Transform your days off with these solutions for how to be productive.
Weekends can become cluttered quickly. One minute, you’re looking happily at an empty calendar (probably only happens to introverts). Next thing you know, you’re cooking for an impromptu barbecue, house-sitting for the neighbors, and cleaning because your great aunt decided to come into town next week. These can all be good things, but sometimes great things start to feel less-so when we’re exhausted and way behind with our schedules. I’m betting we can all learn a couple of things about how to be productive (read: less stressed out) in our daily lives.
You can relax and recharge while also accomplishing some goals. Staring in fear of your to-do list could be a thing of the past when you try these suggestions for being super effective. I hope they make your life better and brighter!
Build Free Time into Your Schedule.
You might have heard before that it’s good to take breaks during the day. But there are a lot of different ways to do that. Here are some things that can help.
You could divide your day into two, using the morning for work and the afternoon for leisure. Focus your leisure time during the hours of the day when you feel the least motivated. Use the time of day where you have more natural energy to accomplish big tasks that require a lot of focus.
Or what about setting aside one day off to work on projects and your next free day for fun? If you rely on schedules to keep you on track (ahem, me), then “scheduling” your free time might be the way to go. You can use this all or nothing mentality to your advantage by setting aside a day for work and a day to relax. That way, you can feel a sense of accomplishment while also knowing that one day of your week will be all about your hobbies and pastimes.
Do the Stuff that will Make the Most Significant Impact.
That’s what being productive is all about. One way to do this is to pick two essential things that need to get done – one visual and one mental. The reason behind choosing a task with visual impact and one with mental impact is simple. If you have a job to complete and you can see that it’s done, it reminds you of how awesome you are. It’s instant gratification. Who knew doing the dishes could make you want to moonwalk across the kitchen?
On the other hand, accomplishing a mental task frees up space in your mind, which no longer has to be devoted to that thing. Suddenly, instead of mentally planning your grocery list while a friend is talking with you, you can offer support and a listening ear. (I know, this productivity stuff is crazy.)
Examples of a visual task might be getting a haircut, cleaning the house, etc. A mental task is making a budget, working on a class or homework, or de-cluttering your phone apps. These are just examples, use your own – let’s not add more to that to-do list!
Plan One Thing You Want to Do.
Maybe you know your day off will be full of grocery shopping, cleaning, and working on your side hustle. But what is one thing that you could look forward to doing? Taking a hike? Buying a fancy coffee? Finally starting to read that new book?
Make time at either the end or beginning of your day for that particular thing – it could make all the difference. Seriously, reward systems work! I can check off a ridiculous amount of tasks from my list if I know that at the end of it, I get to watch Netflix.
Mark Your Days Off With Something Special.
Begin one unique activity that you only do on free days – eat dessert for breakfast, take yoga class, write poetry, whatever. Again, if you want a routine, the idea of having a specific thing to do on days off might be appealing. If you only go out with friends or catch up on social media in your free time, it will be something you look forward to as you go through your week.
Get a Head Start on Being Productive.
Maybe you’re thinking these ideas are waaay too structured. Then build your working days around your days off – or get things done in advance. You want to chill on your day off and not feel rushed. I hear you. If you schedule your working days right, you can thoroughly enjoy free time without any tasks to think about.
It requires a little more planning to still be productive, though. Simply schedule all of your important tasks during your workweek. Grocery shop and meal prep the night before your day off, clean, or study after work, and you’ll find your calendar more open for relaxing. While having goals is essential, it’s equally necessary to give space for your mind to simply enjoy and be present. (I’m talking to myself here.)
For the most part, we all have some say over our schedules. I know things happen that sometimes throw us off course, but we know what our days will look like usually. We know what time we have to wake up, go to work or school, etc. It’s doable to accomplish our tasks by planning in advance and determining to get them done.
Advice for How to Be Productive in 2020
This year has given us all plenty of time to be productive at home. You may be wondering how to keep a positive attitude or stay upbeat when quarantine feels like it’s lasting forever. Here’s some advice:
Exercise often. Whether that means walking around your neighborhood or a yoga routine, staying active can boost your spirits and give more structure during a difficult time. Here are some great ideas for exercising during the stay at home months.
Go outside. Get some sunshine and fresh air. This is probably the most helpful and essential thing I’ve done during 2020 to stay motivated and happy.
Know that things will change. One thing that’s guaranteed is that change is always around the corner. Things will get better. We will not be facing quarantine forever, and this will pass. Keep your focus on the big picture and remind yourself of this often.
Own Your Time
One more thing – really own your time. It is yours and no one else’s. If you give some away to a hobby, person, or task, make sure it’s because you want to or that doing so will have good benefits. No one can make you spend your time a certain way – you’re in charge.
That is not to say that you will love every minute of every day and never have to do things you don’t like. It just means that you’re managing your time well by deciding how much goes to each activity or relationship. It also means you find those things worthwhile in the long run. (Example: You aren’t a fan of hockey games, but you go see them now and again because your significant other enjoys them, and you want to spend time with them.)
In conclusion, start with tasks that will have the most impact, separate work and free time, and above all, stay healthy.
If you want more ideas for a productive day off, check out my blog post, How to Reset Your Home (and Life) in 1 Day.