Last week, we wrote about what happens in the Whole9 house on Tuesdays (and posted some photos from our last Tuesday on our Facebook page). The post drew a range of comments from readers – everything from “I need this in my life!” to, “This is a luxury concept – I couldn’t afford to give up an entire day.” To that last point, we know it’s hard to build some “you time” into your week. However, over the last 9 months, we have come to believe this idea is critical for the health of our relationship, our general sanity and maintaining a healthy life/work balance. The sacrifices we make on behalf of our Tuesdays are so incredibly worth it that today, we’re sharing our best advice for implementing your own version of a Tuesday.
Build Your Own Tuesday
Do you see the value in taking some time back for yourself, but aren’t sure how to start? First, you have to convince yourself that you can. (And here comes the tough love, because you know we tell it like it is around here.) Don’t flatter yourself into thinking you’re too busy, that your responsibilities are too demanding, that you’re too important to take a few hours every week for yourself. We’re all busy. We all have more responsibilities than we think we can manage. We all feel pressure to respond to those responsibilities every second of every day. Which is exactly why you NEED a Tuesday.
If you need to be convinced further, think about it this way. Nobody says, “I’m glad I did the dishes instead of playing with my kids” or “Skipping dinner to answer emails was so rewarding.” What you SAY is, “I wish I had time to play with my kids, sit down for a meal with my husband, read a good book…” So take that time. You can, and you should. Your new mantra? It. Will. Wait.
On that note, however, taking an entire day off each week may, in fact, be impossible given your current situation. That doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea, however. If you can’t set aside one day a week, how about just a few hours? Maybe it’s weeknights after 6 PM, Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons – just choose a day and time that maximizes quality time for you and your family. The point is, you need, deserve and can absolutely manage to take a few hours a week for YOU.
Choose Your Day
Second, choose a day that’s reasonable to bail on grown-up responsibilities. For those of you who work 9-5 jobs, Tuesday isn’t practical, so Saturday or Sunday may be your best bet. If you can’t swing an entire day, but Tuesday and Thursday evenings are generally pretty open, split it up. The rule, however – pick your day and time, and stick to it. You have to commit to every aspect of your Tuesday, 100%.
Don’t fall into the temptation of picking a day that’s convenient for you each week. First, you know in your heart that picking a day on the fly means it simply won’t happen. Monday will roll around, and you’ll say, “Maybe Wednesday.” And then Wednesday gets too busy, and you say, “Definitely Saturday.” And then something comes up on Saturday, and you’ve gone an entire week without setting aside any time at all. Second, the idea of your time being “flexible” is missing the entire point. The very foundation of the idea is to choose your day, and build your week around it.
Third, establish very clear ground rules for your day. Write them down, if you have to, so that everyone involved is clear about what is Tuesday-appropriate and what is not. Your rules may look different than ours, so long as you agree on what you want your day to look like – and feel like. Think about various scenarios, and how you’d handle them. Will you hit the gym or not? How about dinner out at a restaurant with the family? Is sports on TV or a trip to the mall an appropriate part of your day?
We took at least two weeks to do this all-important step, so when our first Tuesday rolled around, we knew exactly what it would entail (and what it would not). And when things came up that we hadn’t anticipated (for example, our favorite band coming to the local amphitheater), we were able to evaluate whether the “feel” of a big, crowded, late-night concert fit within our concept of Tuesday. (It doesn’t.)
Hold Yourself Accountable
Finally, although this one is going to have to be up to you, we recommend that the agreed-upon rules you set for yourselves are 100% binding. If you agree that Tuesday shouldn’t include dealing with traffic or crowds, but discover a fun event happens to fall on your day – too bad. You’ve already decided that traffic and crowds aren’t what you want, even though the event might be fun. If you agreed not to check email because it reminded you too much of work, but find yourself waiting for a really response from a friend, it’s just going to have to wait until Wednesday.
You set the “rules” for yourself for a reason, but it can be damn hard to stick to them sometimes, even though (or maybe because) they’re your own rules. We’ve woken up on Tuesday dying to train – but skipped it, because we decided last June that Tuesdays wouldn’t include time inside a gym. We’ve passed on amazing concerts, because crowds and commerce weren’t what we deemed “a Tuesday thing.” It’s hard, and it feels somewhat pointless – your Tuesday is supposed to be FUN, and this thing you want to do would be FUN, so why can’t you? But it’s not about just having fun – it’s about preserving your day in the manner in which you agreed upon was best for you and your family. And sticking to it throughout any distraction, 100% of the time, no exceptions, is the only way to keep your Tuesday sacred.
Is it Tuesday Yet?
Be prepared for the fact that the first few Tuesdays are going to be a little strange. In the beginning, it will probably be hard to stick to your rules. We felt all kinds of pressure to check email, talk business and make “just one” quick phone call during those first few Tuesdays, and we were convinced the business was going to collapse without us for the day. But… it didn’t. And we fought the tendency to turn our Tuesday into just any other day, and worked really hard (unreasonably hard, ironic, huh?) to preserve the spirit and feel of our day. Eventually, however, we began to get the hang of Tuesday. We no longer worried about work – we knew it would wait. We began to look forward to that day above all others, knowing there was light at the end of the busy weekend workshop tunnel. And every Monday when we go to sleep, we know we’ve got an entire day laid out just for us – no obligations and no pressures. And we know that it will work the same for you – if you take the concept to heart, and commit to the idea in the manner in which it deserves.
Take a Tuesday
We hope these “personal development” posts (an often-overlooked one of our 9 factors) have given you some ideas for your own life, and your own version of a Tuesday. Share your ideas, thoughts, concerns or obstacles in comments, so we (and others) can help you figure out how to set aside some valuable time each week for you.
We can help you live the Whole9 life.
Fill out the form below to join the Whole9 Newsletter.