You might be shaking your head in disgust right now. Doing something productive on the weekend? Weekends are for doing … nothing. Right?
The idea isn’t as awful as it sounds. Being productive doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do actual work. There are a lot of things you might want or need to do at home or around town that you can’t do during the week.
You do need a break—but there’s a way to take a productive break. Here are seven productive things you can do this weekend to keep you on track and get you away from your work life for a few days.
1. Run all your mindless errands at once
Block out your entire Saturday morning and/or early afternoon to run all the errands you won’t have time for, or won’t feel like doing, during the week. Stop by the bank; the post office; the drugstore; go grocery shopping. Pick up a birthday card for so-and-so before you forget (again).
It’s important to relax on the weekends, but it’s also a good idea to cross things off your list you might not be able to get done during the week. Some places aren’t open before you have to leave for work or are closed by the time you get home in the evening. This will also help you avoid having to “run out to the store” to grab something you need later on.
Knock everything out all at once so you don’t have to think about it again until the following Saturday.
2. Respond to messages from friends and family
It’s important to keep in touch with those we love, but honestly, there just isn’t always time during the week. Especially when mom calls, because you know she will want to talk for 20 minutes and you don’t even have five to spare on your way home from the office.
Take some time over the weekend to respond to the texts, emails and phone calls you had to leave unanswered during the week. It’s likely you will catch a few others doing the same, and might be able to have a few good, fulfilling conversations while you’re at it.
Leave work at work; those emails and phone calls can wait. Use your weekends to remind your loved ones you’re still alive and want to know how they’re doing, too.
3. Exercise a random, non-work-related skill
When you’re at work, you use your professional skills constantly. It’s what they hired you for. As you’re already aware, that isn’t always fun, and when we spend all our time only working out the skills we need to and not the ones we want to, we start to lose that notable bounce in our step.
Over the weekend, work on refining a skill that has nothing to do with the skills you use at work. Go golfing. Swim laps at the gym pool. Paint something. Write a novel.
This will not only help you relax, but it will also let you balance your work with your hobbies. This, in the long run, will make it much easier for you to put your full effort and attention into work, while leaving room to have a good time once the weekend hits.
4. Go on an adventure
Sometimes, the biggest problem with our weeks are that they are all the same. We wake up, go to work, do what our boss asks us to do, come home and repeat the exact same routine for the next four days.
You need something different. Something spontaneous. Monday through Friday may end up being all the same, but your weekends don’t have to be.
Choose something new to do every weekend and turn it into a mini-adventure. Go on a hike. Drive in a direction you’ve never gone before. Visit a town whose name you can’t pronounce. Do something that takes your mind off work and not only gets you out of the same old, same old, but that launches you out of your comfort zone, too.
5. Do that one thing you’ve been putting off all week
Your old friend procrastination has been looking over your shoulder all week, whispering all kinds of distracting thoughts and urgencies in your ear every time you tried to finish that one thing that’s been on your list for three weeks straight.
The weekend is the perfect time to finally get it done. More likely than not, you don’t have too many meetings or places you have to be at a certain time. You can block out a few hours on a Saturday morning, before everyone else wakes up, to sit down with your coffee and work on it until it’s finished.
Then you can go on to enjoy the rest of your weekend without it still hanging over your head.
6. Spend some time reflecting on the previous week
It’s tempting to come home Friday evening and simply put our entire week behind us. It’s over; we don’t have to think about it anymore. In reality, spending some time on Sunday night mentally returning to your previous week and reflecting on how it went is actually the more productive option.
Looking back on your week can actually be good for your health. Were there things you wanted to accomplish this week, but didn’t? What stopped you? And what can you do differently this week to make sure things get done?
Easing yourself into that kind of mindset will help you begin to prepare for the week yet to come.
7. Plan for the week ahead
Reflecting on what’s already happened recently is important, but so is looking ahead to the very near future.
Take some time over the weekend to plan for the upcoming week. This could mean everything from planning out meals for the week before you head to the grocery store to writing down deadlines and prioritizing your tasks for each day.
You can use a planner, a white board or an app on your phone to schedule out your week. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you take the time to mentally prepare yourself for what you need to get done before it’s time to get back to work.
If you adopt some of these tasks and habits into your weekend routine, you’ll be ready to tackle Mondays with more energy and enthusiasm than you ever thought possible.