What I do when I have to work weekends

I am trying to imagine a time when I didn’t work during the weekends but nothing comes to mind. I remember spending Saturdays cleaning the apartment and doing my homework or some side project. Sundays were the times for relaxation and spending time in nature. Growing up, my weekends looked more or less the same.

Following my Ph.D. and all the side work done for it, I wanted 2019 to be about self-care. And one of the things I mostly wanted was avoiding working weekends. I believe I managed quite well to resist it, by mostly moving my weekends during my week; after putting in two days at my paid job, I need time to relax and disengage, so I basically used Wednesdays and Thursday for easy, fun activities, like sleeping and watching movies. Sure, when I afforded it. But then, on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, I would normally work.

I experimented with it for a while and at some point decided that from then on, I will work 8 to 18 Mo to Fri and all other times are for relaxation. There is a voice who is laughing out loud in my head every time I think of how convinced I was I can pull it off. Since then, not once have I managed to implement it for a full week.

I am working on side projects. I say “Yes” to many professional opportunities, mostly because I am interested in doing the work. I believe in relaxation and recovering after a busy week, but, yes, I’d admit it: I am not one to lay around doing nothing for too long. Although I crave it so much when I know I need to spend time during the weekends in focused work.

Like this weekend. I am working on something really important to me which has the potential to bring much happiness, sleepless hours and professional achievements. But despite my interest in it, I have so much trouble to actually put in the work.

I don’t take this project lightly: if I don’t work on it, I think of it. So I knew I will want to spend my weekend focused on it. Despite the fact that I want to do it, from the manner in which I spent my time yesterday it became quite clear I am about to enter a dangerous procrastinating zone: the gap between what I should be doing and what I am doing grows bigger by the minute. Basically, I exhaust myself though complaining and busy work. I seriously risked starting Monday morning with nothing done, as proven by previous experience.

So today I’ve decided I will change this by pairing: take one unpleasant activity and connect it with one activity I’d want to do. I knew very well what I needed to get done and that I didn’t want to spend my weekend doing it. But if I enjoy it so much and if I want it so much, why can’t I just do it? Why is it a problem that I have to do it during the weekend?

Well, I work hard during the week. Mostly at my computer, mostly indoors. I want to spend my weekends outside, enjoying nature and being around people. I want to use free time clothes and enjoying the sun.

This is why today, I paired my one working task with hanging out in nature. I can’t really go to the park, but I can go to a coffee place with a garden. I knew just the place.

So, instead of staying at my desk, complaining, surfing the internet and feeling bad I can’t do what I want to do, I spent more than four hours outside, in the sun, while lost in my mind planning a future project. And while enjoying [way too much and way too many] cups of cappuccino.

With this decision, I won the day. Now, instead of remembering the big nothing I did in the morning, trying to convince myself to do the work, I remember how productive I’ve been in the time spent outside and how much I enjoyed it.

Wonderful Saturday made me hopeful for another wonderful productive day of Sunday!

Make today count!

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