for a few days. Once I got home, she’d be heading out of town for a few days. The weekends throughout the month were going to be out of the ordinary with only one of us would be home with the kids. But once the next month arrived, we’d have our family life back to a sense of normality again and we could resume with Saturdays and Sundays as usual.
That meant my usual themes for those days would affect the family again too.
How I’ve Themed My Weekends
Saturdays have long been my days for focusing on family. There are several things I aligned with this theme, including:
- Leisure time with my immediate family
- Socializing with friends and family
- Household chores and maintenance
- Errands for the home
There are other types of tasks that fall into this theme, but the ones I have showcased above cover a lot of them. The kids have gotten so used to Saturdays being associated with leisure time that when they would ask when we could do things like see the latest superhero movie or have a family outing, they would actually ask what Saturday instead of what day we could do them. They knew that by specifically mentioning a Saturday that the likelihood of getting to do what they wanted would be higher than attaching it to another day of the week.
I emphasize tasks that involve planning on Sundays. Sunday is the start of my week because of its positioning on most paper-based calendars. I also know there are fewer disruptions since most people don’t send emails or work very much on Sundays. By leveraging that I can map out my week and prepare for the days ahead. My family members do their own thing on Sunday while I work – and since I only work partial days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays by picking up my son from school – I make up for that time on Sundays.
I think my wife has been approving and/or tolerant of how I theme the days of the weekend since I started doing it because it gives me clarity (which affords focus) on those days. I definitely want to “walk the talk” when it comes to Daily Theming (and TimeCrafting as a whole) so theming every day of the week is something I need and want to do.
But I also want to make sure I’m not being inconsiderate those that are most important to me while doing so. That’s why when my wife interjected during that drive to the airport, I paid attention to not only what she was suggesting but why she was suggesting it.
“Do you think you could be a bit more flexible with your Saturdays and Sundays?”
I wondered what she meant by that.
“What do you mean?”
She focused on the road and her wording at the same time. I think she was treading carefully because she knew that theming my days was one of the keystones of my personal productivity methodology…a philosophy.
“Well, sometimes the weather sucks on Saturdays. So we really can’t do outdoor family things when that happens. So if you insist that Saturdays are when that kind of stuff can happen and then we get a crappy day outside on a Saturday and a nice day on a Sunday, you’re going to miss out.”
She had a point. A good one.
I didn’t respond right away as I wanted to figure out how this could be a win-win situation. Admittedly, even a couple of years ago I would have been rigid about my Daily Themes. They were still a new element to how I approached my work and life. Any kind of deviation that I didn’t assess and implement wouldn’t have felt…right.
But things change. The way I approach my personal productivity and time management has changed. (In fact, the entire “craft” component of the TimeCrafting methodology/philosophy pretty much compels change and evolution in that I should always strive to hone my crafting of time.)
I wanted to offer that flexibility to my wife and my family. I figured out a way to do that AND still keep my Daily Themes largely intact.
Here’s what I came up with:
- Saturday Daily Theme: Family/Planning
- Sunday Daily Theme: Planning/Family
The first option for each day remained consistent, meaning that unless otherwise decided I would keep Saturday’s focus on family and Sunday’s on planning. But if my wife and I decided during our weekly meeting (yes, my wife and I have a scheduled meeting almost every week) that we needed to alter that for any reason, I’d swap the themes for those days.
Better still, if I decided that planning wasn’t a priority for a weekend I could devote an entire weekend to family activities.
The same could be said for planning activities.
If I was traveling for work or my family had plans that didn’t include me (like my daughter going on a bad trip or my wife taking the kids away for a weekend to visit family out of province), then I could devote my attention to planning on both weekend days.
Sure, I could have divided each day up into Horizontal Themes, spending my time before lunch on planning both days and after lunch with family both days. But that wouldn’t align with my energy levels. And it still wouldn’t have solved my wife’s initial concerns.
TimeCrafting gave me a simple, flexible, and durable way to help make my weekends better for everyone.
“No problem,” I replied to my wife. “Here’s what I think will work.”
I started to share the above insights with her. Again, she interjected.
“I don’t need to know how. I just need to know that it will.”
And it has.