How can I best spend my weekends without wasting time?

Interesting question.

On the one hand, it’s sometimes good to slow down and use the weekend to relax, recharge your batteries, not rush anywhere.

On the other hand, it’s 48 hours of disposable time – and a LOT can be done in that time!

So what can you do? Here are 3 suggestions.

Always have a goal to aspire to.

Where do you want to be 1, 5, 10 years from now? Who do you want to become? What is a dream scenario for you: a life in a specific city, having a career in an industry that motivates you, being surrounded by smart and interesting people who contribute to your personal growth, becoming an expert in a field that requires a lot of your dedication and time? Get specific. Set aside an hour or two this weekend to do the following:

  • Write down your top 3 goals (can be personal, professional development, or both)
  • Under each, write down 3 things you would need to do on a consistent basis to get you closer to each goal.
  • Then, create a schedule for the week ahead so that you can devote blocks of time to making progress in the areas you’ve identified.
  • Next Sunday evening, when you’ve followed your schedule for a whole week, do an assessment of the progress you made. Did some activities take more time than you anticipated? Did you need to plan better so as not to waste time on things that are less relevant to your goals (outside of work/school)? What could you have done better? Then make adjustments for the following week.

Feed your brain.

Use the weekend to learn something new, expose your brain to different ideas and perspectives, maybe even others’ point of view. You never know when you might find an idea or two you can implement into your daily life. Use this time to learn, be curious, wonder, question, pause, think.

A. Listen to podcasts

  • Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod (creator of The Miracle Morning, provides ideas to cultivate a morning routine and be productive early in the day)
  • Intelligence Squared (forum for debate and intelligent discussion on  a variety of topics ranging from world politics to art to economics)
  • Optimize with Brian Johnson (condensed big ideas from the best books on optimal living and also micro classes on how to apply these ideas)
  • Happier With Gretchen Rubin (a fun show led by bestselling author of “The Happiness Project” with small ideas you can apply to your life to exercise your happiness muscle)
  • Ask Altucher (Q&A sessions with entrepreneur/investor/writer, where he responds to questions from listeners on a variety of topics)
  • Planet Money ( stories about smart people, economics, politics)
  • Radiolab (show about curiosity, interesting ideas, science, philosophy)
  • The Inquiry (a debate on a controversial topic in the news and 4 experts challenging each other with 2 views, for and against the topic)
  • Question of the Day (a show for people short on time and long on curiosity, with a lot of good humor in trying to answer the question at hand)

B. Read books (fiction and non-fiction)

Why? It’s the equivalent of living multiple lives; reading can stimulate your imagination, utilize your critical thinking skills, and ultimately, it will give you food for thought.

  • Dive deep into the lives of others and get lost in private lives of fictional characters, find out what makes them tick, ask yourself what would you do in their place.
  • Learn from the experiences of others in their quest to live a happier life, become healthy, start a business, excel at a skill, overcome an obstacle, live a life with more meaning and a sense of purpose.

Be good to yourself.

After a week’s worth of focusing on activities that should bring you closer to achieving goals that are important to you, you should give yourself a reward to mark the occasion. What you choose to reward yourself with will depend on your personal interests, your passions, as well as your personality.

  • Do you enjoy spending time with friends? Get everyone together for an evening out to watch a movie together, attend a concert, catch up over coffee or dinner at your favorite restaurant.
  • Would you prefer to spend some quiet time alone? Schedule a night in, order takeout, watch a film or a documentary that interests you, or do something else that makes you feel really good, like playing guitar, painting, writing, or any project that really gets your mind engaged.

Whatever you choose, it should feel like a celebration of small wins. For every small step you take that gets you closer to your goal, reward yourself so that you feel you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

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