Plan Your Weekends Better — Tips From Hemingway

Planning your weekends is a project that can be daunting, with so much time in the weekend and no clue what to do. Here are some tips from Hemingway on how you can keep yourself occupied without overloading yourself or committing too many hours at once.

The “Hemingway Adventures” is a blog that is published by the author of “The Hemingway Code.” The blog is about how to plan your weekends better. It includes tips and advice on how to have more fun, as well as some great stories. Read more in detail here: hemingway adventures.

A man sitting in his leisure time.

We’ve chosen to reprint a vintage essay each Sunday to assist our younger readers discover some of the greatest, evergreen jewels from the past, with our archives currently totaling over 3,500 items. The original version of this essay was published in July of 2018.

When Ernest Hemingway was writing a book on his safari in Africa, he experimented with a paragraph (which he eventually removed) that enumerated all the things he liked and loved to do. He started by gazing at images, towns, seas, fish, and fighting; thinking and observing; and being in boats and wars or on saddle horses with “weapons between your legs.”

The following items were added to the list as it progressed down the page:

To observe the snow, rain, grass, tents, winds, and seasonal changes… To talk, to see your children, one woman, another woman, various women, but really only one woman, some friends, speed, animals… courage, co-ordination, fish migration, many rivers, fishing, forests, fields, all birds that fly, dogs, roads, all good writing, all good painting, the principles of revolution, the practice of revolution, the Christian theory of anarchy, the seasonal variation of the Gulf Stream, its monthly variation, the trade wi

He tried again, still not satisfied that he had captured the things of life that filled his heart:

To stay in places and leave, to trust and distrust, to no longer believe and believe again, to care about fish, different winds, seasons changing, to see what happens, to be out in boats, to sit in the saddle, to watch the snow come and go, to hear rain on the tent, to know where I can find what I want

“What he actually sought was a thorough absorption in the sensory sensation of existence,” Hemingway’s biographer, Carlos Baker, says in response to the above. The lists were only word talismans to aid him in achieving this goal.”

Hemingway was a firm believer in making the most of every opportunity, not only in his working life but also in his own time. Papa always wanted to be in the thick of things, not just as a bystander but as a participant, to have a personal taste of what the world has to offer, using all five senses. He was a hunter, fisherman, sailor, amateur boxer and bullfighter, and globe traveler in addition to being a war journalist and author of famous books. Few people in contemporary history have experienced so much in terms of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

How did he manage it all?

As previously said, he maintained his production of words by a tight daily writing practice.

What you may find unexpected about Hemingway’s life is that the same strict approach he took to his career was also what enabled him to enjoy so much pleasure outside of it.


The “Challenge of Enjoyment” as seen through the eyes of Ernest Hemingway 

The most astonishing thing about Ernest, I believe, is that he has found time to accomplish things that most men just fantasize about. He’s got the guts, initiative, time, and pleasure to travel, assimilate it all, write about it, and, in a way, create it. Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir, by A. E. Hotchner

Papa loved what he referred to as “the fiesta way of life.” He was constantly searching for thrills and adventure, as well as a “hell of a good time.” “I’d never seen somebody with such an atmosphere of pleasure and well-being,” said Hemingway’s friend A. E. Hotchner. He exuded it, and everyone [in his immediate vicinity] reacted.” He was constantly anticipating what was ahead, and he started each day with great hopes for what the day would bring. In reality, he often stood on the balls of his feet, as if he were a boxer, always ready to move, battle, spring into action, and run.

We often image Hemingway having a carefree, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, party-on attitude to life to arrive at the joy he so adored.

However, as Hotchner argues, Papa’s leisure philosophy was the polar opposite of spontaneous:

Ernest’s faith in the endless flow of good fortune was based on a highly disciplined approach to the hours of his days and weeks. Every day was a new task for him, and he planned it out like a field general organizes a campaign.

“Good times should be organized and not left to the vagaries of chance,” Hemingway believed, and he “planned fun as carefully as work, because he considered both of equal significance to Well-Being,” according to Hotchner.

Hemingway’s zeal for his “leisure” time not only resulted in extraordinary experiences for himself, but also for others who reveled in the thrill of being drawn into his circle. “He sparked excitement because he was so serious about everything, about writing and boxing, about nice food and drink,” one buddy said. When he was among us, everything we did took on a new meaning.”

“The fact that Hemingway meticulously planned out his happy moments did not imply that there was no flexibility,” Hotchner continues. A two-day vacation to Paris may easily grow into a two-month stay. But it did mean that Hemingway had a thorough plan for each day, whether he was at home or on vacation, including the locations he wanted to visit, the people he wanted to meet, the activities he wanted to participate in, and the restaurants and bars where he wanted to eat and drink. Each day “was set up meticulously before it dawned or, at the very least, before its beginning,” according to Hotchner.

Make Provisions for Happiness

Hemingway desired a life full of excitement, drama, and genuine interest, and he realized that such characteristics couldn’t be taken for granted – they had to be prepared for and produced.

It’s a well-kept secret that most people are unaware of. Even individuals who schedule their workdays don’t think about scheduling their free time. People go into the weekend unsure of what they want to do with it, and end up idling about the home, succumbing to the lethargy of television, and feeling irritated on Monday that they squandered another 48 hours of potential enjoyment. Or they go on vacations without a set schedule, wander aimlessly for a few days, and come home wishing they had made better use of their limited vacation time.


Making a schedule for your “off hours” will help you get a lot more out of them.

It doesn’t imply blocking out each hour of your nights or weekends, nor does it need carrying a sheet of vacation activities and constantly checking your watch to make sure you’re moving between them. It does not exclude flexibility, change of plans, or unexpected diversions. It isn’t even necessary to prepare too far ahead of time.

Instead, it’s as easy as coming up with a fun activity to do and a new restaurant to visit before the weekend begins. The McKays, for example, aim to choose one microadventure to accomplish on Friday evening or Saturday during our weekly family gathering. We’ve discovered that if we don’t have a strategy in place, we tend to waste the weekend by doing nothing.

Spending 20 minutes each night while on vacation, looking at travel sites or books, and deciding on a few things to do the following day is also an easy way to plan your free time. That way, when you wake up in the morning, you’ll be set to go.

It’s also an issue of properly planning such travels. Making those “We should do that someday” ideas a reality.

It’s useful to make a list of all the activities you like and want to do, as Hemingway did. Then consider how you may include more of these in your life on a more regular basis. Then devise a strategy for achieving your goal.

Don’t let the wonderful moments pass you by.  

“Never regretted anything I ever done,” Hemingway stated. I only have regrets about things I didn’t accomplish.”



Watch This Video-

The “guide to hemingway” is a free guide that teaches you how to plan your weekends better. It has tips on how to make the most of your time, and also includes advice on what not to do.

Related Tags

  • hemingway anecdotes
  • hemingway reading list
  • hemingway boxing
  • what did hemingway think of proust
  • hemingway eyesight