The Wonder of the Weekend

Why would you want to treat the weekend as the weekend?  Saturday and Sunday are boons for productivity.

photo by mcleod

The week is a great time for fun at uni and things often slow down at the weekend.  It’s not always the case, but you’re likely to find precious little happening over large chunks of that time, so it’s perfect to get on with your work and catch up on the stuff you don’t want to think about when everything else is vying for your attention during the week.

Look at Saturday and Sunday as a two-day week.  Let Monday to Friday be the weekend instead!  Okay, so there are lectures and it won’t be work-free.  But how often do you manage an entire day where it was exclusively fun, laughter, decadence and delight from start to finish?  Exactly!

Normally, the weekend is an excuse to chill, or a time to go back to the family home, or catch up on sleep and washing (if you parents have stopped letting you bring your dirty stuff home…).  However, you have the prospect of achieving a whole lot more if you’re proactive on campus.  While others go home and Saturdays are naturally quieter, you can focus on more important matters.  And for those who stay on campus at the weekend, you can get up early on a Sunday while everyone else stays in bed catching up on lost sleep or nursing hangovers.

I recently saw this quotation from ‘How to be Idle‘, by Tom Hodgkinson:

“To be truly idle, you also have to be efficient.”

The weekend is the perfect time to do most of the work you’d expect others to do in the week.  Then, when the normally busy weekdays come along, you can spend a lot more time idling and a lot less time worrying about your workload.  Good times, here we come!

Even if you have sporting events at the weekend, meet up for a weekend activity, or go to church on a Sunday morning, there should be no trouble incorporating it into a packed routine.  There should still be plenty of weekend ‘dead time’ to be proactive in.

I’m not the only one who made the most of this valuable time.  Cal Newport has long been an advocate of a ‘Sunday Ritual’.  It’s great to get up as early as possible on a Sunday (even if it had been an eventful Saturday night…) and enjoy the peace.  For me, early mornings were spent walking around the quiet campus, catching up on reading, getting a few boring chores out of the way, writing drafts of essays, going to a practically empty library and making the most of the facilities, and all sorts of other things.

photo by patkisha

While everyone else slept, I worked with ease and without distraction.  Once friends started to emerge from their beds, I’d been up and about for hours.  It was bliss.  Seriously.

Some people thought my workload was nothing compared to my friends.  It looked like I was doing much less than anyone else.  And at that precise moment in time, it was probably true.  But if they’d noticed how much I’d achieved while they weren’t looking, all would make sense and it would be clear how much effort I’d really put in.  I only made it look easy.  Doesn’t mean it was a breeze.  A relaxed effort, yes.  A half-hearted effort, no.

What does the weekend mean for you?  And how much is that time worth?


  1. While I’m not a morning person, I AM a night owl, and have always been incredibly productive later in the day. I absolutely agree with you on your view of the weekends as fairly uninterrupted work time. A weekday library session is certainly inspiring, what with all the busy students shuffling at the tables, but a weekend library is gorgeously quiet and empty and always seems to exist for you and your To Do List.

  2. I can never quite tell if I’m a morning or an evening person. I like to be first up and last to bed, which is just greedy of me!

    I agree that busy shuffling has its place, but nothing beats the satisfying empty silence in the early morning when you know everyone else is tucked up in bed while you’re being insanely productive.

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