How To Use Your Weekends Wisely

 Photo via  Flickr

Photo via Flickr

Most of us are pretty busy during the week. We're going to work or school, cooking, cleaning, taking care of our families, and taking care of ourselves (if we can find the time of course). So needless to say, me telling you to take on another activity is probably not what you want to hear. Who has the time?

However, one thing that has helped me push through more than one project when at my busiest was this:

Use my weekends wisely.

What do I mean by this? Let's take a step back first.

Weekends can be a blessing and a curse. They are the time to rest and recharge and get ready for the week ahead. This might be catching up on sleep, meeting friends that you haven't seen in a while, or finishing those last few chores that you couldn't get to during the week. All of these activities are extremely important to live a balanced life.

One thing that I know I love to do on the weekend is veg out. After a long and stressful day, sitting on the couch and watching a movie or playing a video game sounds like an awesome idea. Occasionally, a little excursion out might be nice, maybe a trip to the gym, or window shopping at the mall (*cough* Apple Store *cough*).

But truly, many of my weekends have one thing that sounds almost counterproductive. It's work. Almost every weekend you can find me spending time doing some form of work on my passions. Sounds like fun right? In actuality, it is. 

Working your passions during your down time has two positive outcomes.

The first is that it teaches you what you're really passionate about. If the thought of spending a few hours programming instead of watching TV makes your skin crawl, then that's probably a sign. If you'd consistently rather be outside hiking than baking cakes, then that's probably a sign. If your hobbies are more important to you than your perceived passion, then it's probably not your passion.

The second, and perhaps more pertinent outcome, is that you actually get stuff done. Squeezing in an hour or two here and there during the week is good, but sitting down for a solid couple of hours when you're relaxed and refreshed will do wonders. I've written an entire guide in a weekend. I've knocked out half a dozen blog posts for multiple websites in a weekend. I've cooked meals for two people for an entire week (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in a weekend. Remember, batch processing is your friend.

When you consciously set aside the time, it's amazing what you can accomplish. Do that consistently, and you'll see so many things fall into place.

Now, I advise against spending your whole weekends working, because that is the path to burning out. It's easy to see how much progress you make after a few hours and think that you can keep going, but that's not sustainable. On rare occasions, you'll see me working 10-15 hours on a project over the weekend, but more often it's closer to 4-6 hours, split between the two days if necessary. The key is to spend some time working your passions, not all of your time.

And if you're in the kind of job where a weekend isn't Saturday and Sunday (retail workers for example) your "weekend" is any day that you have off.

What you end up noticing is that taking a few hours out of your weekend doesn't detract very much from your other activities. It might mean two hours out of your Netflix marathon, or getting most of the garage cleaned out, or maybe you won't notice it because it was time you spent aimlessly laying about. But you will notice that you're actually moving forward on your dreams.

So do yourself a favor, and start taking just a little time out this weekend to work your passions. I guarantee that you'll be shocked at the progress you make in just two days.

Ryan