You did it! You made it through a long work week and the weekend is finally here. But your two days off fly by as fast as you can blink, and suddenly you’re facing down Monday morning and a growing list of to-dos.
Weekends should definitely be a reward for getting through the previous week—but they’re also the perfect time to start preparing for the week ahead. While that might be the last thing you want to think about, using your weekend wisely will make your work week go a lot smoother. Here are nine weekend activities that will increase your productivity for the upcoming week:
1. Rest and recharge.
Work can be exhausting, and the weekend is your chance to take a break, so take full advantage of it. Do whatever helps you recharge from work: Go for a walk or run, do some yoga, paint, read, meditate, take a nap, drink coffee on the porch—whatever works for you. It can be tempting to pack every minute of your weekend with productive activities, but resist this urge and block off time to just chill on Saturday or Sunday (or both).
2. Wake up at a reasonable hour.
That being said, try not to sleep the weekend away. Set your alarm at least one morning if not both (after all, sticking to a regular sleep schedule is one of the most important factors for improving sleep quality and quantity). Getting up just an hour or two earlier than you might otherwise during the weekend will make you feel like you have so much more time, and also will help you sleep come Monday night.
3. Get your chores done.
The last thing you want to do when you come home at the end of a long day is to fold laundry, vacuum the floor, clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, dust the furniture, mow the lawn … the list goes on. Very few people enjoy doing these chores, but it will be much less painful if you get them done during the weekend so they’re not hanging over you all week. If you can, try to block off a couple of hours so you can get all your chores done at once and stop thinking about them.
4. Run all your errands.
Not all your to-dos can be done inside the house. You’ll likely have errands that you need to run each week, most notably grocery shopping. Make a list of everywhere you need to go and try to queue up your outings for efficiency. If any of your other weekend activities are contingent on your errands—such as picking up cleaning supplies or ingredients for meal prep—think through those and make sure you’ve got everything on hand, so you don’t have to make another trip to the store.
5. Lay out your outfits.
Choosing an outfit seems like it should be a quick task, but, unless you have a go-to work uniform, you can waste countless minutes each morning trying to coordinate your clothes. Look at the weather forecast for the upcoming week and lay out an outfit for each day, including a shirt, pant, jacket, skirt, dress, compression socks or hosiery and jewelry. Of course, don’t forget your comfortable dress shoes to finish off the look.
6. Do your meal prep for the entire week.
You have to eat, but cooking takes up a lot of time and effort. If you can meal plan ahead of time, try to get all your cooking done on the weekend so all you have to do is reheat the leftovers.
If you want to get really fancy, you can even portion out each meal into individual containers so all you have to do is grab and go. If you don’t like eating reheated leftovers, you can do the same thing, but with individually portioned ingredients. This way, you won’t need to do any prep work when you get home from the office; you can just throw the ingredients on the stove or in the oven and eat as soon as your meal is ready.
7. Organize your to-dos.
The last things you want to think about during the weekend are your tasks for the week ahead, but Monday mornings will go a lot smoother if you’re not scrambling to remember everything you need to get done. Take some time each weekend to quickly jot down your to-dos for the next week and add to it as you think of other tasks.
Even better, do this on Friday before you leave the office so you don’t have to use your precious weekend time to take care of it. Plus, if you get most of your chores done during the weekend, the list for the coming week hopefully won’t be too long.
8. Get away from screens.
Many regular office jobs require you to spend eight (or more) hours a day staring at digital screens. However, looking at a computer for too long can cause eyestrain, and the artificial light can interrupt your sleep schedule. Instead, try to get away from screens as much as possible.
Many like to watch TV or read for fun on their devices during the weekend, but try to limit your time on screens, especially before bed, since the light from the screens can wake you up. If your device offers the option in settings, use night shift or night mode for your screen after the sun goes down. It will help block the part of the light spectrum that keeps you awake.
9. Spend time with others.
Taking time to yourself to recharge is really important, but so is spending quality time with family and friends. Don’t forget to schedule social time with your loved ones amid all of your chores and errands and chill time each weekend. It doesn’t have to be a major outing; even just hanging out at your home and chatting will be enjoyable with the right person.
Try one or more of these activities to maximize your productivity and reduce your stress during the work week. Trust us; you’ll feel so much more relaxed on Sunday night knowing that you’re all prepared for the week ahead, and you’ll go into Monday feeling strong and ready to conquer your remaining to-dos.
Kaki Zell is the VP and co-owner of Ames Walker. After graduating from Virginia Tech she went on to work for Pepsi Co. for several years before joining the family business. When she’s not working or writing you can find her in the kitchen cooking healthy meals for her family or at the park training for a half marathon.
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