I’ve really enjoyed reading Laura Vanderkam’s Tranquillity by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters. From an anthropological perspective, it’s interesting to read a book rooted in the experiences of a group of people putting the productivity and time management ideas into practice and I especially enjoyed reading why things did and didn’t work for particular individuals. I found it helpful to read about their experiences alongside the expert guidance provided, as it helped me think through how and why certain things might work for me or my coaching clients.
Being on a journey of trying to work less hard and find more balance made this book appeal to me more with a central focus on calm and wellbeing alongside more traditional productivity techniques. The first ‘rule’ that I put to the test for me is Rule Two: Plan on Fridays.
The basic idea is to plan for the week ahead on a Friday afternoon and the chapter goes into explaining why this is a helpful practice and how to do it. I already plan on a weekly basis, but it was still interesting to read more about why this is effective. Two things jumped out at me:
Plan across three key categories: career (which I took to be short-hand for all types of work, paid and unpaid), relationships (which encompasses partners, family, friends, any we care for and spend time with, including pets) and self (this is the category that is easy to overlook).
Plan on Fridays: there is a good section on why Friday afternoon is a good time to plan (provided you follow a Monday – Friday work or school schedule):
- there is little opportunity cost: for many of us, Friday afternoon is close to the weekend, it’s not a good time to start something new and this less busy time can be extra productive if used for planning;
- You can make Monday productive: start the week knowing what your day is going to bring and focusing on it;
- Upgrade your weekends: making more time to make plans for leisure or family time or self care rather than using the weekend for planning;
- Calm the ‘Sunday scaries’: meaning that going into the weekend with a clear plan for the following week helps you switch off and stop worrying about or planning for what’s ahead.
This last reason resonates with me in particular, as I usually do planning on Sunday evenings and I have definitely found that to have downsides.
So, that’s the strategy I am planning to adopt from Tranquillity by Tuesday, and if you are interested in exploring more, I’d definitely recommend this as a very well written, interesting read which comes with a lot of resources which are free to download on the book’s website 🙂