Let’s jump right to the bottom line: your weekends shouldn’t be a source of stress!
Every weekend—and everyone’s weekend—will look different. But whether your weekend is wide open or filled with professional obligations, spent alone or with loved ones, crossing off chores or being fun and fancy-free, it should be a time that you use and enjoy to its fullest potential.
Worried that you’re not getting the most out of those coveted two days and three nights? Try these 7 easy ways to maximize your weekend:
For some people, planning and scheduling may sound like a drag. How can you enjoy your weekend if every second is scheduled?
That’s the secret.
Planning fun activities and scheduling downtime doesn’t take away the fun or diminish the relaxation. Planning ahead is how you ensure that you can go out with friends or veg out on the couch. If you don’t set aside time for what you want to do—whether that’s taxes, work emails, rock-climbing or binge watching Daredevil’s second season—it will never get done. Your weekend will rush by and you’ll wonder where all that time went.
All work and no play makes for a stressful weekend. On the other hand, all play and no work may not jive with your responsibilities.
Try to aim for a balance between the two. If you have a work-heavy weekend (due to professional obligations or home repair emergencies), be sure to schedule fun or relaxing breaks. If you have a relaxing or fun weekend planned, try to get one or two small tasks knocked off your to-do list at the beginning (Friday night) or end (Sunday night). That way you don’t go into the next week with an overwhelming backlog of tasks on your to-do list.
New Weekend, Fresh Slate.
Lists like this one make it easy to feel stressed about your weekend. All the do’s and don’ts can make it seem like you have to fit in work, an old hobby, a new hobby, housework, volunteer work, alone time, family time, friends time, all while exercising, meditating and discovering the real you.
That’s a lot to pin on one weekend.
Remember that not every weekend will look the same. If you know you need to work on a big project one weekend, try to block out the next weekend for fun activities and vice versa. You get a new weekend at the end of every week, so stop putting so much pressure on yourself.
Stick to Your Schedule.
Who doesn’t love a little extra sleep?
Turns out, your body might not. Snoozing an extra four hours may feel nice at the time, but ultimately makes it harder to readjust to your normal schedule. If a particularly late night wears you out, limit yourself to an extra hour’s sleep.
Pull the Plug.
Unless specific, pressing circumstances dictate it, there’s no reason you have to be on-call—personally or professionally—all weekend, every weekend.
Schedule a few 15 minute blocks per day for checking email and social media, but otherwise, leave your phone, tablet, what-have-you alone. Let yourself be present and live in the moment.
Feeling particularly brave? Try instituting a tech sabbath.
Make Work Fun.
Weekend work can be unavoidable. Maybe your home office is in dire need of an overhaul. Or perhaps your company requires you to travel for work.
If you have to spend some (or all) of your weekend on the clock, find ways to make it enjoyable. Put on your favorite movie, music or podcast while organizing your files. Take breaks for a snack, a walk or a phone call with an old friend.
Can’t avoid traveling? Look for hotels that offer a little more bang for your buck. Pick accommodations with unique services like spas or casinos. Splurge on fine dining reservations or squeeze in a little sightseeing.
Put Yourself Out There.
Apologies if this bursts your bubble, but: there is no weekend fairy.
Weekend plans don’t magically appear. Do you want to spend quality time with friends or family? Want to meet new people? Dying to try something new? These all take a bit of planning.
Scheduling your weekend in advance (see #1, above) will help, but part of that includes taking the initiative to call up that friend, make a reservation at that restaurant, book that class, etc. Don’t wait for plans to come to you: be the one to make them happen!
If you can’t find a way to make the task itself more enjoyable, try scheduling a reward at the end. Work travels eating up Friday and Saturday? Block Sunday off for you-time. Spend the day organizing your office and treat yourself to a night out on the town (or in with your favorite takeout and rental, if that’s your indulgence night of choice).
Remember that trying to maximize your weekend for your benefit, not someone else’s. Use these tips so long as they help you meet your needs, but don’t try to change your needs to fit these tips. How do you make great use of your weekend? Share your tips in the comments or tweet @HeyWorkingGirl!