We’ve all been there. It’s 8pm on a Sunday and you’re staring blankly at the TV. You open your phone to check your email for no reason at all, and then you think to yourself, “Where did this weekend go?” That feeling is the absolute worst. It can be really difficult to have a productive weekend after you’ve just come off of a hectic work week. I constantly find myself saying that I just want to “do nothing” and then proceed to waste precious hours doing just that.
That scenario has happened a lot this winter, even though my intentions are there. I make never-ending lists of things I need to get done or activities I want to do, but then somehow I can never manage to cross those items off my list. And for anyone with a side hustle, going to school part-time, or even trying to learn a new skill will tell you, weekends are crucial to getting things done.
I’ve clearly been doing something wrong with my approach, so I decided it’s time to make some changes to my weekend mindset. After some internal, honest reflection on how I’ve been spending my time, I’ve come up with several tips that I’m putting into effect to help me to crush my weekend to-do lists. I hope they inspire you to do the same!
7 Ways to Have a Productive Weekend
Make a schedule
Write it down, put reminders in your calendar, use a project-tracking tool like Trello. Whatever your preferred way of keeping track of to-dos and activities, be sure you actually figure out your game plan before Friday night rolls around. I’ve started to keep a running list in my phone of things I think of during the week that can be done over the weekend. Just be sure your list doesn’t get too long, otherwise it could get too overwhelming and you’ll avoid everything instead of crossing things off.
Make sure downtime is in your schedule
Your weekend shouldn’t be all work and no play. Make sure you allot several hours to doing something relaxing, whether that’s doing ‘nothing’, painting your nails, or diving into a magazine with a hot cup of tea. That last one has been my favorite as of late. Dunkin’ Donuts recently released a new menu of hot teas and I can’t get enough of their Harmony Leaf Green and Hibiscus Kiss flavors. They’re lineup includes five flavors of full teas and herbal infusions, in both caffeinated and caffeine-free options. They come served in pyramid tea sachets for optimal steep (a.k.a. a tea-lover’s dream). My ritual of getting out of the apartment to go pick up a tea at Dunkin’ Donuts leads me to my next tip…
Get some fresh air and/or exercise
If the weather outside is not frightful, make an effort to go outside and get some Vitamin D. This can be in the form of taking a walk to grab a meal, going for a job or hike with a friend, or even just doing a lap around your block to clear your head. If you’re in a mental block, or find yourself staring out the window instead of staying focused on your task, it’s best to get up and move around. You’ll be surprised by how refreshed and focused you’ll be after even just a 10 minute walk.
Step away from the smart phone
This one is definitely the most difficult for me! Lately I’ve noticed that if I avoid reaching for my phone first thing when I wake up, I tend to be more focused on getting started with my day. This is probably because I don’t end up spending two hours scrolling through Instagram as a way to “wake up”. Try leaving your phone in a different room so that it’s out of sight. Doing so will allow you to unplug and get to work on what needs to be done.
Treat yo’ self
Cross five things off your to-do list before noon? Look at you go! Small wins are key to staying motivated, whether it’s putting that satisfying line through something on your list, or waking up before your alarm goes off. Whatever they may be, treat yourself for the small, productive wins. Take 10 minutes to watch funny animal videos or grab a sweet treat (my current favorite is a blueberry glazed donut from Dunkin’ Donuts).
Don’t give in to the Sunday scaries
This one can be a toughie, especially if you know that the upcoming work week is going to be a crazy one. It’s easier said than done, but try your best not to think about Monday and stay present in what you’re doing in that moment and for the rest of your Sunday. Monday is going to come whether you decide to mope around about it or not, so focus on enjoying the rest of the weekend while you still have it.
Plan ahead for the upcoming week
This is one of my faves! I use a whiteboard to write down all of the events or to-do items I have lined up for the week. It’s also a an easy way to communicate my schedule with my boyfriend. Looking ahead always makes me feel a bit rejuvenated since it’s a clean slate, and it helps me wrap my head around what I need to focus my energy on most, whether it’s a big project at work or a networking event to prep for.
How do you like to spend your weekends? What tips work for you to make the most of them?
This post is brought to you by Dunkin’ Donuts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.