For years, I started work early every Friday morning so I could be seated in a movie theater by 4:45 p.m. watching the latest movie release by 5 p.m.
An early movie, followed by a leisurely Italian meal with great wine were my segue to the perfect weekend. This combo provided me with a simple yet effective transition from my professional world to my personal world, and somehow made my weekends seem longer, richer and more relaxing. My weekends became mini-vacations to me, even if they were filled with chores and other mundane activities, because they always began on a high note.
Part of the effectiveness of my habit was I had a plan, which gave me something to look forward to each and every weekend. Even something as simple as movie and dinner can feel fantastic, if you love them both. Never underestimate the value of having a plan, especially a fun one.
Another positive aspect was my plan was easy to execute. Dinner and a movie were doable without a great deal of effort and fanfare. (I know movie and dinner out for those of you with young families isn’t easy – perhaps your plan could include family movies and a picnic style dinner on the family room floor. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that it is easy and fun for you, and signals a segue way from school and work to a less structured weekend schedule.)
Last but not least, and maybe I shouldn’t be admitting this, but I did feel a slight bit of added excitement, because my plan included leaving work early. There was something exotic and exciting to me about slipping out before the crowds. I was pretty much a workaholic at this point in my life, and being able to leave it all behind on a Friday night felt oh, so good. Other benefits of my early departure included dramatically reduced traffic and wide-open parking lots. I felt like I was getting away with something, like I was one step ahead of the rest of the world, and in a way, I was. I’m not sure my feeling was completely healthy, but I have to be honest and admit it made my early exit feel a tad clandestine and my activities a bit caperesque – and I liked that!
So perhaps as the summer winds down, creating an exit plan for the fall weekends ahead might not be a bad idea. In fact, designing a Friday night ritual for your last few Friday nights of the summer, might be just the thing to make the summer of 2011 more memorable. Whatever you decide to do, make sure:
- You and yours truly enjoy your plan, so it is worth looking forward to;
- It’s easy to execute; and
- It includes a bit of the unusual and feels like a slight escape from the rules and routines of everyday life.
You may find that crafting the perfect Friday night specials for you and/or your family is the easiest way to get the most out of each and every weekend.
Have a good one!