HOW I CHANGED MY WEEKEND, AND MADE MYSELF A HAPPIER PERSON


I believe that everyone is a bit of a multiple personality. I believe that within all of us, there are multiple versions of ourselves, and they’re constantly battling each other to see which version of ourselves is going to take over our body at any given moment of any given day. I believe that this battle is always taking place because I see it in myself every day.

There are tons of Noahs engaging in this tug-of-war, probably more Noahs than I know of, and certainly more than I can hope to keep track of. But for today, there are two Noahs I’m thinking about: Weekday Noah, and Weekend Noah. These two Noahs are the polar opposites of each other. Weekday Noah is organized, he keeps to his tasks, he does things he doesn’t want to do but knows they need to get done, he gets a healthy night’s sleep, he cooks most of his meals. Weekday Noah, by and large, has his shit together on a regular basis. Weekend Noah on the other hand, is unorganized, says he’ll do things and doesn’t get them done, parties too long, spends too much time in his pajamas, survives on take-out, and is in no way productive to himself or the world around him.




For a long period of time, I liked Weekend Noah better than Weekday Noah. While Weekday Noah was a slave for the man because he did things he didn’t want to do but needed to do, Weekend Noah was his own man. It didn’t matter to me that Weekend Noah was a sloth. He was a hedonistic, fun-loving, devil-may-care sloth. I gave him a lot of leeway to be who he wanted because he felt like the version of me that was the most honest with me.

It was on a Monday (and you all know how I feel about Mondays . . . ) when I realized that maybe it was time to give Weekend Noah a long vacation, if not ask him to retire altogether. It was a Monday like any other Monday. It was long, it was miserable, and it was determined to move as slowly as humanly possible. Besides those usual annoyances that are part of a typical Monday, there was something else. I couldn’t grab at it, but I knew it was there. It was like a piece of popcorn wedged in between my teeth. The more I tried to figure out what was annoying me, the more annoyed I got.

Then, while catching up with someone at work, I was more candid than usual about my weekend. They asked me what I did with my weekend, and as plainly as possible, I said: I did nothing, I did absolutely nothing the entire weekend. The piece of popcorn was flossed from between the crevices of my brain, which was great. But in its place, I was left with a big regretful stomachache. For whatever reason, Weekend Noah’s behavior didn’t sit right with me anymore.

For the remainder of the week, Weekday Noah did things on autopilot. We got to sleep at a reasonable hour, we were prepared for work, we had relaxing evenings at home, and the cycle continued itself until we reached Friday. That was where Weekend Noah was waiting with his usual bag of tricks. But this time, I was prepared. For as much as fun as Weekend Noah and I had had together, I vowed to myself to no longer to tell someone nothing when they asked what I did over the weekend! To make this all work, I borrowed some habits from Weekday Noah, which, at first, felt very unnatural to use in a weekend setting. But now, I can’t see myself going on without them.

First, I set a bedtime. Yes, ugh, a bedtime! Sure, randomly being out with friends at the bar until 3:00 am is fun, but how many times have I done that before? A lot, possibly too many, but at a bare minimum, I know I’ve done it enough times that I was not likely to miss anything essential to my life if went home at say 12:30 am as opposed to 3:00 am.  Why do we set bedtimes during the week? Because we need a certain amount of sleep in order to be sharp and well rested for the next day. Sure, we don’t need to be as sharp over the weekend. There’s no boss to report to, no pressing project to work on, but why deliberately hold ourselves to a lower standard in our personal lives than we allow ourselves to be held to in our professional lives?




The next step—and if you don’t feel right about the whole bedtime thing, you are going to HATE this one—is I set an alarm for the morning. That’s right. On my free time, when I can sleep in as late as I want, I set an alarm. Let that set in. I know it’s weird, but hear me out. The idea here is that I want to be productive during the weekend, but I want to eventually relax in any way that suits me. The best way for me to get to Relaxing Time is to get whatever chores I’ve set for myself out of the way as early as possible. I’m not crazy about my alarm—I even sleep through it from time to time—but it keeps me in the mindset of being productive for at least the beginning of the weekend. As an added bonus, I can’t tell you how fun it is to see my roommates waking up, moaning about how it’s already close to noon, and I’ve already gone for a morning run and have finished a bunch of other tasks on my list, which brings me to the next thing on our list.

Projects! Weekday Noah is always saddled with projects. The bad thing with Weekday Noah always being saddled with projects is that they are more often than not, projects he didn’t come up with himself. They are usually part of Weekday Noah’s job, which means they’re necessary, but probably not personally fulfilling. What I’ve begun to do with Weekend Noah is to give myself a project. This project varies from weekend to weekend, it’s been anything from cleaning my room to trying some new recipe, reading x amount of pages, writing x amount of articles, running x amount of miles, or anything else that sporadically comes up. The project itself isn’t essential—though obviously, it should be something you find fulfilling and genuinely want to do—it’s having the project that’s important. I’ve found, having that one thing, no matter what the project is, gives a core of productivity to the weekend because I want to accomplish that one goal, whatever it may be! Also, bringing it back to the whole bedtime/alarm thing which I’m sure nobody is loving, there’s a great satisfaction in knowing I got up early enough to finish whatever project I set for myself, then having the rest of the day to do whatever else I want. As an aside, if this seems weird, I’d suggest starting with one goal/project per weekend. I found that sometimes I’d try to get myself to do everything during the weekend, which just isn’t feasible. Plus, I’d get annoyed that I’d have tons of things only half-done. Prioritize, figure out the thing that’s most important to you, and work on that!

Once I put these plans into place, Weekend Noah began to look more like Weekday Noah. It seemed strange at first. Hell, writing about it now, even I have a bit of a raised eyebrow and think really, this is how you spend your weekend? But this is what I’ve learned about the difference between Weekday Noah and Weekend Noah. It’s easier for Weekday Noah to be disciplined because time is a much more valuable resource during the week. Sure, some of the discipline comes from having a job to go to and needing to perform those duties to which I’m assigned. But on my own, it’s much more about using what little free time I have in a way that I’m satisfied with. Weekend Noah isn’t undisciplined because he’s a lazy sloth—well, sometimes he is!—but because Weekend Noah just thinks he’ll have all the time in the world over the weekend to do anything he wants. Being that laissez-faire with time is just begging to not get things done!




I won’t ever be able to entirely get away from the habits of the old Weekend Noah. I still occasionally get home as the sun is coming up, or sleep until it’s almost dinnertime, or waste an afternoon binging on Netflix with my roommates, or get too lazy to cook and end up living on take-out for the weekend. Sometimes, all of those things manage to happen in one weekend! But the difference is that now those weekends are the exception and certainly not the norm. And the fact that they’ve become the exception instead of the norm makes them even more enjoyable when those kinds of days do roll along.

I believe that everyone is a bit of a multiple personality. I believe we all have different parts of ourselves which are constantly fighting each other at any given moment. For most of my life, I was totally on the side of Weekend Noah. He was the perfect counterbalance to all the responsibilities I had to deal with during the week. But I learned that for all the fun that Weekend Noah brought to the table, it all came with a cost. So I turned to Weekday Noah for some help, and it has been helpful. Sure, my weekends aren’t as crazy as they used to be, one could even say they’re a bit boring. But I find them more fulfilling and enjoyable, and that’s enough for me!

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