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Weekend Productivity: How to Plan and Make the Most Out of Your Weekend

weekend productivity

Weekend should be fun and not everyone wants to plan every minute of the day. If this is what you have in your mind right now, you are absolutely right. You don’t have to plan every minute of the day, including weekends, but one thing I know for sure, weekend is actually the secret weapon that highly successful people make use to recharge themselves and get themselves ready for the coming week.

If you don’t plan your weekend, your weekdays will be affected and you will never be productive and get the most out of your workdays.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should plan every minute and every hour of your weekend and make your weekend full of work. No, this is not it, in fact, it should be the complete opposite. Read more and I’ll share with you how to do it.

I love planning and when it comes to time management and productivity, one of the best gurus I always go back for more is none other than the time management expert, Laura Vanderkam, the best-selling author of “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast”.

I strongly suggest you read the book because it will open your mind to how you plan and make use of your mornings and weekends. This book is also listed as one of the best books that I recommend reading.

Why Weekend Planning is Important to Your Overall Productivity

Imagine going through a lousy weekend where you are totally bored and feeling exhausted, do you think you can hit your Monday strong?

According to Laura Vanderkam, we need to get ourselves prepared for Monday so that we can have our first workday of the week ready to go. She says:

“To do that, you need weekends that rejuvenate you, rather than exhaust or disappoint you. Cross-training makes you a better athlete, and likewise, exercise, volunteer work, spiritual activities, and hands-on parenting make you a better worker than if you just worked all the time.”

Use Your Weekends to Recharge and Rejuvenate Yourself

You use your weekends to rejuvenate yourself, replenish your energy and refreshes your soul.

And if you are not doing anything on your weekends and you just let the time slips by, by Sunday night, you will feel frustrated and disappointed that you have just wasted your weekend.

If you think that work should be work and home should be home, where the two should never meet, you are right.

However, do understand that sometimes, working a little bit on the weekends, especially with proper planning, can buy you a more balanced life during the week. It makes you feel accomplished, fulfilled, and joyful because you feel that you’re doing great in every area of your life.

Weekend Activities Connect Your Mind, Body, and Soul

We all know the phrase, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Nobody wants to be like Jack, living life with all work and no play, I don’t want that kind of life either. And this is exactly why weekend planning is even more important.

Allow me to explain. We all prefer to do different things on the weekends, and this is why we schedule different activities that engage different parts of our brains.

After going through the entire weekdays of hard work, we want to have activities that relax us and make us light. We do not want to repeat our weekdays on our weekends. This is why we rotate different activities and hobbies on the weekends.

When you read What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, you will discover that extraordinary people plan their weekends according to what they love doing.

Celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson plays soccer, Bill McGowan, the television correspondent chops firewood, and Rafael Vinoly, the famous architect plays piano on the weekends.

The takeaway is that doing different activities allow your mind, body, and soul to recover from the stress and exhaustion you encounter during the week.

You feel more complete and fully recharge with energy and are ready to go again when Monday hits.

Weekend Planning Creates Anticipation and Joy

The Harvard psychologist, Daniel Gilbert says that when people were told they’d won a free dinner at a fancy French restaurant, most didn’t want to head over right away, they wanted to wait, to savor the anticipation of their fine dare and to optimize their pleasure.

The anticipation of looking forward to something makes you joyful. Planning some fun and exciting events on your weekends gives you something to look forward to and something to anticipate.

Just like the ritual of opening the presents on Christmas morning. It only takes a few minutes to open the presents, but the anticipation of seeing the presents under the tree can last for weeks. And it is this “looking forward” feeling that makes planning for your weekends worthwhile.

Imagine you have something to look forward to doing on the weekend, doesn’t that make you feel happy and can’t wait for the weekend to arrive?

Are you convinced now on why you have to plan your weekend and make your overall life more productive?

How to Make the Most Out of Your Weekends

Weekend planning can be something fun. You don’t have to make it sound like work because it is not! Remember, you are planning the fun activities into your weekends.

Of course, you can also plan in your work, but many experts, including Vanderkam, do not suggest you plan your weekend solely for work. It needs to have fun in order to recharge your mind, body, and soul.

Weekend Planning Golden Rule: Set Your Anchors

Here’s the golden rule according to Vanderkam:

“A good weekend needs a plan. Not a minute-by-minute plan, not a spreadsheet full of details, but just a few fun anchor events sketched in ahead of time.”

For instance, you don’t have to plan every minute or hour of your weekends, but just schedule a few anchor events such as a Saturday date night, a 2-hour reading, a morning exercise for an hour, family game time, etc.

Here’s an example:

  • Friday evening: Karaoke with friends at your favorite bar
  • Saturday day: Family outing to visit the museum
  • Saturday evening: Dinner with your family at the beach restaurant and then catch a movie in the cinema
  • Sunday day: Exercise and go for biking
  • Sunday evening: Take a walk in the neighborhood and then read a book for an hour

You don’t have to fill your entire weekend with activities, just a couple of anchor events that you love to do will make your weekends great.

Here are some great tips you should consider when it comes to planning for your weekend:

1. Plan for what you want to do

Most people have the wrong perception and think that planning is only for work or planning is often associates with work and there is no fun.

This is completely wrong. For weekend planning, you should plan for something that you love doing, something that you look forward to doing. For example, your hobbies, sports, computer games, family outings, etc.

The more fun and excitement you engage on the weekends, the better you will feel and the more ready you can be when Monday comes.

You can plan your work if you want to, but make sure that those are the work that you love doing, not work that drags down your mood and spoils your weekend.

If you don’t like reading, you don’t have to include it as your anchor event. Anchor event should be something that you love doing and looking forward to.

For me, I love reading and I put it as one of the things that I will do each Sunday evening. I spend about an hour reading books that I love.

2. Schedule your downtime

Sometimes, it can be hard to predict how your weekend will turn out. And thus, this is why you must get ready and schedule your downtime. You don’t have to make every moment on your weekend counts. What you want is a productive weekend, not an exhausting weekend.

Hence, schedule some downtime. For me, I schedule my downtime an hour or two after lunch on weekends.

This is because it is midday and usually, I feel a little sleepy after my lunch. And whenever I find necessary, I will take a short power nap.

You don’t have to follow and do what I did. You can schedule your own downtime. After all, you are the one who understands your own timing and schedule the most. Sometimes your friends come visit, sometimes you feel tired and need a nap, sometimes you need to do the chores, sometimes you just want to lie on your couch and do nothing, etc.

You should be able to expect how your weekends will turn out. Just schedule a few anchor events will do, and slot in your downtime.

3. Create your list of 100-weekend dreams

Have no idea what to do on your weekends, don’t worry, just list down 100 of your weekend dreams. Well, these are not dreams like “traveling to Hawaii” or “visit the Eiffel Tower”, rather, these are dreams that you can do during the weekend.

Here are some good examples:

  • Bring the kids to the museum
  • Prepare and cook a delicious meal for the family
  • Dinner in the Japanese restaurant with your wife
  • Watch a baseball game with your kids
  • Learn to play the piano

You don’t have to make your weekends boring. With these dreams and things that you want to do, you will be looking forward to your weekends.

What you have to do right now is to list down as much of your dreams as possible. And then plan them and schedule them into your weekends. Cross or write “Victory” next to the dreams that you have achieved.

And the next time when you look at your list, you will be extremely fulfilled and feeling satisfied.

4. Create a blissful morning

Mornings are the most important time of your day. And if you want to make your day blissful, make sure you do something that will boost your mood in the morning. When you have a great start, your entire day will be great.

If you read the book from Laura Vanderkam, you will discover that one of the most common things that successful people do in the morning is exercise.

Highly successful people spend use their mornings to move their body and sweat. They are busy people, yet, they believe that exercise is one of the most important activities and they do it the first thing in the morning.

If you think that you don’t have time to exercise, think again. Check out this article from HuffingtonPost:

  • Barack Obama, the ex-president of the United States: Exercises for 45 minutes a day, six days per week. He exercises first thing in the morning, alternating between lifting weights one day and doing cardio the next.
  • Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group: Wakes as early as 5 a.m. to kite surf, swim, or play tennis in the morning. He claims he gets four hours of additional productivity every day by keeping up with his consistent exercise schedule.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, and CEO of Facebook: Works out at least three days per week, usually in the form of taking his dog running first thing in the morning.
  • Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks: Does an hour of cardio per day, 6-7 days a week. He does the elliptical and stair gauntlet, plays basketball, and takes kickboxing and other aerobic classes at the gym.

Read: How 19 Highly Successful People Stay in Shape

Science has found that when you exercise, your brain will release endorphins, a chemical that stimulates joy. You feel happier after your exercise session. And not only that, we all know that exercise is beneficial to our physical health too. Plus, when you’re in shape, you have higher energy and able to accomplish more in your daily life.

Therefore, make your morning blissful by starting your day with moving your body. I don’t go for heavy exercise in the morning. Usually, I will just spend about 15 minutes to do some simple stretching.

5. Make the best use of Sunday night

If morning is the best time to exercise, then Sunday night will be the best time for planning.

Before the new week starts, plan for it. Write down your to-do list. Identify the targets and goals that you want to achieve for the week. Review your goals and build a plan to achieve them.

Your week may not turn out as what you have planned, but having a plan is much better than having no plan at all. This is because when you have a plan, you know where you’re going and you will become proactive. When you have no idea what to do, you will become reactive and wait for things to happen.

I have a diary where I use it to write down all my to-dos. I found that I’m more productive and able to get more things done when I write down what needs to get done in my diary.

And one more thing, it is extremely important to constantly review your plan. If I keep my diary in the drawer, highly likely I will forget what I needed to do and never do it. Whatever that is out of your sight will be out of your mind.

Hence, make your plan visible to you. And always keep it in your mind.

9 Things Highly Successful People Do On the Weekends

What you do each day and each weekend separates you from the rest. So what do the highly successful people do on their weekends? Here are the 9 things…

1. Wake up early

I know its weekend and you wish to sleep longer, but this is not what the highly successful do. The highly successful choose to continue to wake up early like their normal weekdays.

The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, says that he wakes up as early as 3.45am every morning, including weekends.

And recently, I watched the news about the richest man in Hong Kong, Lee Ka Shing, announced his retirement at age 89. And he said on TV that he wakes up at 5.55am every single day, without fail. And he chooses to work until these days. Can you imagine his passion and how dedicated he is towards his business empire?

It is false to assume that you need to stay on your bed until midday just because it is weekend.

If you are serious about becoming extraordinary and want to achieve outstanding success in life, be committed and wake up early like most of the highly successful people did, even during the weekends.

2. Make time for family and friends

Weekdays can be a busy day for most people because they need to go to work. However, weekend can be something more easy-going and a perfect time to spend with people you care about, your family and friends.

If you are busy working during the weekdays, weekends can be the best time to be with the people you love.

“It’s not easy, but my children remind me every day how important it is to set aside time for family activities. I’m continually striving to maintain that balance.”
– Sergey Petrossov, CEO, and founder of JetSmarter

3. Pursue what you love to do

One of the most amazing things that extraordinary people do on their weekends is to pursue their hobbies. Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors, says that he uses his spare time like the weekend to play the ukulele.

You can never imagine what successful people love doing when they are free. George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the US says that he enjoys oil painting in his off days. The award-winning actress, Meryl Streep says that she loves to knit during her free time, especially weekends.

So what do you love to do? What are your hobbies? Do you love to play tennis like Richard Branson? Do you love to hike like Jack Dorsey? Or do you love to play bridge like Bill Gates?

Do something that you love on your weekends. Make your weekends fun. And use these times to recharge your energy and replenish your soul.

Read: Hobbies Highly Successful People Do in Their Spare Time

4. Exercise

Do I need to explain this further? Well, just make your morning blissful through exercise. Stay active and move your body.

Read: Daily Workout Routines of 12 Ultra-Successful People

5. Read a book

Reading is one of the most common habits of the highly successful. Just like exercise, successful people believe that reading makes them better because it widens their perspective and keeps them up-to-date.

In an interview, Warren Buffett was asked about his secret to success. And he pointed to a stack of books, and then said:

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Read: The Reading Habits of Ultra-Successful People

Highly successful people are great readers. And this is what I do each day too, not just during weekends. And if you think that you are too busy to read on the weekdays, schedule time to read on the weekends.

Perhaps, you can grab a book and read it in Starbucks for 2 hours in the afternoon. Sounds great, right?

And if you have no idea what books to read, read THESE BOOKS that I recommend.

6. Reflect on your life

We have all heard about how Steve Jobs asked himself a reflection question that allowed him to focus on his goal. Each morning, Jobs looked into the mirror and asked:

“’If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ If the Answer is ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

And Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft also said:

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Reflection is what allows us to ponder and improve on what we have previously done. How can you tell if you are doing the right thing if you don’t reflect?

So, use your weekend to reflect on what you have done during the week. And then make an adjustment to your following week. If things are not working out, change your strategy a little.

This is why Laura Vanderkam suggests people to plan and review their week on Sunday night. It builds momentum for the next day.

7. Disconnect yourself from the world

Now, you don’t have to disconnect yourself from the world the entire weekend. What you can do is to stay away from distractions and be in the moment for a couple of hours.

For instance, switch off your phone while you take a walk in the park for an hour. There will be no distraction and you are all by yourself. It is liberating.

You should plan for ‘no work’ time. And taking your Saturday night to Sunday midday off is nice.

8. Giving back to the world

Tom Corley, the author of “Rich Habits” says that 73% of wealthy people volunteer for at least 5 hours or more per month. When you volunteer and help out, you reduce your stress and put yourself in the right perspective.

And guess what, your weekends can be a great time to volunteer and give back to the society. So plan and use your weekend time wisely.

9. Plan for the coming week

“Saturday I take off. I hike. And then Sunday is reflections, feedback, strategy and getting ready for the rest of the week.”

This is what Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and Square said. You have to understand that weekends are the secret weapon in professional success because what you do during the two golden days will affect your overall wellbeing and energy for the coming week.

Just like what Vanderkam writes in her book, “You need to hit Monday ready to go.”

Conclusion

Now that you know how to plan for your weekend and what highly successful people do during the weekends.

Make your weekend productive by planning it. The word “plan” does not have to associate with work or boring stuff. Plan for the things that love to do and are passionate about. Make your weekend fun and engaging.

Remember, weekends are the days where successful people recharge their energy and build their momentum. Thus, make the most out of your weekend and do not let it slips away.

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About Shawn Lim

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Active Goal Setting? Don't forget to do so. :)

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One Reply

  1. abhimanyu verma

    Hello sir and thanks for this great words to change our life sir beside this things does there is any chance to talk to you beside email?

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