The weekend is a welcome reprieve from the workweek, a short but pleasant period where alarm clocks and task lists are swapped for fun impulses and good times with family and friends.
While it’s important to use the weekend to unwind and relax, it’s also a period that productivity-seeking individuals can use to their advantage. This can be done through activities that are fun and unwinding, but stimulating at the same time.
Using the weekend as a way to jumpstart productivity for the following week isn’t a new phenomenon, at least to successful CEOs.
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff told Forbes that his “weekends are an important time to unplug from the day-to-day and get a chance to think more deeply about my company and my industry.” He continued: “Even when I’m technically not working, I’m always processing in the background and thinking about the company. Weekends are a great chance to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.”
So how can one use weekends for a productive next week? Start with the tips below:
After a strenuous workweek, the desire can certainly be there to sit in front of the TV with a tub of ice cream, or browse the Web until the early morning hours. These things may be fun, but they distract from other productivity-aiding weekend endeavors. As a result, make it a habit to make a plan for your Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.
“Failing to think through what you wish to do on the weekend may make you succumb to the ‘I’m tired’ excuse that keeps you locked in the house,” time-management expert Laura Vanderkam says. Making a checklist or schedule will help avoid that.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
It’s a good idea to keep your mind fresh with tasks beyond your usual weekday assignments. Doing the same tasks over and over again – like using the computer seven days a week – can be mundane. As a result, try to use skills over the weekend that aren’t used during the week.
Perhaps you’re an IT professional and want to step away from the computer and take a long hike, or maybe you’re an architect who enjoys playing guitar in your free time. Either way, these tasks keep the mind fresh because they differ from the weekday routine.
Make Sunday Night Fun
Sunday nights are often a source of dread for many people, brooding about tomorrow’s early alarm clock and the bevy of routine tasks that follow. In order to take advantage of your Sunday night, make a fun activity a routine – like a Sunday night dance class or a weekly family movie night. “This extends the weekend and keeps you focused on the fun to come, rather than on Monday morning,” says Vanderkam.
Designate a Time for Chores
Everyone has chores to do. They tend to build up during the week and cause anxiety over the weekend. To avoid worrying about chores, set a designated time each week to do things like vacuuming and grocery shopping. Set a small window to accomplish the chores so you aren’t distracted; this helps make the weekend a more fulfilling one that’s dedicated to what you want to do, as opposed to what has to be done.
Let Your Mind Wander
Many workweeks consist of an intense focus, with employees knowing that a lack of concentration may result in a slip-up that could cost them their career. It’s not particularly helpful to assume this mentality during weekends, as it’s a time where letting your mind wander can result in improved mental clarity throughout the next week.
“Letting your mind wander is an important state for making connections between different pieces of information,” says Frances Booth, author of “The Distraction Trap: How to Focus in a Digital World.” “It can help us connect seemingly unconnected things, and often leads to bright ideas.”
These tips will help employees truly use the weekend to refresh their mind and improve mental clarity, setting their next week up as one heralded by super-high productivity and bright ideas.
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