You’ve slugged your way through an incredibly hard week, you deserve a weekend, therefore it can be incredibly hard to get motivated knowing that nobody will tell you off if you lean back and relax. This is the hardest time to push yourself, however with some careful changes, you can have a really productive day, earning a nice glass of wine in the evening. Read on for my top tips on how to stay motivated on the weekend.
1) Setting An Alarm
One of the benefits of the weekend is waking up whenever you want, however this lax attitude then kicks on through the day, as you gradually drag yourself out of bed and begin watching cat video’s on YouTube…OK, maybe that is just me.
If you set an alarm for the morning, this creates a ‘getting up for work’ mindset, helping to push you into auto mode and get right on with your task list.
2) Write Your To-Do List
I NEVER work on a Friday evening, out of genuine principle, however if I want to have a productive Saturday then I will write up a to-do list on the night before. This way, first thing in the morning you can crack on with the list.
There is also an inevitable temptation to crack on with your favourite tasks within the list. You will therefore be more productive if you do them in a numeric order. This therefore means you should be strategic when writing the tasks. You don’t want strenuous tasks in the late afternoon, as you will be losing motivation by this point, while you also want to ensure the big and painful tasks are out of the way as soon as possible.
3) Carrot At The End
If you work the whole way through the weekend without a break, you might feel proud, but by Tuesday you will feel the effects of burnout. You need to reward yourself for your hard work, so tell yourself you will work X amount of time, until X o’clock, then the rest of the evening is yours. Or you could push yourself all day Saturday, knowing you can do what you want on Sunday. I quite often go out Saturday night, so I’ll try to do jobs for 6 hours beforehand, so I don’t feel guilty having a hangover day on Sunday.
This also has an added benefit, as you will be tempted during the day to have little breaks, such as watching an episode of Walking Dead, however if you tell yourself you can watch as much as you want from 6pm, then you normally stay on target.
4) Classical Music
I never thought I’d start listening to classical music, however it happened by mistake while I was cleaning. I realised while cleaning, these relaxing tunes kept me going in a way other music doesn’t. The exact same effect happened when I had to write several blog posts, as I kept my head down for hours without a break.
There is a huge amount of research behind it, but I won’t bore you with all that. All I need to say is put Classical FM on and give it a try.
5) Motivation Quotes
If you’re trying to push yourself to head to the gym or do something exercise based, then YouTube should be your best friend. Type in ‘Gym Motivation’ and you will find thousands of videos where quotes are played over uplifting music. This works so well with me, as that little seed of doubt holding you back from going outside in the cold to the gym suddenly evaporates and what is left is a relentless desire to push my limits beyond belief.
6) Go To Bed Early
The effects of sleep are drastic. If I get 7 hours sleep I’m like a zombie. If I get 8 hours I’m like a hyperactive hamster. It is insanely hard to push yourself to go to bed early when you don’t have an early morning the next day, however you will feel grateful the next day, when you wake up ready and raring to go. Your motivation levels will be exceptionally higher with a good night’s sleep.
I now have a Tassimo coffee pod machine setup in my room, by my desk. This way, if I have to work on my laptop, I will brew up a coffee and crack on first thing in the morning. Whether it is an effect from the coffee or simply a placebo, I seem to be more level-headed and persistent once I’ve got a mug to sip on.
8) Set Deadlines
I’m slightly reluctant to include this one, as this adds an element of stress, whereas I think you should be avoiding stress completely when working on a weekend, as this helps to keep you motivated and content. However, this can work for some people. If you state to yourself you want several tasks done by midday, you will then know if you are on target to get everything complete or if you’re slipping behind.
9) Cook Up A Big Meal
The biggest distraction for me personally is food. I will be cleaning my room or working on an article and then hunger will strike. I will spend 15 minutes preparing food, 15 minutes cooking, then I’ll eat while watching something on TV for half an hour. That is an hour gone from my day, while I will probably want to eat again in a couple of hours, so it’s a constant cycle. This is why I normally cook up a big meal for lunch, which can be reheated in the microwave throughout the day.
For example, I sometimes cook up a huge stir fry or a bolognese and then store most of it in tupperware, for me to reheat over the next couple of days. This will knock off all that prep and cooking time, helping to free up your day for important tasks.
It’s also important to remember to eat the right amount of food at meal time. Eat too little and you will still want more at the end. Eat too much and you will feel lethargic at the end, wanting to take an extended break.
If you’re eating a smaller meal, try to have a glass of water just before you eat, as this can help fill you up.
10) Keep Excited And Smiling
The reality is you can make any task fun if you treat it that way. While cleaning, turn up the music and test your karaoke skills. Whenever I’m washing up, I play a stand-up comedy clip from YouTube, while I do the same when ironing.
The moment you treat it like a gruelling task, your mind will no longer be there. It’s never as bad as you thought before you started. Most people I drag to the gym are looking for excuses before we head there and then they claim they’re tired on the journey, yet once we are there they start to feel great and are incredibly happy they went. That euphoric feeling at the end, as well as that sense of achievement is worth the grind and the pain.