Have you ever felt like Sunday night preparations, such as meal planning, house cleaning, and organizing your work tasks, somewhat diminish the enjoyment of your weekend spirit?
It’s a sentiment that many of us can relate to. While these activities are undoubtedly practical and help ease the transition into the workweek, it’s essential to acknowledge that our weekends are finite, and a substantial portion is often devoted to weekday-like productivity.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could truly make the most of our weekends by, well, fully indulging in the weekend spirit?
Create the sensation of a weekend spirit… always!
The truth lies somewhere in between. Spending each Sunday evening in the same routine can indeed create the sensation of the weekend spirit slipping away all too quickly. On the flip side, lazing around in your pajamas has a similar effect.
If your goal is to make your days off feel more leisurely, neuroscientist David Eagleman, a professor at Stanford University and the author of The Brain: The Story of You, suggests the key lies in seeking novelty. Like new environments and activities.
Engage with something unfamiliar
Engaging with something unfamiliar creates the illusion of time stretching because your focus is on assimilating fresh experiences into your memory. This phenomenon explains why time seems to pass more rapidly as an adult than during childhood.
As a child, everything is novel, and you’re constantly creating new memories. When you reflect on the end of a childhood summer, it feels lengthy because you remember the new discoveries and experiences. However, in adulthood, you’ve encountered most patterns before.
Apply shorter time spans
The same principle applies to shorter time spans. If you aim to maximize every hour, you need to plan for novelty. For instance, a weekend getaway feels much longer than a weekend at home. Even a weekend spent at home can feel extended if you explore new neighborhoods or try different restaurants.
And a weekend spent cozily at home with a new book can seem longer than one where you reread an old favorite for the infinite time.
But be aware of the catch…
There is a catch, though: this effect is primarily perceived in hindsight. Looking forward, you may anticipate a novelty-filled weekend as extended, but in the moment, you might feel that time is flying by when you’re having fun and dragging when you’re bored.
The reason is that you’re not paying attention to time when you’re enjoying yourself, but you’re meticulously tracking every passing minute when you’re unoccupied.
To illustrate, think of a long flight: When you’re in the air, it feels like an eternity to reach your destination; you can hardly believe that only two hours have passed. However, once you’ve disembarked and left the airport, it seems like the flight was swift because you have no memories of it. The experience lacked novelty, causing time to seemingly vanish.
How to extend your weekend spirit conclusion
In summary, planning to make the weekend feel longer is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You must decide how you want to elongate your weekend spirit: in the moment or in hindsight when you’re back to your daily routine, wistfully reminiscing about the weekend.
The choice between savoring the moment or cherishing the memories depends on your personal preferences and needs. Opting to relish the present can provide an immediate sense of luxury and relaxation.
On the other hand, prioritizing the long-term benefits of a well-spent weekend can infuse your workweek with a weekend spirit of renewed energy and vitality. It’s a delicate balance between living in the moment and creating enduring memories that shape our perception of time and happiness.