by Chantl Martin
After a long week at work, it’s tempting to spend your weekend on the couch, letting the Netflix auto-replay force you into yet another original series. This time of mindless relaxation is usually happily welcomed and well-deserved… but occasionally we want to get up from our eternal slumber and make the most of our lives.
On that rare occasion, we actually want to spend some time doing something (dare I say it?) productive.
Here are 7 things you can do in the middle of a lazy weekend when the urge to be productive hits.
Reading blogs can help you stay ahead of the latest changes in the world, in tech, in business, in the finance industry and everything in between. The most effective way that I’ve found to enjoy blogs is to create a feed of different genres and take time looking into every industry that you enjoy.
Pro Tip: Spend time reading about the industry that you work in. For example, if you work in marketing, you’ll want to pay attention to all of the popular blogs in the space. Knowing about what new resources and happenings in your industry can make you indispensable to your job and put you in a position to add more value to teams that you work on.
Make a financial plan… or check on it.
We all make money and spend money…. it’s a vicious cycle. If you’re smart, you also save money and invest money. This will come in handy when during hard times when someone gets sick or loved ones have emergencies. If you have extra time on your hands and no idea what to do with it, spend some time creating a strategy for budgeting, saving and investing. With a good financial plan you can make sure you are in good financial health to weather any storm that life throws at you.
Pro Tip: If you already have a financial plan, take some time to re-evaluate it. Life changes. You pay bills off, you take on new ones. You may have lost a large client or gained one. Taking some time to think about your budget will give you the opportunity to make sure that every dollar you have is going to the right place. It’s a small way to do something great for the future you.
Find ways to cut your budget and lower your monthly expenses.
There are two ways to build wealth: cut your expenses and make more money. This tip focuses on the first part of that. By taking time out of your day that you would’ve otherwise spent watching Netflix to re-evaluate your expenses, you can find huge gaps where you can spend much less than you’re spending now. Perhaps you’re spending money on a cable bill even though you don’t watch much TV. Perhaps you can call different auto insurance companies to see if you can get a lower monthly payment. Maybe you’re paying a high interest on a credit card and want to take some time applying for a 0% interest card to transfer that balance.
All of these options will help you lower your monthly expenses and further increase the gap between what you make and what you spend.
Mentally check in with your goals.
We all have goals that will help us reach the next step in our lives. My goal for this year was to graduate from school, work towards happiness, build relationships, travel, and learn how to ride a bike. When I have free time, I look at my list of things I wanted to accomplish and mentally ask myself whether I have accomplished those things. I look at my calendar to see when I have time to put those things into my schedule.
Pro Tip: Write your goals down and put them somewhere that will ensure that you look at your goals every day. I create a vision board every year and for the duration of the year I leave that vision board sitting on my computer desk next to my bed. Every day when I sit at my computer I am reminded of my goals. There is never a day that I don’t think about what I wanted to do this year.
Spend time working towards them.
The best day to start working towards your goals is always today. It can be difficult to find time to accomplish your goals especially with the other responsibilities of life knocking at your door. But if you take one hour away from TV binging and direct that energy towards your goals, you will be very happy at what happens next for you. You will feel refreshed that you are one step closer to accomplishing your goals.
Clean your space.
Some people feel great living in chaos. This tip is not for you. For the rest of us who enjoy a clean work space, taking your free time to tidy up can add to your efficiency and give you a bit more energy when you get up to start your day. It can also take one “to-do” off of your plate clearing up your mind to think about other things.
Spend time with friends and family.
With full-time jobs, family responsibilities, relationships, volunteering, and endless recurring errands in life, it’s easy to lose track of your non-immediate family and friends. Take some of this free time to call up friends you don’t talk to as often, a cousin you haven’t heard from in a while, that friend from college you’ve been meaning to catch up with, or that co-worker you have yet to grab drinks with. Spending time with shooting the breeze and getting to know people will give you the opportunity to build or strengthen relationships that could’ve easily slipped away.
With increasingly demanding jobs and technology that somehow keeps up connected 24/7, free time is incredibly rare. It’s your job to make the most of it.