It's finally the weekend! Here's hoping that over the next 48 hours you'll catch up on sleep, knock out your weekend to-do list and come back Monday feeling restored and refreshed.
Yet, here's a more likely scenario: The weekend goes by in a flash and you feel even more exhausted than you did on Friday. Plus, that to-do list got lost and now you're stuck running errands all week long.
This scenario happens to most of us, but it doesn't have to. There are a few strategies you can employ to make your weekends more productive and, most importantly, feel like they last longer than just a quick blink of the eye.
Here are a few tips from experts who have the weekend warrior thing down:
1. Determine how engaged you need to be with work on the weekend.
According to David Allen, author of the bestselling book "Getting Things Done," unplugging completely isn't realistic for a lot of people. His advice is to figure out the right amount of engagement that will set your mind at ease. Maybe it’s checking your email twice a day, or every 30 minutes. There’s no right answer, he stressed, just a frequency that works for you. Decide what works and stick with it.
If you can totally unplug and feel comfortable, do it!
2. Take a step back from social media.
While it’s OK to check your email, Chris Bailey, author of "The Productivity Project," recommended avoiding social media on the weekends.
“The more people disconnect from social media, the happier they become,” he explained. “It prevents us from zooming out and recharging ourselves.” Bailey disconnects from all of his devices from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
While that’s not feasible for everyone, he recommended creating a “disconnect day,” where you turn the router off and do things that don’t involve the internet.
Try to get your family on board and aim to do it for at least part of the day on Sunday. Who knows, you might all enjoy it!
3. Set three clear goals for your weekend.
Maybe you want to have a wild night — or clean out the garage. Either way, Bailey recommended setting three specific goals for your whole weekend. Though it might seem tedious at first, taking a few moments to ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your free time will help you prioritize your activities.
4. Stick to your regular bedtimes and wake ups.
Inconsistent bedtimes can be just as bad as not getting enough sleep. By going to bed at different times on the weekend, you're confusing your body and messing with your sleep cycle.
As much as you want to stay out later on Friday or Saturday night, you shouldn't. Aim to go to sleep at the same time as you would any other week night, and if you want to snooze a little later in the morning, that's OK, but try to keep it to just 30 minutes later than usual.
5. Spend quality time with people that matter to you.
“Investing in those relationships with your time will create enjoyable memories,” said Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell Medical College, who recommended making plans on the weekends, instead of just sitting in front of the TV.
“Adult play is better than running errands, and results in a positive impact on your weekend.”
6. Tame the Sunday scaries.
According to Saltz, it’s normal to experience the Sunday dread, or anticipatory anxiety for the upcoming week ahead.
Her tips for beating the scaries? Go for a run or walk, practice slow deep breathing or simply talk about your upcoming week with your significant other or family members.
“Doing that will provide a reality check — and if you need to check your email, go for it. Just don’t check it at the end of the night,” advised Saltz.
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