This is a guest post written by Clare Dyckhoff.
You’ve made it through five mornings dominated by that dreaded alarm tune.
Your veins are still pumped with coffee and you’ve seen an entire day dedicated to #ThatFridayFeeling – it must be the weekend!
Now, what is it going to be?
Long lie in with no pangs of guilt, followed by some tasty pastries and orange juice?
The opportunity to finally catch up with your old pal Netflix, who has constantly been reminding you how neglected they’re feeling as of late, or cramming enough brunch dates into your two blissful days of rest that avocados are quaking in their boots everywhere?
Two days. Two glorious days of freedom, opportunity, exciting events and great plans.
But it’s now Sunday morning – you’re reading this surrounded by a semi-empty pizza box and a half drunk bottle of wine and all you really want to do is stay in bed for the rest of today. “Well, there’s always next weekend.” I can hear you pulling the covers back over your head but it’s okay…you’re among friends here.
When you’re eternally busy during the week, the last thing you want to do is have a ram-packed weekend. And you know what? I salute you. You work hard during the week; you are well within your right to enjoy your well-earned weekend if that’s what you want.
But if you’re getting fed up of the ‘I wish I did more this weekend’ dread come Sunday evening, I am here to help propel you into the realm of productivity. Now let’s get cracking.
#1 | Treat the weekend as separate to your week
It’s incredibly easy to treat the weekend as an extension of your weekdays to get the rest of those errands finished you hadn’t made it through, or to schedule things just for the evening as opposed to throughout the day.
But if you treat your valued two days as exactly that, two whole days, you can maximise the amount of time you have to get everything done, AND even have some time left over.
If you do have errands left over, make a list of the top three most important and schedule them as early on in the day as possible. This way they’ll be out of your hair and you’ll have more time to dedicate to the activities you really want to do, later on in the day.
#2 | Befriend the morning
Few things feel as good as turning your alarm off before you go to bed on Friday – it’s the weekend, after all - your sleep pattern is no slave to a routine for the foreseeable, so it’s only fair you wake up when you want.
But 9/10 times, your eyes fly open with the happiness of freedom only to turn over and see “7:00” flash up on your phone. Your body has had other ideas.
However, research has indicated that waking up at your natural set time is the best course of action for productivity and a healthy sleep pattern. And it’s a positive thing. You’ve actually gained time you thought you wouldn’t be awake to see – so if you fancy yourself as a 21st-century time traveller, congratulations! This means you have even more time to do what you enjoy.
#3 | Don’t OVERdo it
Ever been to a Chinese buffet? If you, like I, suffer from ‘eyes bigger than your belly’ syndrome, you know how it feels to go 99mph all at once and then do too much too soon, which does not leave for feeling of comfort.
And whilst overdoing it at the weekend might not have the same impact on your digestive system as overdoing it at a buffet, it will leave you more tired come Sunday than desired – and that spells for productivity disaster for the week ahead of you.
Don’t religiously plan or exhaust yourself by trying to do eeeeeverything. Make a note of 4/5 key plans or activities you want to do, and stick to it.
You might want to spend more time at that museum, or have a couple more drinks with your friend later – and you don’t want to feel tied down by an itinerary.
Anything else you have left over? If it’s not time-sensitive you can always leave it for next weekend now that mornings are your friend. Missed that? It’s time to revisit #2.
#4 | Cut back on technology
You’ve done some great things this weekend and you want everyone to know about them. After all “if it isn’t on Instagram, did it really happen?”
But the weekend is a time to chill out from constant emailing, phone calls, WhatsApp notifications, and the eternal ‘sorry for the slow reply!’ message, which is making itself firmly comfortable in your sent box.
The weekend, while posing the perfect opportunity to catch up with everyone you might have missed throughout the busy working week, is actually some time you can use to detox.
So next time you’re up early, first thing on a Sunday (and silently resenting your body clock for it), get up, go out. Go for a run, write that piece you’ve been meaning to for ages, visit that gallery while it’s relatively quiet, visit your Gran. Anything. Just take a few moments to leave your attention-seeking smartphone in your bag for a little while. You’ll feel recharged and more relaxed in no time.
#5 | Make the most of your Sunday evening
Time flies when you’re having fun/drinking 2-for-1 cocktails, and have ticked off all the key and most important things you wanted to do this weekend. You’re not only being proactive, you’re being productive.
But now the time is running away with itself, in the interest of excitement, and the line of time between enjoying the rest of your weekend and the “Sunday night blues” is so incredibly faint it can be hard to prepare for.
But try to remember this. Your Sunday is still your Sunday. Whether it’s 10 am or 10 pm, these are the sacred hours where it is not Monday YET. And these hours are not to be frittered away.
Schedule something in for Sunday evening. Whether it’s a long soak accompanied by your favourite Spotify playlist, that film you and your friend have been dying to see in the cinema, that book gathering dust on your bedside table, or a class that will tire you out physically, distract you from the impending end of the weekend AND help relax and tire you out before you fall into bed.
It’s time to make the most of your Sunday evening. After all, it only wants to make you happy and protect you from its older sibling, Monday for that little bit longer.
How do you ensure you're productive when it comes to this weekend? Which of these tips did you find the most helpful?
Clare Dyckhoff is a content marketer, travel writer, and poet living in London. Eternally plagued by wanting to do too much all the time, she loves the power of a well-crafted list. With a thirst for all things travel, education, music, and mental health related, you can find Clare blogging for Huffington Post or tweeting about what makes her happy at @cdyckhoff.
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