Anchor events

Trees through the fog at Mount Sutro today.

Trees through the fog at Mount Sutro today.

I’ve been trying to take to heart everything I learned from reading Laura Vanderkam’s time management books over the last month or so. Something that stuck with me from her book about weekends was her idea of anchor events.

And so we come to the insight on weekends that I find people resist: a good weekend needs a plan. Not a minute-by-minute plan, not a spreadsheet full of details, but just a few fun anchor events sketched in ahead of time.…Planning a few anchor events for a weekend guarantees you pleasure because—even if all goes wrong in the moment—you still will have derived some pleasure from the anticipation.…I find that three to five anchor events, spread over the sixty hours between that Friday beer and Monday alarm clock, should give you a nice balance.

I haven’t gotten very far on planning my weekend fun in yet, but the “three to five” number lodged in my brain and has become a benchmark. This weekend, Erik and I had a new friend over for coffee, went to the Magritte exhibit at SFMOMA together, and got dinner at Barvale. Today, I visited the Lucky Number 8 art show and did another short hike up Mount Sutro (my third in just over a week). That’s five, and it doesn’t even count finishing Pachinko, which took most of today.

I love the idea that months or years from now, this weekend will loom larger in my imagination because of the anchor events that gave it shape. Instead of endless stretches of reading, chores, errands, and internet time, I got plenty of all that (well, not so many chores) plus some memories. The weekend did feel longer, and I do feel readier for the week.

Diana Berlin