Farewell, Dear Snooze Button: The Case For Setting Your Alarm On The Weekend

Maximum productivity means getting up and at 'em--even on the weekends. You'll be amazed by how much extra time you have.

Years ago, I didn’t see a whole lot of weekend mornings. I’m embarrassed to report how many times in college I missed the dining hall’s brunch option because I slept too late.

Then, a little over six years ago, I had my first kid. I went from sleeping through brunch to being up on Saturdays and Sundays before many restaurants even open for breakfast.

I can’t say that I’ve been entirely thrilled with this development. But even though I know eventually my kids will be teenagers and they’ll be sleeping through brunch (even if I never rediscover that skill), I have to say that hauling myself out of bed on weekends has opened up a lot of possibilities. After studying time logs kept by hundreds of people, I can see that weekend mornings are probably the easiest of the 168 hours we have each week to waste--and they’re also a great time for getting stuff done.

For starters, getting up on time on weekends means you’re awake for more daylight hours. In winter, when it’s getting dark by 5 p.m., getting up at noon makes it hard to exercise outside if you’ve got other things you need to take care of, too. Wake up at 7:30, and you and your spouse can both trade off doing five-mile runs--and be done by 9:30, with hours of daylight left to enjoy.

If your kids are old enough to be mollified with cartoons, getting up with them on Saturday morning gives you a window of time to finish up any work you didn’t get done Friday--or plan the week to come--and then not have to think about work for the rest of the weekend. I find I’m more creative in the early hours, and many other people are too.

Another option? Few people do their errands at 8 a.m. on weekends, which makes for quick trips in and out of stores, barber shops, and the like. I recently scheduled my car’s annual state-mandated inspection for 8 a.m. on a Saturday, and enjoyed immediate service and a mostly quiet waiting area.

Getting an early start also means that real day trips are possible. Leave at 8 a.m. for a beach that’s two hours away, and you’ll beat the traffic and enjoy the whole day there. If you don’t get yourself organized until noon, your options are a lot more limited.

To be sure, if you’re waking up Monday through Friday to the blaring of an alarm clock--and you don’t have small children who serve that same function--setting it on weekends may sound dreary. But you don’t have to set it both days. Maybe sleep in on Saturday to recover, then commit to getting up on time on Sunday. Then you can enjoy the full day, and be tired enough to get to sleep on time that night.

[Image: Flickr user Alison Iskenderian Photography]