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6 Tricks to Improve Your Weekend

Elizabeth Sanfilippo
Sept. 17, 2013

Learn how manage your time and to-do list so you can enjoy your weekend.

The weekend should be a time to recharge, rest and enjoy time loved ones. But as anyone knows, that's often easier said than done. Saturday and Sunday are often seen as the time to get things done and catch up on what couldn't be done during the rest of the week.

Learn how to make your weekend more productive -- as well as more restful -- with some tips and tricks from the experts. Laura VanderKam, author of "What the Most Successful People Do On the Weekend," and Jan Marino, blogger and author of "Take Back Your Career" weigh in. 

For starters? Marino says, "Leave work and stupid, unimportant stuff at the front door...every night."

And for more helpful tips, check out Care.com's Guide to Managing Stress.

  1. Cut Back on Chores
    "I know, that sounds crazy -- when else are you supposed to do them?" VanderKam says. "But chores expand to fill the available space. If you have to do them in bits of time on weekdays, you'll spend less time on them (and that's a good thing!). And look for ways to hire help for the biggest time consuming chores -- which is smart for working parents who want to spend their weekends enjoying their children (rather than putting them in front of the TV so you can mow the lawn)." Think about hiring a housekeeper to help with extra chores.

  2. Make a Plan
    The best way to get the most out of your weekend, or any day, is to have a plan. As VanderKam says, "I think being productive on weekends means doing all the rejuvenating things you'd like to do. So make a plan."

    What's at the top of your to-do list? Go for a run, have lunch with a friend or volunteer as a family? It's all possible.

    VanderKam suggests planning how you can make the logistics work. "Make your arrangements, and put these activities on the calendar, and more than likely, they'll happen. Having a plan massively increases the chances that you'll look back on your weekend memories fondly, rather than having no clue Monday morning where the time actually went."

  3. Prioritize Your Schedule
    At the same time, there are some things you have to get done. But remember that you're only human. Don't try to squeeze every last errand, party or activity into one weekend. "Try not planning everything," Marino suggests. "Sometimes we over-schedule ourselves and our children." Give yourself permission to do nothing one weekend a month.

  4. Plan Time for Yourself
    While it's important to take some time with your kids and partner, the weekend can often also be the only time to do something for yourself.  "If you've got a full afternoon of kids' sports, for instance, maybe both parents trade off coverage in order to get two hours to themselves to exercise, visit a friend or do a hobby," VanderKam says.

    Alternatively, you can also hire a babysitter for a few short hours, so that both you and your partner can get some much needed me-time or even go on a date night -- remember those?

  5. Fill the Energy Pot
    "We all have certain activities that feel energizing for us, and certain activities that feel draining," VanderKam explains. "As much as possible, weekends should be for filling the energy pot."

    Include activities in your weekend that make you feel invigorated, whether that's time with friends, exercise, alone time with your spouse, spiritual activities, family day trips, etc.

    VanderKam suggests confining draining activities to a small block of time. If you find yourself thinking about these things at other times, remind yourself that there's a time for them -- and now is not that time.

  6. Change Your Thinking
    In the same vein, think about what you mean when you say you want to be "more productive" during the weekends, Marino advises. Then, "Change the definition of 'more productive' to include quiet time, regenerating yourself, reading, walking, sitting beside a tree and spending time with family."

  7. Turn Off the TV
    "TV is fun, but a weekend spent on the couch isn't as relaxing as true rejuvenation should be," VanderKam says. "Instead of turning on the TV after the kids go to bed, try having a drink or dessert with your spouse. Read a good book. Take up a crafty hobby (sewing, scrapbooking, woodwork, painting, etc.). All these projects will feel more restorative than losing these precious weekend moments to TV that can be recorded and watched at any point."

So take a moment now and plan your weekend. Fill it with moments that will rejuvenate and inspire you, rather than wear you down.

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer in Chicago. Her work can be found here.

July 26, 2015

Very helpful and interesting. Much needed information. Thanks reader in Alabama.

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