Follow This Rule and Love Your Weekends Again

Last Updated Sep 30, 2011 10:22 AM EDT

Many years ago, I waded through a self-help book called The Rules. Billed as "time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr. Right," the book was basically about playing hard to get. Like all self-help tomes, it had some dumb advice, and some that was far more intriguing. One of the most intriguing "rules" was to never accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday. The idea was that if your beau wasn't rushing to get you locked up by mid-week, you were not his first choice for a weekend companion. Which is probably true, and if he was calling you at midnight on a Saturday, you were definitely not his first choice.
But aside from forcing better behavior from the men in your life, I thought that the idea of making Saturday plans by Wednesday in general had some merit. Researchers are increasingly finding that anticipation is responsible for much of the pleasure we wring from events. We may look forward to our vacations more than we enjoy being on them. Christmas morning itself can be a let-down after all the build-up. By making at least one "anchor" plan for your weekend by Wednesday, you can spend Thursday and Friday looking forward to it, knowing the logistics (babysitters, tickets, etc.) are taken care of.

If you're not the planning type (or are married to someone who isn't the planning type), this can be hard to get used to. You worry that some awesome opportunity will present itself on Friday, and you'll already be booked. Or, if your life is one string of meeting after meeting, having an entry on your calendar for Saturday can just feel wrong.

But there are a few things to keep in mind. One is that no one is asking you to book the whole weekend. Just one thing! Second, this should be something you enjoy, not an obligation. Third, people have been known to change plans in a pinch if the situation calls for it. And finally, you're going to have a conversation about "what are we doing this weekend?" anyway. The difference between having it on Wednesday and having it on Saturday afternoon is that by Saturday afternoon, you've lost a big chunk of your weekend already, and you won't get any of the anticipatory pleasure. In this harried age, leisure time is too precious to be totally leisurely about it.

When do you make your weekend plans?

Photo courtesy flickr user moonsheep