You probably spend a fair amount of time planning your big vacations. How do you get there? Where will you stay? What will you do while you’re there? What will you take with you?
It would be crazy to show up at the airport without all these details thought through in advance. Nobody shows up at the airport with just the clothes on their back to ask where the next available flight is headed.
That would be a memorable—if not enjoyable—vacation.
Do you give your evenings and weekends the same amount of thought?
You should, if you want to live the best life you can.
There’s a common misperception that planning and productivity are about getting more work done. Therefore, when it’s not time to work, it’s not time to plan.
I get it. You work hard. When you go home, the last thing you want to do is deal with more structure. You want to just put your feet up and relax.
It’s natural to want to let the pendulum swing the other way.
If you’re not careful, you know where that leads? Nights binging TV shows on the couch with a bag of chips. Mondays searching for an answer to how your weekend was because you can’t remember a thing you did.
One-third of your week gone. Not even memorable, much less enjoyable.
What if you could walk into work each day, renewed and refreshed? Or come back from the weekend, rejuvenated and relaxed?
Are your friends and family—and yourself—worth thinking about as much as your job?
You don’t need to strictly schedule your time offstage. In fact, it’s probably better to paint with broader strokes there. But you should ask yourself some of the following questions as part of your weekly review:
- What movie would you like to see?
- What tv shows would you like to watch?
- What foods would you like to try?
- What restaurants would you like to try?
- Who would you like to spend time with?
- Is there someplace you’d like to visit?
- What games would you like to play?
- What talent, skill, or hobby would you like to develop?
These questions help you explore the kind of “valuable Quadrant II activities” Stephen R. Covey, Roger Merrill, and Rebecca Merrill talk about in First Things First:
Quadrant II organizing helps us to make weekly renewal part of a balanced lifestyle. Instead of living day after day pressed up against the urgent until we feel we have to break out and escape to Quadrant IV, we can proactively plan genuine re-creation and renewal as needed change of pace between creative periods. Renewal is not mindless, purposeless escape activity. …
When we escape to Quadrant IV, the change of pace gives some relief, but we generally feel empty and dissatisfied, neither renewed nor re-created.
Catch the difference? It’s your intent that makes the difference. Downtime can either be wasted in Quadrant IV or invested in Quadrant II. It just depends on whether you steer your ship or drift with the current.
After the week has broken you down, build yourself back up. Spend time creating yourself again.
Take vacations. They’re like weekends, but bigger and better. You have greater opportunity to switch gears and relax.
When you plan your week, plan your downtime, too. Nothing’s set in stone, but think about what you’re going to do. Give the other two-thirds of your life the attention it deserves. Your family and friends will appreciate the difference. You’ll stay sharper for work, too.