Does it make sense that we have the weekends as our only down-time?
Does it make sense to have life structured according to the five day workweek with two weekend days off?
Do you feel spent by the time the weekend even arrives? You get to have time with the kids and maybe even for yourself, but you are deplete of presence and energy?
Not everyone has the luxury, but if you had any control on your schedule, what would it look like to shift around the way you think about your free time? After all, the current model is the where free time is shifted towards the week-end.
Laura Vanderkam (within her time management empire) argues convincingly that in the 168 hours of the week, there is no point in indexing on workday versus weekend-day in the concept of your work-life juggle. Rather, the whole concept is about thinking about how to structure 168 hours of time instead of trying to get everything done in one day.
My own observation is that professional women who are very intentional with their time tend to do some version of give and take in the week. They might intentionally work longer hours on Monday as a trade-off for leaving early on Tuesdays which are always planned.
What if you were to negotiate taking a half day off every Tuesday afternoon? If you were to schedule either self-care, personal development, time with the kids, or time on your relationships in that chunk, think about how less spent you would be leading up to that day and then even up to the traditional weekend.
My personal favorite day of the week off is Wednesday.
While Vanderkam writes a lot about how scheduling your downtime will lead to time abundance, there is also a case to be made that scheduling time to do nothing will serve you well.
Jenny Odell in How to do Nothing argues that we live in a society that has blurred the lines between work and leisure - where now the concept of down-time appears to be time that is wasted.
Odell argues several benefits in doing nothing, which ironically make your more productive. Downtime is essential to take stock of what's happening in your life, which is important in self-measurement and staying in check with the reality of things. It also is the only way serendipity can occur, which brings us joy and insight.
The anxiety of trying to capitalize on every hour to be productive ultimately takes us away from meaningful, fulfilling experiences. I like to apply this logic onto why children shouldn't be over scheduled.
If the weekends are the only time for occasionally doing nothing, then does it make sense to tail end the concept of downtime towards to the end of the week in a two day block?
If two days out the week is roughly 28% of the week, imagine how that could look if it were more spread out.
Even though we are expected to do it, I have always felt the traditional model is a hard sell. When we spread out the concept of downtime throughout the week it allows us to have true safety valves.