How to (attempt to) make your weekends more productive

No, the secret to being productive is not eating coffee beans for breakfast.

Some clearly know the secrets to a good work-life balance on days that start with the letter ‘S,’ while others take a little too much advantage of lazing around (right now, that is me). I developed a habit of doing almost nothing most weekends when I was working in radio, but that was mostly due to my abnormal schedule. (Getting up at 1 AM to work a shift from 4 AM to noon Saturdays and Sundays will do that to you.)

I’ve been easing my way back into doing far more household chores on the weekends. I’ve been encouraging myself to put away small things that have migrated over to our coffee table, make sure the dining room chairs aren’t covered in jackets and sweaters…you get the idea. I’ve also been drafting my blog posts for the week, taking photos, going for walks, and just enjoying time in my community.

Here are some tricks I use to try and attempt to get things done on Saturdays and Sundays.

Have a clear and concise list ready to go

Whether that’s planning in advance for both days, or planning each night prior, be specific. Your present-day self will thank you for such clear direction.

As an example, I don’t just write “clean the fridge” when I need to clean the fridge. I’ll make a list with some bullet points underneath to elaborate on what exactly gets done so that it’s 100 per cent completed. The heading of the list might say, “clean the fridge,” followed by sub-tasks like “remove all the spoiled food,” “wipe down and disinfect the shelves inside the fridge,” and “organize items into easy-to-follow categories.” I also make note of the things I would need to have ready, like an old cloth, a bucket of soapy warm water, disinfectant for the fridge, a garbage bag and/or organics bag for rotten perishables, and perhaps a label maker for creating categories.

Be realistic

My preference has been to complete two to three tasks well each weekend day, depending on what they are. If I’ve cleaned my fridge and reorganized our hallway closets all on a Saturday, I’d consider that a job well done since those are often messier high-traffic areas. However, if I know I have an event on a Saturday evening, I may keep my chores light. Productivity is in the eye of the beholder, but be fair: be realistic with the list you come up with. If you’re omitting certain tasks on your weekend lists (even though you’ve planned to do them), ask yourself if you’re better served completing the task in another day, in multiple stages, or with a helping hand.

Work with a timer

I absolutely hate putting things away because I get distracted. What often happens is this: I’ll find a hair clip I’ve left on the coffee table, put it back in the bathroom and then get sidetracked organizing the bathroom…when the whole point was to clean up the coffee table. I like to work with a 15-minute timer to keep me on track. I find it quite psychological as I’m constantly telling myself, “I have 15 minutes to get all of the stuff on the coffee table off it, dust/wipe it down, change the featured art book (we have gaming art books we like to rotate through) and make sure the space underneath is also tidy.”

I don’t think this is the best way to pick up the stuff on and around the coffee table…

Efficiency

Do you need to return library books? Is that on the way to your dinner downtown? Are you picking up a prescription? Can you also pick up groceries on that same trip? If you can make your tasks less cumbersome, take advantage. Sundays are our official grocery days and we try to grab all our needs for the week; we also ask ourselves if we need to go to our local return-it-depot (which is just a few doors down) to bring back our beverage containers and sometimes bring our clothing and small item donations to the local drop-off bin at the end of our block. (These are easier to transport in the car, because trust me — those bags get heavy and bulky!)

Tag team your task, if you can

Sometimes I need help organizing the closet, because there are tools that belong to my husband that have a specific spot — and I don’t know where he prefers to keep them. If I need to make a decision about purging items, I ask him for help. If I need to pick up a heavy item at a store, I ask him to help me transport it home. If you tend to be messy, ask your spouse, roommate or a trusted friend for ideas if you’re trying to get organized. They may offer a creative solution to your problem. If those options aren’t possible, follow feeds on Instagram or Pinterest to inspire new ways to get things done.

Treat yo’self — once you’ve completed some stuff

I don’t go to Starbucks for my grande skinny caramel macchiato until I’ve completed at least two things on my list. If I want a donut, I’ve got to work for it. Give yourself motivation to tackle your tasks. Save yourself some money and start off with coffee and a healthy breakfast at home. (You don’t want to take on your list hangry!) Find the “treats” in your day and use them to get you doing what you need to do.

Work hard, play hard

The last thing you want to do is “overtask” yourself to the point where you don’t want to do any of the “adulting” at all. That’s why it’s so important to be realistic with what you can complete on the weekends. You should also be enjoying your weekend: if you’re out with family at an event, then enjoy their company. If you’re reading a book, you read that book — don’t do multiple things at once.

How do you like to make sure things get done around the home? Drop me a line in the comments below!

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