Summer vacations aren’t what they used to be. What was once a refreshing break from our mundane realities has become nothing more than extensions of such. We were once able to put in our work for those 9 months out of the year and were then given a 3-month grace period when we could do whatever it is that we wished to do, lacking almost all responsibilities.
Now that we are older, we have been introduced to the reality that in order to have the ability to feed ourselves regularly, we have to work regularly. Most jobs do not allow for a 3-month long vacation. Nevertheless, if we wish to be most productive for all the time that we do work, we must utilize the time off that we are allotted to the fullest. Things tend to get tricky in such considerations because more often than not we fail to prepare for our time off. It sounds counterintuitive; I know. Yet, in order to relax and rest sincerely during the weekend, we must begin preparing in the beginning of the week.
What I most recently noticed is how unsettling it is to have tasks in your itinerary that you know you must accomplish and, although knowing you have more than enough time to solve them, you worry about their finalization. If you love to work and enjoy keeping busy, it is important to keep things organized and planned to the best of your abilities.
This is the first step in guaranteeing that your upcoming weekend will be as beneficial as possible. Being productive does not mean checking tasks off a list — being productive entails keeping most efficient and doing what will ensure said efficiency. Remember this: in order to maximize efficiency and maximize your productivity while working, you must most efficiently rest and replenish during the times that you are allowed off. The weekend is not a break from your routine — at least not if you wish to be as successful as possible—it is an important part of your scheduled life partitioned exclusively for refreshing and restarting.
Refreshing and restarting differs from person to person, but before we get into the details I would like to underline the importance of planning out your week. The goal is to avoid doing what you’ve been doing all week on the weekend. In order to do this, we must first plan out how much of each task we will finish before the weekend creeps up. If you aren’t yet in the habit of scheduling out your entire week before 9am on Monday, then I suggest that you start. Of course, things in your itinerary will change and shift as the week goes on — some things added, others removed.
But writing down the most important tasks and goals that you have set for yourself this upcoming week is crucial. Write down how much of each task you want to accomplish before the weekend and make sure that you have accomplished enough of each task by Friday as to not have to worry about things on Saturday and Sunday.
Make certain that you have all your most important goals written down in front of you and that you will be happy if you are able to accomplish all that you have set out for yourself to accomplish. When the weekend does arrive, you do not want to think about that which you have worked on all week; the weekend is for changing your pace and doing something different.
This is why I said that the ideal weekend varies for each individual. The main goal is to relax your body and mind — how you accomplish that depends on you. The only thing certain is that what you do has to be different from what you do every other day; you have to do things that will allow you to clearly distinguish your weekends from the rest of your week.
The purpose of this is simple: you do not want your weekdays and weekends to blur together or they will feel as one long week. Not being able to differentiate your weekdays from your weekends will not allow you to relax the tension that you have built-up throughout the week and will significantly lower your efficiency in the following week. It’s time to switch and shake things up a bit.
Now that it’s summertime, there is no better time to go outside and to enjoy the outdoors. Take a walk or get some exercise. If you spend all of your time outdoors — which is rare, but can be the case — then maybe it’s time to go to the movies or to walk around one of the few remaining Barnes and Nobles aimlessly. Maybe a museum?
Many successful people like to party on the weekends — and that’s okay. The goal is to relax your body and your mind and to have some excitement to counter the lack of it that you face all week long. If that means going out on Friday night and downing a few bottles or Sauvignon Blanc, then so be it.
Personally, I like to go out one night a week — getting in my excitement and socializing — and then spending the rest of the weekend slowing down before the next week begins. I may go spend some quality time with friends or family, I may do some reading, meditating or cleaning (oddly therapeutic) and I’m likely to get some exercise as to keep my body’s chemistry on track. I like to take things slow and usually spend a lot of my time walking or biking. I don’t like to rush and I hate to worry; I like to forget all the problems in the world for those two days before reality comes ringing 7am Monday morning.
The weekend is for you to utilize in a fashion resulting in your peace of mind. How you accomplish that is up to you, but what’s crucial is planning in order to prepare for the weekend and making certain to change your pace. Your life will seem more fulfilling and exciting if you can distinguish each of your memories — start distinguishing between weekdays and weekends and then you can move onto distinguishing between individual days and moments.