Why My Weekends Are Mine
I have an odd habit. On weekdays, if I have a lot of work during the week, I’ll work later or get up early. But on Fridays, I leave whatever undone work to be completed next weekend.
Since graduating from college, I’ve seldom had the need to work on articles on weekends. (I imagine some readers are rolling their eyes, but hear me out!) Now that I’m not balancing homework with college newspaper deadlines and freelancing while working full-time, I spend most of my time working on content marketing and reporting work.
I’m still working out the kinks of balancing multiple freelance deadlines. So meeting those deadlines usually means they are nights when I stay up late or mornings when I get up earlier than usual, and some days that are normal.
But once I went full-time freelance, I decided that weekends would be a sacred time, A time when I can rest and do nothing a time when I could be with my significant other a day or two where I could sleep in and call my family and let them know that I’m OK.
If you listen to freelancers talk enough, one of them will eventually bring a burn out. I have a sense that because I allow myself to sleep in and really rest that this is what allows me to avoid feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
Of course there are times when I do some writing, this blog for example. Perhaps I am working on a investigative project that has just come to me because I took the time to do nothing and out of that stillness arose a brilliant idea. But in terms of answering emails from clients or trying to schedule source interviews for on weekends, I avoid working on any projects for clients on weekends.
I started thinking about recently because over the past few weeks I’ve had multiple intensive of projects either begin or end. The stress of checking names and re-listening to the awful sound of my voice on the recording and having to do multiple rounds of edits and scheduling calls with sources and calling potential sources multiple times and hoping that everything will come together… It all began to weigh on me.
Part of that is due to my failure to space out my deadlines better, but part of that is also every day where in tear of one’s life. I don’t think that stress is an inherently bad thing for people. In the past it has helped us survive. But I do think that having a couple days a week where you give yourself the space to do nothing is essential for becoming your best self when you have to rise to the occasion on Monday morning.
And so every weekend I am finding someway to take care of myself. I’m doing the laundry and running the errands. I eat breakfast and then I take another nap. I talk to the people who mean something to me.
At a time when there is so much going on politically it’s even more important for me, and I suspect every other freelancer who reads this, to create space for one’s own joy. Everyone and their mother is talking about the Mueller revelations and what’s going on in the White House. In a passive but radical act of self preservation, I have made the choice to preserve weekends as a time for recuperation and reflection.
I opt to engage in my own passive viewing habits, such as watching Real Housewives of whatever city I want to watch that day or House hunters. Perhaps I will als in a passive but radical act of self preservation, I have made the choice to preserve weekends as a time for recuperation and reflection. I opt to engage in my own passive viewing habits, such as watching real housewives of whatever city I want to watch that day or House hunters. When the mood strikes me, I'll watch my favorite journalism films. All The President’s Men it is on Netflix and so is Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press.
Some weeks, it can be hard to resist the temptation to open my laptop and start working on something that I need to get done so that I can not have another thing on my to do list. But I find that that brief moment of gratification will only bring more fatigue. Rather than complete something that I need to get done on the weekend I’ve reminded myself that work will always be there, but the moments in your life when you need to go to important family events or call a friend that you’ve been wanting to catch up with or spending time consuming something that makes you happy—those moments are precious and fleeting. It is more important, I think, to protect my peace and to let the people in my life know that I love them and to take care of my body so that it will take care of me.
Do you limit or completely cut out work on weekends? How do you decompress? Tell me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org