Weekends are so quintessentially American that there is an entire subculture celebrating Friday: hashtags and memes, a horrible Rebecca Black song, and a restaurant chain.
This fondness for Friday stems from the traditional workweek, which emerged from the need to accommodate both Jews’ and Christians’ sacred days of rest. Over time, the five-day workweek became solidified in most industries (except retail, which famously schedules its workers as willy-nilly as possible) and Americans have generally organized their lives around a 9–5 schedule. The weekend represents those glorious two days where you can do whatever you’d like (unless you work retail or food service).
Unfortunately, this represents a problem for productivity, especially if you have a side hustle or creative streak. The appeal of a responsibility-free weekend belies the fact that it’s simply not feasible to get it all your personal stuff in two days. Between chores, errands, relaxation, socialization, and passion projects, you’re looking at a serious need for a Time-Turner, and you’e apt to burn out before you can even hit the pool!
Consider changing your approach to the week. Here are some ways to stop living for the weekend and start living every day to the max.
Identify your productive times.
If you’re working a 9–5, you have to devote most of your day’s productive time to that, no way around it. However, you can use block scheduling to free up some mental energy.
Here’s how it works: spend a week tracking how you feel each hour of the day. Ask yourself if you feel:
Focused or scattered. If you’re focused every morning after your caffeine kicks in (about 30 minutes after you finish your coffee, by the way), this is a good time to knock out any intense tasks, such as writing complicated reports. When you’re more scatterbrained, it’s a good time to do something routine that can help you feel more organized, such as going through email or updating your to-do list.
Driven or reactive. No one is constantly producing hot new ideas, and no one is always receptive to hearing other ideas. There are likely times of day when your creative juices are flowing and other times of day when your prefrontal cortex is relatively quiet. Schedule meetings and brainstorming sessions accordingly.
High-energy or low-key. Summoning the energy to lead meetings or pitch ideas can be near impossible if you have to do it during your afternoon slump. If possible, find the times of day that you’re feeling renewed and like you can take on the world, and schedule those types of activities then.