I have a delusion that has been biting me in my butt for as long as I can remember: I continually fool myself into believing that “this weekend” is going to be productive. So I will go through the week putting things off “until the weekend”, and then when the weekend is done and dusted, and none of those things were actually done, I am left with a profound feeling of failure and/or laziness.
The never-ending to-do list
So, this weekend: the garage will not get cleaned out, and the pantry will not get organised, and Zac’s summer wardrobe will not be sorted. I’m also not going to pre-write a post-a-day for this blog, nor am I going to catch up on Suits. I’m certainly not going to tackle the meter-high pile of paperwork on my desk that needs to be sorted, nor am I going to catch up on all the weekly financial/business magazines that are also piling up. I am definitely not going to start thinking about next quarter’s strategy, or finish of that Memorandum of Understanding that was due last Thursday. I am also not going to sort through my Google photos, read all the saved Medium articles or go through my LinkedIn profile.
Seriously, all of the above things are on my to do list (and there is plenty more), and somehow I have fooled myself into not feeling bad about not doing them during the week because I should just focus on work and family M-F, and leave the extra stuff for my down time. Right? Not a chance!
What will inevitably happen is that I am going to have a super-relaxed weekend, where I hang out with myself (doing pretty much nothing) or hang out with my family and friends, which is always a pleasure. I am going to spend the weekend telling myself that I will get to “that” stuff in the evening, and then in the evening all I get to do is collapse with Craig, a glass of wine or coffee and do whatever the hell I feel like doing at the time. And then, on Sunday night I get an overwhelming feeling of remorse and guilt, because I feel as if I have done fuck-all all weekend. but in actual fact I did exactly what I was supposed to do: enjoy my time off. And frankly, I am done feeling guilty about that.
The changes, they are a-coming!
So here is the new deal: I hereby proclaim that I will do nothing chore-like the whole weekend, for every weekend from now on. There is thus no more excuses and procrastination-techniques that allow me to set tasks aside for the end of the week. Rather, all tasks need to be done by Friday 5pm, and those that don’t get done must be scheduled (like, actually scheduled) to be done the following M-F cycle. Then, if I am bored or restless and I feel like doing something “productive” over the weekend I can, but I have zero obligation to feel any guilt about doing nothing all day long.
To make this work will require some adjustments of course, but most of these are just attitude adjustments since the “extra” work that I will now be doing M-F wasn’t being done in the weekend anyway. It was just taking up brain space and cluttering my thoughts. All I will effectively be doing is not allowing myself to delay a task for “this weekend” and instead I will force myself to schedule it on the M-F calendar.
I anticipate this will come with its own hiccups. One I am already anticipating is that I am going to replace the “this weekend” part with “after kids go to bed“, and I know that scheduling anything for that time is a recipe for disaster because I might or might not have the energy to do anything, and I certainly resent having to do something when I know I could be cuddled up in bed. So I will not allow myself to schedule anything after 6pm.
So basically, I will just need to be more productive and efficient. I need to buy myself about 90 extra minutes a day, and use them productively. This is tricky, because I am already fighting daily fatigue and am not nearly as productive during the day as I would be if I didn’t have Waldenstrom, but it needs to be done. An obvious and easy way to buy more time is to outsource and delegate more stuff to others, and I do think I am going to go that route. Ultimately, moving into 2019 I would like to be in mostly a supervisory role, where I am needed for 2-4 hours a day, and everything tick-tocks on its own. That will give me peace of mind and will allow me to focus on the chemo treatment, which I know comes with its own extreme fatigue that takes months to resolve. But if I manage to get the no-weekend-obligations part right, I think it will go a long way to help my physical and emotional recovery.
(Another option, which I might try is to work Monday to Thursday, and leave Friday for “sundries”. I like this idea!)
(May 2020 update: So, this worked out quite well, although I don’t think I implemented it immediately after this post..it took a while. But now my weekends and my evenings are my own, to do with as I please. Irony is, it’s Saturday night as I type this but the point is that I chose to update my blog today because I wanted to. Also, the lockdown has upset any sense of normal scheduling, but that requires a post on its own. Point is, nobody should have to work in the weekend, and I am glad that I no longer pressure myself to do so.)