Obligation

I have had countless weekends where I make too many plans with too many people. I go in high-strung, I bounce from event to event, I consider bailing on people and either do so or regret not doing so, then I exit the weekend regretting not having had enough time to recuperate. 

Weekends can be a balancing act. Leggings in Charcoal. Same top, similar colors here and here.

Weekends can be a balancing act. Leggings in Charcoal. Same top, similar colors here and here.

This post is a continuation of my series on maximizing personal time. We're going out of order, and today we'll focus on #3:

  1. Compartmentalize your life and work where possible.
  2. Reduce logistics.
  3. Manage your obligations.
  4. Set work and tech controls.
  5. Live your last moment as if it’s not your last.

If you travel or work a lot but you’re about to have some time off, it’s easy to let everyone know you are in town and available for a few days. This can lead to back-to-back coffee dates, brunches, dinners, and nights out. But do you want to be on the go eating and drinking all weekend? Some do, but I need some down time to feel refreshed by Monday. Also, if I am on a very packed and regimented schedule, I end up regretting not getting enough quality time with either Brian or a friend I had hoped to spend longer with. Not only am I unable to relax, but I cannot be spontaneous, which is half the fun of a weekend! 

This photoshoot took place at my favorite Pilates studio in SF, Core 40. Leggings in Charcoal. Same top, similar colors here and here.

This photoshoot took place at my favorite Pilates studio in SF, Core 40Leggings in Charcoal. Same top, similar colors here and here.

In looking ahead toward the weekend, I think about who I should make an effort to see, and it's not always the same group of people (other than B of course!) It could be:

  • a friend or old coworker I haven't seen in a while who has been on my mind
  • a friend who I know is going through a rough time and could use a listener or distraction
  • someone who proactively reached out wondering when I'll be in town next (which warms my heart to know someone thinks of me!)
  • someone new to my social circle whom I've just met superficially. I'm curious and know there's much more energizing discussion to be had 1:1! 
Same top, similar colors here (Ash/Marine Multi) and here (Ash).

Same top, similar colors here (Ash/Marine Multi) and here (Ash).

Now what to do? I like to think of things I’m already doing to refresh myself that someone might be interested in and suggest that first. I am very committed to wellness and try to work out 6-7 days a week. I don't feel entitled to laziness just because it's the weekend. Rather, the weekend is my time to get ahead! So I always start by inviting friends to something active (hikes, workout classes, bike rides) in case it’s right up their alley too!

My favorite instructor Jon kept me in some sort of shape in his 6 AM classes when I was commuting 4 hrs/day and traveling nonstop with my job at Apple.

My favorite instructor Jon kept me in some sort of shape in his 6 AM classes when I was commuting 4 hrs/day and traveling nonstop with my job at Apple.

Admittedly, most of my friends are not as into early morning workouts as me or they already have their own routines. So I do schedule some purely social events, but I try to keep it to 1-2 events per weekend. Coffee dates or casual brunches/dinners with friends might sound like small events to count toward the weekend tally, but quality time in small groups is a huge treat to me. 

They're not paying me to say this – look up Core40 if you're ever in the Bay Area! They have several locations and I still buy packages for the weekends when I'm back. Links to outfits below.

They're not paying me to say this – look up Core40 if you're ever in the Bay Area! They have several locations and I still buy packages for the weekends when I'm back. Links to outfits below.

Which leads me into my next point – when I'm catching up with a friend,  it's ideal for me to be able to give my full attention and extend if needed. For example, I got together with my friend Clare and her dog Yoshi over brunch the other weekend. Our reservation was running 40 mins late, so we walked around and stopped in for some bubble tea at Boba Guys. Then we sat down for an extended meal full of oysters, breakfast scrambles, and rich conversation. Our love for boutique shopping in the Mission came up, so after brunch we decided to drop into random shops and eventually made our way to Mission Dolores Park, where we finally parted ways.

Clare also joined me the next weekend for this photoshoot! It was her first time at Core40 and she was such a champ! Links to outfits below.

Clare also joined me the next weekend for this photoshoot! It was her first time at Core40 and she was such a champ! Links to outfits below.

The whole thing probably took 3-4 hours and was a solid half-day of diverse enjoyment. If I had made nonstop plans all day, I would have skipped the oysters and tried to get the check ASAP after our reservation had been so far behind. But instead I was able to fully connect and it was awesome! I know this isn’t real life every day as I have my share of coffee dates and brunches which have hard stops one hour in. But when possible, I schedule downtime as a favor to myself and just see how it evolves based on what I’m in the mood for in the moment! It’s such a breath of fresh air.

Coming up for air... we were both sore after this photoshoot! Links to outfits below.

Coming up for air... we were both sore after this photoshoot! Links to outfits below.

Do yourself a favor and try implementing my little weekend hacks to guard against over-committing yourself:

  • Be strategic about the people you want to see over the weekend and keep the list short! It can change next weekend.
  • Invite people to join you in activities you already have going on which promote your physical health and mental sanity (exercise, coffee), then resort to the brunches and dinners.
  • Block out some downtime on your weekend schedule. You then have the choice in the moment to either keep that time to yourself or share it with someone else spontaneously.
Amber Illig10 Comments