E-mail-Free Fridays and How to Save Your Weekend

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First, the 4-minute mile couldn’t be broken. Then, men couldn’t land on the moon. Now, most have accepted e-mail as the permanent bane of their working existences.

But not all of us.

The following came to me via the prodigal Cameron Johnson, originally in USA Today. Below it are my recommendations for making this weekend one to remember:

SAN FRANCISCO — Overwhelmed by e-mail? Some professionals are fighting back by declaring e-mail-free Fridays — or by deleting their entire in-box.

Today about 150 engineers at chipmaker Intel (INTC) will kick off “Zero E-mail Fridays.” E-mail isn’t forbidden, but everyone is encouraged to phone or meet face-to-face. The goal is more direct, free-flowing communication and better exchange of ideas, Intel principal engineer Nathan Zeldes says in a company blog post.

E-mail-free Fridays already are the norm at cell carrier U.S. Cellular (UZG) and at order-processing company PBD Worldwide Fulfillment Services in Alpharetta, Ga.

Prominent techies are tackling the problem individually by declaring “e-mail bankruptcy” — deleting or archiving an entire in-box and starting over. Among them: prominent tech bloggers Jeff Nolan, Michael Arrington and Vanessa Fox, and venture capitalist Fred Wilson.

E-mail overload is caused by the sheer volume of messages zipping around the globe. Each day, about 39.7 billion person-to-person e-mails, 17.1 billion automated alerts, and 40.5 billion pieces of spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) are sent worldwide, researcher IDC says. White-collar workers often receive 140 messages a day, executive coach Marsha Egan says.

E-mail can be a useful communication tool, and people who write a lot of it are more likely to receive it, IDC (IDC) tech analyst Mark Levitt says. But it can quickly get out of hand.

“I didn’t even have time to figure out where to start,” says Edward O’Connor, a Web developer from San Diego who declared e-mail bankruptcy two weeks ago. O’Connor had about 750 messages dating back three years, almost all of which needed a reply. “I was completely overwhelmed,” he says.

Egan says even the busiest e-mailers can, with care, keep control of their in-boxes. Her tips:

•Don’t use e-mail to avoid unpleasant tasks. “I couldn’t believe people who had never talked to each other but worked in the same office,” says Scott Dockter, CEO of PBD. Dockter started e-mail-free Fridays about a year-and-a-half ago. Since then, the number of messages his 400 employees send has dropped by about 75%.

•Don’t constantly check for new messages. It can take four minutes to refocus on work after checking an e-mail, Egan says. Jay Ellison, chief operating officer of U.S. Cellular, estimates that his 7,000 employees spend about 1½ hours a day on their in-boxes. E-mail-free Fridays give them more time to solve customers’ problems, he says.

•Respond to important messages first — even if they’re difficult. Less-pressing issues can wait until a free moment, Egan says.

###

So, how to save your weekend from e-mail or — worse still — the mediocrity of “what should I do?” and having it end before it starts?

I’m just as lazy as the rest of the world about weekend planning, so here’s the trick: I asked people to describe dream “dates” in detail in the second-to-last post. Now, in the comments, you have beautifully detailed itineraries for having an unforgettable 24 hours in dozens of cities and states, including:

Las Vegas
Honolulu
Utah
New York City
Washington, D.C.
Chicago
Los Angeles
Toronto, Canada
Boston
Atlanta
Munich, Germany
Seattle, Washington
Perth, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Jerusalem
New Orleans
Portland, Oregon
Missouri
Namibia
Jerusalem
Sedona, Arizona
Sydney, Australia
Cambria, California
Raleigh, North Carolina
Malaysia
Esfahan, Iran

Here’s the challenge: using the comments as samples, create at least one day this weekend that is truly amazing and put it in the comments here.

The reader whose description I like the most will get at least 36 copies of the 1st printing of The 4-Hour Workweek as early X-mas presents. First-edition manuscripts have sold for more than $1,500 on eBay, so these are nice stocking stuffers :)

Photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube, and such are not required, but some evidence will help prove the experience wasn’t just your imagination.

So, make haste — plan now and play hard!

[P.S. The winners of the dream date competition are mthorley, malia, AF, donovan, andrewrogers, ryanmcknight, macewen, and adam (seattle date). Please check your inboxes for further instructions.]

Posted on: December 7, 2007.

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58 comments on “E-mail-Free Fridays and How to Save Your Weekend

  1. A couple of years ago, we were in Boston, and the weekend was a blast.

    We started by following the red trail that visits all the historic monuments: we followed it loosely, breaking off when interested, and stayed on for sights like the U.S.S. Constitution. I would name where we did what, but really, it depends on individual taste. Of course, when you pass by the part on the tour where a tour guide would say that this is where Patrick Henry saw the lights in the church tower from across the water, make absolutely sure you stop by the Cheers restaurant based off of the TV show and have their giant burger.

    That will take up an immense part of your day. But you will see so much history, and you will be awed enough to find it worth it. Next stop is the Redsox game, in the perpetually sold out Fenway Park. Assuming that it’s the fourth of July, as it annually is, board the dinner boat that you had booked earlier in the day. The dinner will be great, if you work it right you can get champagne on the house, and the fireworks up and down the coast are beautiful.

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  2. Thought that’s where you were going. Nice! I skimmed the comments earlier today and was struck by how useful a resource they were. Unfortunately I’m not in any of the relevant places right now, but I think I’ll save a hard copy for future reference. Come to think of it, my wife and I will be in DC in a few weeks. I’ll have to look closely at that one. Meanwhile, they’re all great for inspiration.

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  3. This is a combination of unforgettable moments from several trips to Seattle. I’d love to go again, and combine them into one amazing day:

    Flight arrives Friday afternoon. Get settled, then go (by invitation only, of course) to “Game Night” at one of the area’s many tech companies. Lots of fun, laughter, and the scintillating company of brilliant people. Stay up way too late, but don’t regret it.

    After a good night’s sleep (I’d recommend a hotel, but I always stay with friends), have a hearty late breakfast (I believe they serve it all day) at the Issaquah Cafe in Issaquah, then drive down to Snoqualmie, see Snoqualmie Falls, wander through the misty forest, walk through old trains, and visit the Farmer’s Market. Pick up some snacks at the market for a light lunch.

    Drive back up to Seattle and visit the Experience Music Project (don’t miss their art exhibitions, too!), then head over to the waterfront. Go for a ferry ride, explore some islands if you have time (you’ll need your car), then back to the mainland and have a luxurious dinner at the Waterfront Seafood Grill on Pier 70.

    Sleep hard, happy and exhausted.

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  4. My truely amazing weekend is simple and actually will happen this weekend.
    Because of work I’ve been putting off construction on my place which I’m making a DIY job. It’s going to be myself and some friends, some beer and pizza. No phone/email/work related stuff. Construction and building things has always been a hobby so its a nice break from the stagnant sitting behind a desk routine.

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  5. This weekend I’m taking a break from the normal routine. My hobby is building things and I have been putting off a DIY project for a while. So this weekend I have some friends, beer, and pizza coming through for a nice saturday of working around the house. As much as I like getting away (I usually weekend in florida during the winter months) I want to get some stuff done. It breaks the normal routine of just doing nothing over the weekend.

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  6. @purevoid
    Boracay is amazing, but a bit too commercial nowadays. Every ten feet is another person in your face begging you to buy fake sunglasses or ride in their boats. Now Palawin (spelling?) is the place to be. Still in the Philippines but much quieter and better beach access.

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  7. @TimFerriss
    On a side note, I’m launching a new web site with a friend in Jan/Feb of 2008. It’s going to be focused on 20-somethings and everything vital to our age bracket (career advice, apartment hunting, hot spots in various cities, etc.) I’m not going to include the Domain Name here because I’m not trying to get free ad space. The reason I mention this is because as part of the site my friend John and I will be authoring blogs. I read your example of the four hour body based on the Colorado experiment (http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/category/the-4-hour-body/) and I’m going to do the experiment, but with slightly different terms (the diet part – I’m going to eat worse than you did, see what the effects will be). The experiment will be one of my first few blog postings and if you’d like, I can send you the article before I post it.

    Cheers!
    Dave S (SchraderTrader)

    ###

    Hi Dave,

    I’d love to see it! Please email it to me via my assistant Amy at amy-at-fourhourworkweek.com. Happy gaining!

    Tim

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  8. As I write this the weather here in Sarasota Florida is a balmy 75…the breeze coming in through all the open windows feels vitamin-rich and is scented with the fragrance of grapefruit blossoms from my tree. This weekend — tomorrow, in fact — I will start the day with a run on Siesta Beach, just a few miles from home. Siesta Beach has sand the color and texture of confectioner’s sugar. It doesn’t get hot, even on the scorchiest Florida day, so one doesn’t have to run from shadow to shadow to prevent foot burn. After my run I’ll have breakfast at The Serving Spoon, a great little neighborhood place…”Veggie Spuds” (six kinds of veggies, potatoes, cheese, and a fried egg) is the dish of choice…side of fruit and an English Muffin. After breakfast I’ll head to Crowley Nursery, which specializes in tropical exotic plants. I’m shopping for a new variety of banana to add to my tropical fruit garden. I can wander there for hours. After dropping off my new banana tree at the house, I’ll drive to Crystal River (north of here) to snorkel with the manatees. I have a new waterproof cmera so I hope to capture a few closeups of the lovely sea-cows. There’s a great fruit stand on the drive back…I’ll buy some mangoes and have those with some fruit from my own garden for dinner…an old Mel Brooks movie on DVD and early to bed. That’s it, another day in Paradise.

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  9. For my awesome day this weekend, I’m taking the train into Chicago with my sisters. We’ll start the day at Lincoln Park Zoo enjoying the animals and the Christmas lights. Then we’ll move on to State Street and wander over to Millenium Park. Dinner will probably be at Uno’s or another iconic pizza place, followed by a fun train ride home looking at our pictures from the day.

    Total cost will probably be $50 per head (excluding shopping!)

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  10. I am a student with no money so getting up and leaving wasn’t the easiest thing to do but when done it was well worth the trip. I decided first of all that all my papers and homework can be done on the train so I won’t have to be at home to get it done. Me and my buddy decided to take a trip to chicago randomly one weekend. The train we decided was the best and cheapest way to get there. We then went to the city and found out there was a beer pong tournament going on. Amazing time watched football played some beer pong had so much fun had the cell phones turned off and had complete freedom. We ended up meeting up at the bars later with some friends from back awhile ago. The thing is when you do something like this and you get back into the real world your not the same person you know control what gos on not other people

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  11. Hey Tim,

    Looks like I missed the dream date contest. Here’s mine:

    (Assume it’s summer) Start at the Art Institute of Chicago. They have a really cool collection of medieval weapons, katanas, etc. in the lower level. They usually have an exhibit or two I also want to see.

    Then a walk along Michigan avenue to the Chicago Summerdance. They have a HUGE 3,500 square foot open-air dance floor. They have a lesson starting around 6, then live dancing from 7:30 to 9:30. There’s all different kinds of music, but I love their tango and salsa nights the most.

    I usually skip the lesson, since I know how to dance. But that means the best spots to sit near the dance floor are taken. My solution? I usually bring chocolate fondue and wine, and make friends with some older people already seated. They keep an eye on it for me.

    After the dance is over, a carriage ride up Michigan Ave (also called the Magnificent Mile) to the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock tower. For dinner reservations, ask to be seated in the southeast corner of the restaurant for the best view of Navy Pier.

    After dinner, have your date scout the woman’s room for you. When it’s empty, have her sneak you in for the best view of the city anywhere.

    (Optional – if you have a bike or don’t mind a 4 mile scenic walk, start earlier. Go to the Lincoln Park Zoo and admire all the animals. I like the seals and polar bear the best. From there, exit to the north and go east to the lakefront. Head south on the bike paths – it’s usually crowded but not so much that it’s annoying. Then head over to Navy Pier for the Ferris wheel and other entertainment. After that, head to the Art Institute as above.)

    I don’t know if links to pics will show up here, so I just put a post on my own blog. http://www.burtonkent.com/dreamdate

    Like

  12. On the way to anywhere — read “The Hamster Revolution”, a short book dedicated to getting 15 days more free time a year by cutting back on the e-mail overload. That’s 7 more weekends (dream dates) a year.

    Like

  13. I am going to keep it simple. I will board our dog for the day on Saturday. Sat. AM, I will take my wife to a small family diner for breakfast, than off to a European day spa, lunch at our favorite deli in Royal Oak, MI, an afternoon nap and then dinner at a great seafood restaurant followed by a jazz club and martinis to cap off the night.

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  14. A lot of people bitch about email, but I think the problem for many is actually an email addiction. Like you have to keep checking it to see if you have anything new, or because you don’t want to miss something. It’s actually used to avoid doing something painful/boring (but usually important). And the popup notifications also creating ADD in everyone where the ability to focus is reduced.

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  15. Raining in California, but this also brought a very large swell. Surfing Saturday morning, followed by breakfast burritos and coffee at chill-out cafe in Santa Cruz. The trails are moist from the rain so will hook up in the afternoon with some buddies for downhill mountain biking up by the University (UCSC). We will then celebrate our victories together at the local brewery by Seabright beach.

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  16. My awesome day would be returning to the beaches in Bermuda. The small beaches like Tobacco Bay and Achilles Bay are beautiful! Walking between beaches and snorkeling with huge parrotfish is too much fun. But swimming around huge rocks that block the view of the beach provides an odd sense of calm. You know the beach is close but all you see is rocks and all you feel is the pull of the water. Enjoy!

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  17. Today will be a very special day.

    Today, we will drink egg nog lattes with our breakfast, just because we can. We’ll let Michael eat as many Froot Loops as he wants. We’ll turn the holiday music up loud. I will sing and the baby will cover his ears and everyone else will laugh.

    Today, we will buy our tree, something lush and heady. It will be Jack’s second Christmas, but his very first tree. His brother will patiently explain every nuance and subtlety of the tree-trimming experience, and Jack will eat the tinsel anyway. We will enter into negotiations about where to replant it in January. I will say the front and my husband will say the back. He’ll probably win because he’ll probably be right.

    Today, I will put on the boots I haven’t worn since before we had the kids and we will go out dancing. I will sip frothy pink drinks and he will call me “honey” and I will melt like I always do.

    Tonight, when we get home, he will make me a late-night omelet.

    Then, as I bite into my first buttery mushroom, he will look at me and say, “Today was a very special day.”

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  18. I gather we should tell you about a real plan for this current weekend? Not possible for me this weekend. It’s not too late yet, it’s just that I had a crazy busy week, and I’d rather stay home and ‘recover’ from all the hassle I’ve gone through during the week, than go out. I miss my personal emails and browsing the net for my own pleasure, so that’s going to be my main activity for this weekend. Believe it or not, that’s how I’ll *enjoy* it. Plus long naps of course, and good food. ;)

    I would love, however, to share with you two experiences I had not so long ago, thanks to which I discovered how an email-free day is truly amazing. Both occurred during week days, which added an extra for the experience.

    A few weeks ago, I decided to take a break from my life, log out from the Internet for a whole day and go to the beach. I am in Agadir (Morocco), and we have some amazing beaches nearby. I picked the best one of course, although it’s a bit far. I went there with the girls, my nieces and nephews (all kiddos). It was not an all adult day, nor one focused on the kids. It was quite balanced, and everyone had a great time.
    I played on the sand, ran with the kids, and had fresh air. I was missing that so badly. I also walked for quite a while in the surroundings, and discovered new natural sights I had never seen before, although this was not my first visit to that beach.
    We decided not to have lunch at the beach, the traditional way [you know, sitting and eating sandwiches on a towel, struggling with the parasol trying to fix it every two minutes, and trying to calm the excited kids down]. That saved us a lot of trouble and efforts.
    It’s amazing how you feel by the end of a spent day on the beach, when you go home in the evening.
    Now I don’t swim, but I make sure I spend the longest time possible around the waves and their great sound, for one purpose (do not laugh!): the feeling of dizziness [due to both fatigue and an all-day spent at the beach] I have during the whole evening, and the sound of waves in my ears. Priceless. I love it when I go to bed, dead tired, feeling great, waves’ sound in my ears, and a bit dizzy like if I am still at the beach. I could swear at times that my bed is a huge wave transporting me, to the arms of Morpheus. ;)
    I should confess that I cheated though, by checking my emails during the day, but only once, which is a huge achievement for me. And I actually didn’t fully cheat by reading them like I would usually do. I was actually waiting for an important email, and could not wait until the evening to get the news. I basically just checked the senders’ names in vertical reading, looking for a specific name, when it wasn’t it there, I logged out immediately. So that doesn’t count, huh?
    I have pictures of that weekend, but surprise surprise, I am not on Flickr. I don’t mind sharing them with you though, Tim.

    My second experience was in the middle of a super active week, and in the holy month of Ramadan [during which we Muslims fast]. We went by ‘bus’, and the trip started around 3am. My girls and I arrived to Marrakesh around 8am. That means we were there at 8am, exhausted, lacking of sleep, hungry and thirsty. Hmmm, but it was not as bad as it sounds. ;) I have to confess that this trip was not basically for our own pleasure, but we decided to enjoy it to the max. So around midday, we were done with the main reason of our trip, and went to discover the city. Majorelle Garden, we thought! And there we went. It’s a famous garden in Marrakesh that has plants from the four corners of the world. Check out its pictures on my blog:

    http://www.lalla-mira.com/2007/09/27/my-trip-to-marrakech/

    — The sight, colors and atmosphere inside the garden were so relaxing we decided to stay there for quite a while.
    There were many other interesting places to visit in Marrakesh, but we had to go back to Agadir the same day. We got our bus tickets, spent a few hours on the road and I was home around 8pm. I decided to call it a day, and not even check my emails until the following day, when I felt like I hadn’t been online for ages.

    I think this will do for now. No need to tell you about the week I spent in Paris, and how I felt about being disconnected from the world. I mean, the Internet. The circumstances were different, I *had* to check my emails selectively a few times during my stay there, but when I came home, I realized how wonderful it is to lose contact with the virtual world for a whole week.

    Ooops for the long comment, hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.
    Have a nice weekend everyone. :)

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  19. The Old San Juan Date – My husband and I are in Puerto Rico this week experimenting on working remotely and visiting my mother. After my husband did one day of work that pretty much paid for our entire trip, we drove into Old San Juan. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that – an old Colonial city by the sea, beautiful architecture and fabulous restaurants. We started the evening with a tapas dinner at Dragonfly, then took a walk through the old city by Paseo de La Princesa (a promenade that takes you by the ocean around the outer walls of the fortified city. Then we walked back through the city doors onto a beautiful street (Calle de La Luna), and up by the old cathedral. On our way back to the car we were lured in to Sonne (another restaurant) by the sounds of a latin jazz quartet and there I enjoyed one of the best mojitos I have ever tasted (it was made with passion fruit juice). It was a magical evening!

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  20. For me, this weekend is about growth, not glamour. I am taking time to absorb my new reality. 7 days ago I left a life and a lover behind in order to place myself in a controlled environment where I can apply the 4HWW principles to the best of my ability.

    Today, I had a breakthrough after finishing The Black Swan. The real work will start Monday once I have high-speed internet hooked up. Please keep your fingers crossed for me after the conclusion of your whirlwind weekends!

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  21. Here it is. But first, I have made a conscious decision on Friday to leave work behind.

    Waking up without an alarm. Savoring that just-woke-up feeling for a moment too long.

    Perfect, dark coffee and a hearty breakfast with my husband at our favorite spot, Butter in Minneapolis. He orders French Toast and I order the breakfast sandwich like always.

    People watching, we make up stories about the lives of those in the tables around us. We page through the local arts paper and look for new books, new bands, and share observations, dreams, a laugh. We are so cheesy, we regularly blow each other kisses.

    Next, snowshoeing in Theodore Wirth Park. We have a fresh blanket of snow and want to prove to winter she hasn’t beat us. We take lots of pictures of outside and each other. We challenge each other to take that next mile. Our noses and cheeks are cold, but we are exhilarated.

    At home I make hot chocolate from scratch. We snack on cheese, crackers, and meat slices in front of the tree.

    Serious love making and then a nap.

    After the nap, we crawl into our made-for-2 whirlpool tub with our latest books and enjoy each other’s company.

    A carnivore’s dinner of garlic steak and fresh vegetables homemade by yours truly.

    Finally, a movie on the couch with multiple blankets. (We have a 90-inch screen and a long Netflix list, so there is no need to go out to the movies.)

    In bed, it’s late and we indulge in Art Bell on Coast-to-Coast live on the radio. We laugh at the conspiracy theories. We cuddle up tight. We wonder why every day can’t be so satifying. And then one of us snores.

    That was a great weekend day.

    Tim, thanks for inspiring and challenging us. This blog and your work is fantastic!

    Like

  22. TIM! This challenge was awesome!! I read this on Friday night and got so excited I could hardly sleep. My girlfriend (Amanda) and I went all out on this, so enjoy:
    SATURDAY (We were super lucky to have a perfect sunny day during December in Seattle. Freezing cold, but sunny):
    –Snuck into my girlfriend’s apartment and made a huge Spanish omelet, as well as a tall stack of French toast to wake her up with. Brought her breakfast in bed, but then told her we wouldn’t be eating it there, instead she had to follow me to our breakfast table… the one I had conveniently set-up on the roof of my former apartment building, about a block away. We got in because I… uh… may or may not still have a copy of the building keys. It was a beautiful way to enjoy the rare December sunlight and start our attempt at the ultimate day!
    –Next we hopped on our bicycles and rode from the university district along the Burke-Gilman trail, which winds through the woods along the edge of Lake Washington and offers some truly gorgeous views. On our way back, we stopped at the outdoor rock-climbing wall at the University of Washington. After a good workout with some tough, slippery bouldering, we rode down to the nearby UW boat club and rented a kayak for two. We paddled throughout Lake Washington for an hour or so, admiring the gorgeous views of the University and the shores all around. Afterwards, we hopped back on our bikes and pedaled over to Fremont, where we made a brief stop to say hello to the enormous troll statue, complete with a Santa hat to celebrate the season.
    –After pedaling back home, we grabbed our rollerblades and drove down to Greenlake. Greenlake is a beautiful place to walk, run, bike, rollerblade, or just people watch. It’s 2.9 miles around, so after circling the lake, we were starving. We headed over to Duke’s Chowderhouse for some of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had in my life. It was a perfect chance to relax in the sun and enjoy some hot food after all that morning exercise.
    –After the late lunch, we decided we needed to get back on the adrenaline train. We both graduated from college this summer, so we felt we needed to feel some closure from our college days. Streaking through campus would probably be the best way to do this. Call it immature or cliché if you want, but it’s pretty damn exciting! (Even on a Saturday) I donned my Nacho Libre mask and cape from Halloween, but my girlfriend had second thoughts, so she agreed to be my getaway driver. I could not believe how hard my heart was pounding when I started! But it’s funny, after a minute or two spent sprinting through campus at full speed, you start to feel sorry for all the people who feel they have no choice but to wear clothes in public. Haha! (I got some video of me running, but something tells me it’s not youtube appropriate).
    –To wind down, Amanda and I decided to draw portraits of each other. We borrowed some supplies from her roommate and had a hell of a time trying to draw “serious” portraits of each other. Definitely led to some hysterical laughter in the apartment.
    –Next up, a fancy dinner downtown! We headed to Palisade, which has FANTASTIC food (without breaking the wallet completely). While enjoying some scallops and crab cakes, Amanda and I started talking about an idea we’d had for a long time: to see if we could get a free meal by going into a restaurant and performing a fake wedding proposal!! It seemed like a long-shot, but this was our “ultimate day”, so we decided to give it a go. It probably seemed a bit odd, seeing as how I had not notified the staff in any way beforehand, as well as the fact that we were not in one of the “special” romantic seats, but the reaction was amazing! After finishing most of our meal, I took one of Amanda’s rings she had been wearing (a sapphire, nice and blue, which we thought was pretty funny), and got down on one knee next to the table. I was SUPER nervous, even knowing it was fake, but Amanda was perfect in her reaction, and we got a huge round of applause from the entire restaurant!!! Unfortunately, dinner was not free!! We wondered if maybe we should have just hugged and whirled each other out the door in a fit of ecstasy, but we did get a nice free dessert, and an invitation to dine for free after the wedding!
    –On the drive back, I had Amanda wrap a scarf around her head so she couldn’t see where I was driving. She knows Seattle even better than I do, so I had to pull a few donuts in some parking lots and more than a few figure 8’s to get her sufficiently confused. I drove us up to Gasworks park, and carefully led her out to the lookout point from which you can see the entire downtown area across the water. Needless to say, she was ecstatic. What a way to bask in the “post-proposal” glow!
    –Next we headed to a Xmas party at Amanda’s brother-in-law’s rug store, where we got to boogie down and see our first ever burlesque dance performance, put on by “The Atomic Bombshells”.
    –Not ready to end the night quite yet, we added the ultimate touch to conclude our perfect day: an Ipod dance party! For those of you who don’t know, an Ipod dance party is where each person is wearing their Ipod, grooving to their own beat, regardless of what anyone else might be listening too. To a non-participant, it would appear to be one of the craziest things you could ever hope to see, because there is no audible sound (aside from laughter) and everyone is silently twisting and grooving in their own unique way. If you haven’t yet, you MUST participate in one soon! It was unbelievably fun!
    –This morning, still invigorated from our ultimate day, Amanda and I decided to become ordained ministers. I am not religious whatsoever, but it seemed like a fun addition to my business card. The Universal Life Church is headquartered on Broadway here in Seattle, but it is much simpler to become ordained online. I won’t post the site, just google Universal Life Church. We can now perform weddings and baptisms, but not circumcisions. It started snowing right after we “became ordained” so hopefully the balance of the universe has not been thrown off too much!
    –Finally, right before I started typing up this novel-length comment, I bought the ticket I need to join my friends on the South America adventure we’ve been planning forever: a one-way ticket from Seattle to Buenos Aires! (Hey Tim, how’s $500 for a one-way from the States to Bs As?)
    –Later today, I get to pick up my sister at the airport. She’s been doing a study abroad program, going around the world on a ship, and I haven’t seen her in 4 months. I must point out that this weekend cost less than $200, about 75% of which came from our extravagant dinner. It’s definitely not a lack of money that limits your adventures, just your creativity! And needless to say, the weekend contained no e-mail or internet whatsoever! Sorry again for the super-long post, I just had to include it all! Thanks for the awesome challenge Tim! It makes me wonder why I don’t do this stuff all the time. I definitely had a weekend I will remember for the rest of my life.
    Pictures from our wonderful day on Flickr! http://www.flickr.com/photos/21663706@N07/sets/72157603418288551/

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  23. Oy! Lo siento about the formatting mistakes with the ‘s and “s! Next time I’ll just write it straight into the blog box here.

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  24. TIM! This challenge was awesome!! I read this on Friday night and got so excited I could hardly sleep. My girlfriend (Amanda) and I went all out on this, so enjoy:
    SATURDAY (We were super lucky to have a perfect sunny day during December in Seattle. Freezing cold, but sunny):
    –Snuck into my girlfriend’s apartment and made a huge Spanish omelet, as well as a tall stack of French toast to wake her up with. Brought her breakfast in bed, but then told her we wouldn’t be eating it there, instead she had to follow me to our breakfast tab…
    the one I had conveniently set-up on the roof of my former apartment building, about a block away. We got in because I… uh… may or may not still have a copy of the building keys. It was a beautiful way to enjoy the rare December sunlight and start our attempt at the ultimate day!
    –Next we hopped on our bicycles and rode from the university district along the Burke-Gilman trail, which winds through the woods along the edge of Lake Washington and offers some truly gorgeous views. On our way back, we stopped at the outdoor rock-climbing wall at the University of Washington. After a good workout with some tough, slippery bouldering, we rode down to the nearby UW boat club and rented a kayak for two. We paddled throughout Lake Washington for an hour or so, admiring the gorgeous views of the University and the shores all around. Afterwards, we hopped back on our bikes and pedaled over to Fremont, where we made a brief stop to say hello to the enormous troll statue, complete with a Santa hat to celebrate the season.
    –After pedaling back home, we grabbed our rollerblades and drove down to Greenlake. Greenlake is a beautiful place to walk, run, bike, rollerblade, or just people watch. It’s 2.9 miles around, so after circling the lake, we were starving. We headed over to Duke’s Chowderhouse for some of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had in my life. It was a perfect chance to relax in the sun and enjoy some hot food after all that morning exercise.
    –After the late lunch, we decided we needed to get back on the adrenaline train. We both graduated from college this summer, so we felt we needed to feel some closure from our college days. Streaking through campus would probably be the best way to do this. Call it immature or cliche if you want, but it’s pretty damn exciting! (Even on a Saturday) I donned my Nacho Libre mask and cape from Halloween, but my girlfriend had second thoughts, so she agreed to be my getaway driver. I could not believe how hard my heart was pounding when I started! But it’s funny, after a minute or two spent sprinting through campus at full speed, you start to feel sorry for all the people who feel they have no choice but to wear clothes in public. Haha!
    –To wind down, Amanda and I decided to draw portraits of each other. We borrowed some supplies from her roommate and had a hell of a time trying to draw “serious” portraits of each other. Definitely led to some hysterical laughter in the apartment. Then the sun set at 4:15 PM.

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  25. –Next up, a fancy dinner downtown! We headed to Palisade, which has FANTASTIC food (without breaking the wallet completely). While enjoying some scallops and crab cakes, Amanda and I started talking about an idea we’d had for a long time: to see if we could get a free meal by going into a restaurant and performing a fake wedding proposal!! It seemed like a long-shot, but this was our “ultimate day”, so we decided to give it a go. It probably seemed a bit odd, seeing as how I had not notified the staff in any way beforehand, as well as the fact that we were not in one of the “special” romantic seats, but the reaction was amazing! After finishing most of our meal, I took one of Amanda’s rings she had been wearing (a sapphire, nice and blue, which we thought was pretty funny), and got down on one knee next to the table. I was SUPER nervous, even knowing it was fake, but Amanda was perfect in her reaction, and we got a huge round of applause from the entire restaurant!!! Unfortunately, dinner was not free!! We wondered if maybe we should have just hugged and whirled each other out the door in a fit of ecstasy, but we did get a nice free dessert, and an invitation to dine for free after the wedding!
    –On the drive back, I had Amanda wrap a scarf around her head so she couldn’t see where I was driving. She knows Seattle even better than I do, so I had to pull a few donuts in some parking lots and more than a few figure 8’s to get her sufficiently confused. I drove us up to Gasworks park, and carefully led her out to the lookout point from which you can see the entire downtown area across the water. Needless to say, she was ecstatic. What a way to bask in the “post-proposal” glow!
    –Next we headed to a Xmas party at Amanda’s brother-in-law’s rug store, where we got to boogie down and see our first ever burlesque dance performance, put on by “The Atomic Bombshells”.
    Not ready to end the night quite yet, we added the ultimate touch to conclude our perfect day: an Ipod dance party! For those of you who don’t know, an Ipod dance party is where each person is wearing their Ipod, grooving to their own beat, regardless of what anyone else might be listening too. To a non-participant, it would appear to be one of the craziest things you could ever hope to see, because there is no audible sound (aside from laughter) and everyone is silently twisting and grooving in their own unique way. If you haven’t yet, you MUST participate in one soon! It was unbelievably fun!
    –This morning, still invigorated from our ultimate day, Amanda and I decided to become ordained ministers. I am not religious whatsoever, but it seemed like a fun addition to my business card. The Universal Life Church is headquartered on Broadway here in Seattle, but it is much simpler to become ordained online. I won’t post the site, just google Universal Life Church. We can now perform weddings and baptisms, but not circumcisions. It started snowing right after we “became ordained” so hopefully the balance of the universe has not been thrown off too much!
    –Finally, right before I started typing up this novel-length comment, I bought the ticket I need to join my friends on the South America adventure we’ve been planning forever: a one-way ticket from Seattle to Buenos Aires! (Hey Tim, how’s $500 for a one-way from the States to Bs As?)
    –Later today, I get to pick up my sister at the airport. She’s been doing a study abroad program, going around the world on a ship, and I haven’t seen her in 4 months. I must point out that this weekend cost less than $200, about 75% of which came from our extravagant dinner. And needless to say, the weekend contained no e-mail or internet whatsoever! Sorry again for the super-long post, I just had to include it all! Thanks for the awesome challenge Tim! It makes me wonder why I don’t do this stuff all the time. I definitely had a weekend I will remember for the rest of my life.
    Pictures from our wonderful day on Flickr!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/21663706@N07/sets/72157603418288551/

    Ay carumba! Sorry for posting this twice Tim!

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  26. Extra hour on Friday to drive to the beach (30 minutes away) and take an extended lunch with all the people in the office. Specifically go to Che-burger Che-burger over in the coast of Ontario Lake in Rochester, NY to take the 1 pound burger challenge. Whoever can eat the burger gets their picture taken and posted on the wall. And yeah, I ate it :-D

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  27. I was inspired on Saturday evening while catching up on reading your blog. It was too late to plan a “dream day” this weekend with my husband, but not too late to plan something fun. The holidays and project deadlines have taken a toll on us these past few weeks with little respite in the near future – add an 18 month old, and my 4.5 month along pregnancy (our second due in April).

    After my husband headed out to hang with some guys for the evening, I called and arranged for my mother-in-law to watch our son the next day. I only hoped that my husband wouldn’t be too hung over to get up and have some fun with me before spending the rest of the evening working to meet a project deadline.

    Sunday morning, my husband slept in with our son (we co-sleep). I brought him some coffee and we got ready to head out. We left our son with his grandparents and proceeded to enjoy a laid-back afternoon. With no set itinerary, or reservations we headed to Fremont (a neighborhood in Seattle). We enjoyed a hearty lunch at Roxy’s Diner. They boast of “bringing the East Coast to the West Coast.”

    Wandering toward the Fremont Market a few blocks away, we decided to follow signs down an alley to an art glass studio. There we enjoyed chatting with Dan Friday, glass artist. After admiring some ornate light sconces, we bought the most unlikely piece – a pint glass made from an “Arrogant Bastard Ale” bottle. The Fremont Market proceeded with lots of in out crafts, art, and garage sale random booths. We found some print press blocks (letters for an art project of ours). After warming up with a hot Latte at the nearest coffee shop, we headed home for some more time alone to “warm” each other up.

    I want to Thank you, Tim, for inspiring a semi-spontaneous, wonderful afternoon with my husband.

    Pictures: Sleeping in – http://www.flickr.com/photos/holliwithani/2101611128/
    Arrogant Bastard Ale – http://www.flickr.com/photos/holliwithani/2101612132/

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  28. Pop quiz; what does a century old cocktail, an Asian kid in a Jazz band, and an Artist who charges ugly people extra, all have in common? Answer; they’re all things we experienced on our dream date in New Orleans.

    The plan was to take in the sights, tastes, and sounds of New Orleans culture,as well as, relax and enjoy each other through conversation, laughter, and just being together.

    We did just that! It was truly a fantastic weekend, filled with fun, excitement, conversation, and laughter.

    -From AF’s recommendation we started the evening by heading to the Loews Hotel to find Lu Brow and get two Sazeracs. Unfortunately, Lu Brow wasn’t there but Michael still took great care of us. We took our cocktails into the lounge where we sat, enjoyed the beautiful piano playing and singing, talked about the evening ahead and took in the ambiance of the room.

    -We dined at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse where we enjoyed incredible Filet Mignon with Sauteed Shrimp. The steak could be easily cut with a fork and almost melted in our mouths. Charlene made the comment that, “steak sauce would be an insult”.

    -We talked about traveling the world, learning more about wine, and how much we love each other. We realized that moments like this should be sought after and never taken for granted.

    -Next, we listened to a Jazz band on Bourbon St. Then we strolled hand-in-hand through the beautiful Christmas display at Miracle on Fulton Street.

    -The next day we walked through the French Quarter. We looked at various artwork displayed around the park, watched a street magician, an entertaining group of guys doing various dances and stunts, and eventually ended up at Cafe Du Monde. There we listened to some more great music while we ate beignets and sipped cafe au lait without a care in the world.

    -All-in-all it was a great weekend. I’m thankful that Tim started this topic and that AF decided to post about New Orleans. It gave me the inspiration and boost I needed to plan a great spur-of-the-moment vacation.

    -It ended up giving us a renewed appreciation for drinking in the moments and living life to the fullest.

    I wanted to post the main highlights here, but I have a much more detailed version on my blog at http://www.kevingivens.com/how-to-have-a-dream-date-adventure/

    There you can view a few pictures of our date, including the Asian kid in the Jazz band. You can also find out how our dream date ended up being free.

    Thanks again Tim for an awesome challenge!

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  29. Hey Tim! I read your post right before leaving work Friday. I had hopes that it would be an excellent weekend, but it turned out to be even better than planned. Yes, one can even have an amazing weekend in
    Wagener, SC
    , population 994.
    I left work an hour early to setup my yard for a planned bonfire (see
    photo next morning
    ). We had 15-20 of our closest friends over to enjoy the 50-degree night by sitting around a big fire, roasting marshmallows, and drinking hot chocolate. It was a great way to spend a night with friends.
    After everyone left, my wife of 22 years and I sat by the fire together for an hour, talking a little but mostly just sitting and enjoying each others’ company. After 22 years, we’ve both learned to be cold and distant, and the fire seemed like an apt metaphor for what our marriage needed. Not a spark but a bonfire was needed to make something happen in this relationship.
    A few hours later we connected in a way we hadn’t in a very long time, and to put icing on the cake, I woke at 6:00 am in the midst of a very real dream. My wife and I had been driving separate vehicles through the desert. I wanted to stop and sight see for a while and she wanted to keep moving. We agreed that she would drive on while I stayed back to look around. Moments after she left I found that I had locked my keys and phone in my car. Can you imagine I felt? I needed her, but I had no way to communicate that too her. I wanted to chase after her but she was moving too fast in the opposite direction. If she didn’t come back I might die out here. This dream was a big deal for me and for us—later on in the day I described it to her and maybe it made a difference.
    My Saturday was completely free from work. I met two good friends for breakfast at 6:45 am (see
    photo
    ), and followed up with a round a golf (see photo )—my first in 6 months and I broke 90, pretty spectacular for me. I had the house to myself Saturday afternoon and chose to take my dog Daisy for a ride in the truck, and had a great time (see photo). Saturday night my wife and I went to a Christmas party and had a great time with some work friends. On Sunday we went to church and I followed that with a trip to Columbia, SC, where my daughter and I joined 30,000 others to see Oprah Winfrey and Barak Obama talk about the future of America (see photo). See all the photos at

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sliker/sets/72157603427162671/

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  30. The perfect Friday:
    -Waking up to a breathtaking view of Maple Lake after a heavenly rest at one of the rooms here http://www.innatmaplecrossing.com/
    -Watching the sun rise and light up the glittering soft snow while cross country skiing here:http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=32583 Rydell National Wildlife Refuge
    -Warm coffee and a full breakfast in the Inn with baked apples in a raspberry yogurt sauce with granola, a baked French toast with crisp, fresh squeezed orange juice.
    -Relaxing in the delightful library perusing novels permanently on my ‘to read’ list.
    -Taking a delightful afternoon drive home to Grand Forks, ND listening to my favorite music while the sun sets.
    -Volunteering with a local group to serve a traditional Christmas dinner to international students at the University of North Dakota. Meeting new friends, seeing familiar faces… trying to sing carols, priceless!
    -Meeting up with my best friend from out of town to go sledding! You may think we are crazy in below zero weather but the best part is getting warm afterwards.
    -Relaxing with friends while sipping my favorite concoction of hot cocoa with a plop of ice cream and a splash of bailey’s Irish cream while the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies we made rise in the oven.
    -The end to the perfect day? Snuggle with my husband as we watch Paris Je t’aime.

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  31. Malia from Honolulu checking in here again! =)

    My perfect day this weekend was Sunday, Dec 9th:

    Getting up at 4am and putting on my running shoes for the 2007 Honolulu Marathon! My dad and I have run it together for the last 3 years, and this year was a really tough one. This race is the 3rd largest in the U.S. and I love it because you get a beautiful, scenic view of this city – 26.2 miles of Honolulu! A majority of the entrants are Japanese nationals too, which is kinda fun because it almost makes me feel like I’m running in Japan or something, but that’s a whole different story… =) Dad and I got up at 4am and headed out to the start line despite the pouring rain. The race starts with fireworks overhead as 27,000 runners head out towards downtown Honolulu. Along the way, I had problems with my knee (old injury) and we had to walk the last 18 miles, but my dad is amazing. He kept my spirits up and encouraged me whenever I was getting down. We crossed the finish line togther 7 hours, 37 minutes after we started. I’m a bit sore today, but it was worth it. =)

    You can see pictures (including sunrise and sunset from my perfect day) and read my full recap on my myspace page at myspace dot com / maliayosh.

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  32. Read a snippet at the Gary Halbert Letter and found this interesting and thought you will like this.

    Ted Koppel checks his e-mail only once a month. He is not happy about the enhanced speed of communications. He says it detracts from reflection and carefully-considered answers and solutions.

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  33. I want to comment regarding email. I once worked in the report chain for the director of a project who believed she was being efficient by answering email during meetings. The actual result was points had to be repeated in the meetings so she could get them and those getting the e-mails on the other end often had to go ask her for clarification. All-in-all a time waster.

    I prefer to manage my in-box by splitting it. If it’ll wait a day or three before I need to see it, it gets one address, if I want it now, it gets another.

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  34. Being from Colorado, I would usually pick a weekend in Aspen at this time of year, but that’s a bit unoriginal right? I’m now living in Buenos Aires, Argentina so I’ll have to go with a South American ‘dream weekend’.
    Take a Friday afternoon flight up to Puerto Iguazu. Friday evening and Saturday morning would consist of seeing Iguazu Falls, taking the rafting trips and letting the falls wash away any worries or stress from the previous or upcoming workweek. Next stop Saturday evening would be a small flight from Iguazu to Punte del Este in Uruguay. Saturday night and Sunday would consist of all that Punte del Este has to offer; great beaches, delicious food and beautiful people. Maybe this is all just foresight of upcoming ‘vacations’ for me. Will be in Iguazu and Punta del Este in the middle weeks of January 2008.
    Mendoza and Bariloche with a private plane in Argentina would be a fantastic weekend as well.
    p.s. love the book and the blog Tim, where did you take your tango classes? I’m taking mine at La Viruta Tango.
    Suerte

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  35. Pingback: meneame.net
  36. Uh, Tim…Seems we have a couple of mutual friends. But besides that, I think I may just head to Buenos Aires Monday. The wintering post was enough to push me over the edge.

    Don’t know if you’ll still be there but if so my suggestion is to have a small party at my place (Wednesday? working out the details with Ralf). Pot luck? If not, perhaps we can meet out somewhere.

    Cheers.

    SK

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