If you’re like many people, you look forward to weekends with every fiber of your workweek being.
After putting in the necessary hours (and then some) at your job and managing all the weeknight obligations of adulthood, a couple days off to relax and recharge is needed.
But is that really what happens when the weekend rolls around? Or have Saturdays and Sundays become just as overscheduled and out-of-whack as the rest of your week with emails and phone calls creeping into the mix?
For those of you who need to reclaim your work-life balance, we’ve got some tips for putting less work and more play into your weekends.
Plan to work on the weekend
Wait, isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid? Yes, but today’s 24-7 work environment means it’s nearly impossible to unplug the entire time from Friday evening to Monday morning. And, if you’re like many people who balance a full-time job with a side project (or two), finding time to recharge can be a challenge.
The solution is to allow a very limited window – 15-20 minutes a day – to deal with emails or phone calls while being mindful that many things can and should wait until Monday.
Preparing for a very few intrusions with strict boundaries will keep resentment to a minimum and make Monday morning a bit less daunting.
Trim the to-do lists
For many, weekends arrive with a hefty to-do list of household tasks that didn’t get done during the week. By the time Friday rolls around, the list could fill all your waking weekend hours. Prioritize some down time and trim that list.
An errand run that includes a few stores in the same area is OK. Driving to six different businesses across town can eat up a whole day. Tackle a handful of items and break up the rest into manageable, geographic chunks to fit in next week.
Rethink weekend grocery shopping
Does your busy work week necessitate weekend grocery shopping? Unless you enjoy the crowded aisles and long lines that make the task take twice as long, you have some options.
Try one of the online shopping and delivery services that are widely available. It’s been a game-changer for many busy families. It does come with a fee, but when you weigh it against your personal time and peace of mind, you might find it’s worth it.
Another option is to make the shopping trip an enjoyable outing at a non-peak time of day, avoiding the crowds and having fun at the same time. Go early in the morning with a friend or family member and finish it off with a relaxing breakfast at your favorite little diner.
Or go in the evening with a significant other, ending with dinner at a restaurant or grabbing extra ingredients to prepare a nice meal at home.
Start your weekend on Friday
For many of us, Fridays are marked by getting out of work, going home and collapsing on the couch. Shake things up by reminding yourself that your weekend starts the minute your workday ends.
Plan activities with friends or family on Friday after work. This way, your weekend immediately seems longer. When it comes to a close on Sunday night, you’ll have more feel-good memories to savor.
Put yourself back in your weekends
This two-day window of time off won’t feel like a respite if you are not making time for yourself. It’s easy to let your own need for downtime get lost in the shuffle of home repair projects, errands, family activities and children’s sporting events.
Put yourself on your to-do list each day. Whether it’s making time for morning walks, a favorite hike, or a little pampering like a bubble bath and a good book, don’t let the weekend pass by without some time set aside just for you.
By making a few simple changes, you’ll be able to reclaim your relaxing weekends and meet the new week feeling recharged.