{planning} your ideal weekend routine and rhythms

We are all different personalities and therefore need different rhythms for our weekends to feel like they were good ones.

What is important and consistent across personality types is for all of us to decide for ourselves what the components are that will make a weekend feel successful, and then incorporate those elements into our days.

This will also differ according to different times and life stages, e.g. in winter I cook more because that feels more life-giving to me, but in summer I only want to be in the kitchen a very short time.

Let’s look at some components of a successful weekend, shall we?

church – anchor event

1. Anchor events and scheduled activities

In this section, extroverts will typically want to have more time spent with other people where introverts will be happier by themselves.

I have at least three anchor events on most weekends – a tea with a friend after work on Fridays, Saturday morning Zumba and Sunday morning church. Those things are scheduled and in my diary; they can move, but probably won’t.

2. Downtime

We all need downtime, but what downtime looks like for you may differ to the next person.

Some people relax by reading on the couch; others relax by going for a long run. You do you.

3. Chores

Let’s face it – we all look forward to getting some nagging things off the to-do list and I, as an enneagram 1, like nothing more than to potter and set things in order in my home. The week is often for keeping the house ticking over and weekends are when I (and you) can devote a longer period of time to a little deeper cleaning or organising, like swopping summer and winter clothes, decluttering your kitchen cupboards, etc.

4. Planning

This only has to take 20 – 30 minutes but is so useful if done consistently. I’ve heard of some couples who take time on a Friday night to plan for the week ahead. I do my planning in two stages – I plan the menu for the week ahead on a Friday night or Saturday morning and write out the shopping list, and then on a Sunday afternoon, I take 5 – 10 minutes to review and plan my schedule and to-dos for the week ahead. On very busy weekends, I might push the planning to a Monday night but I still like to get it done.

I need to get out once a day at least or else I get cabin fever but other than that, I like to both relax and get things done around the house every weekend. This goes out the window if I have a heat headache but if I’m well, that sounds like the perfect weekend for me.

I’m flexible around my loose plan (typical upholder!) but I do need those first three components to be present, and I feel like I’m winning for the next week too if I get my planning done.

What are the components for you to feel like you’ve had a successful weekend?

Being purposeful about your friendships

our good friends, J & P

One of my top values is connection and so I really enjoy spending quality time with my friends.

I found that life gets busy so quickly that months pass before we realise that months have passed (!) and then we have to try and find space in one another’s diaries.

I know “this is life” but I want to be purposeful about my time and prioritise the friendships that matter to me.

These three things are currently working for me:

1. Set the next date as soon as possible after I see them.

When we get together with one particular set of friends, we set the next date there and then for about 6 – 8 weeks out.

This way we always have something to look forward to and we don’t have to scramble to find the time to see one another.

I met another friend for lunch recently and we’ve already scheduled our next lunch date.

2. Use appointments or activities I currently have and “add a friend”

I’m using my lunch times and instead of eating at my desk in front of my computer (and blogging), I’m making one lunch date a week for the friends that are more my friends than couple friends.

I’m eating lunch and connecting.

I went to a parenting talk tonight and invited about 6 or 7 friends. All of them declined my offer (!) except one. She and I met up, enjoyed a cup of tea beforehand and sat next to each other during the talk.

I’m learning and connecting.

One more… I ran into a friend’s daughter at the gym last week and discovered she’s also a member now. What I plan to do is have us both work out and then have a quick juice/ cup of tea afterwards.

I’m exercising and connecting.

3. I made a friends spreadsheet

I resisted this for a looooooong time because it felt way too planned and structured for me.

And then I gave in. What does it matter if it helps me accomplish my goals?

I have the friends down the left and then dates along the top and I can see at a glance who I need to make more of an effort with.

It still feels OCD but it’s working 🙂

Two questions:

How do you keep up with all your friends?

Do you prefer to connect one on one, or in a big group?

10 Tips to an Awesome Relationship

Everybody wants to have a happy and successful relationship. We must remember that good relationships don’t just happen – after all, we’re not living in a fairy tale. We have to work at it.

Here are my 10 most important keys for relationship success:

1. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. We all know that men and women use different languages – learn to speak your partner’s language. Learn to listen – God gave us two ears and one mouth. Eliminate distractions so that you can focus on one another’s conversation.

2. Resolve conflicts or disagreements respectfully

It is a myth that happy couples never disagree. You are two unique people – of course you’ll think differently about things. Learn to resolve conflicts when you are calm and can think things through rationally. And always try to maintain the other person’s dignity and self-esteem. That means no name calling!

3. Have goals for your relationship

It is always a good idea to set goals together as a couple – whether 3-month, 6-month, 1-year or 5-year goals. And don’t be intimidated by the word goal. All we’re saying is that the two of you should agree on what you want from or out of your relationship. When you do this, it helps to keep both of you united with a common vision. To give you an example, your goal this year might be to have more fun together as a couple. And how you’ll do that is to schedule two date nights every month and maybe take a fun class together, like a dance class. This is exactly what one of the couples I worked with last year did and they enjoyed it so much that they decided to go on and take their dance exams.

4. Stop keeping score

This is a biggie. A successful relationship is one where each party gives 100%, not 50-50. “I did this so you must do that” does not make for a happy time! We women are particularly good at keeping score and this can be really bad for our relationships because we give from a position of expectation instead of out of love.

5. Keep the romance alive

Get out of the habit of only taking about mundane things like if your phone account has been paid or who needs to collect the kids from ballet or soccer. Remember when you first fell in love? How you spoke for hours on end just staring at one another? Start flirting again – use SMS, email, phone, notes on pillows, etc. Have a specified date night at the very least once a month. Even if you only go to the Wimpy for a coffee, it will give you a chance to reconnect romantically.

6. Ensure that each other’s needs are met

Men and women have very different ideas of what is most important to them. I come across this in my coaching work all the time and it never ceases to amaze me. If you don’t know what your partner’s top five needs are, ask them! It will help you understand why they behave the way they do. Just to give you an idea of how needs differ, women usually rate security in their top three while men usually rate sex in their top three!

7. Decide to be happy rather than right

I know I’m going to tread on toes now BUT you need to continually ask yourself, do I want to be happy or right? Please understand that I’m not saying you should become a doormat. But sometimes you have to ask yourself this really hard question. You may win the argument but have you won in love? Learn to admit when you’re wrong and say sorry.

8. Focus on your partner’s strengths

Sometimes we forget why we fell in love. On my workshops and when I coach couples, one of the first things I make them do is write a list of things they love about their partner. I do this because when we take our eyes off the negatives, we start to appreciate our partner’s unique gifts and characteristics. When you’re focused on what a good father your husband is, it’s hard to keep remembering that he leaves the toilet seat up, or forgets to change the toilet roll.

9. Make time for fun

Notice I said “make time”. You have to schedule it because if you wait until you have time to do fun things, you’ll be waiting forever! Take the time out to laugh at silly things, go see romantic comedies, leave silly notes in his lunch box, in his car or on his pillow. My husband and I regularly flirt by email. It sounds like a small thing but it really does add a lot of fun to the day.

10. Say “I love you” often

Those three little words mean such a lot. Don’t assume that he/she knows it so you don’t have to say it. Don’t worry – you won’t wear the words out! Besides saying it, think of some other ways that you can show your love. For me, nothing says I love you like a clean kitchen sink! (In fact, I was quoted in Shape magazine once for saying that a clean kitchen spells romance for me ;)).

The good news is that you don’t need him or her to be a willing participant to see a difference in your relationship. Of course, it is nicer if both of you decide to change your relationship for the better.

Remember, you can do it! Here’s to your awesome relationship!

© 2007 – 2010 Marcia Francois

Marcia Francois is a happily married wife of 15 years, a mother to sassy, 7-month-old boy/ girl twins and CEO of her organised home. In addition she also coaches people who want a better quality of life. You’ll get practical organising and time management secrets to help you work less and enjoy life more when you visit http://marciafrancois.com for your free Organising Success Pack.

P.S. If you’re wondering what relationships have to do with organising, try having an organised home if your partner doesn’t buy into the whole process 🙂

P.P.S. Please share your tips for an awesome relationship and check out the fabulous Valentine’s special I have for you.

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