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If we look at the dictionary to help us define what weekend means, we find this: “The period from Friday evening through Sunday evening, especially regarded as a time for leisure.” If only it were this! With our Mondays through Fridays packed in like sardines with working, family, sports, and obligations of all sorts, it’s inevitable that there is spillage into the weekend. 

Not having downtime on the weekend makes for a cranky population by the time Monday morning comes rolling around once again. While it might seem counterintuitive to have a list for the weekend, that is precisely what I’m suggesting. A “weekend” list helps create more space for you to get done what you need to AND have some leisure time, which is what weekends were invented for!

So, here are some questions to consider: What happens when you are at work and something you need to do over the weekend pops into your head? Something like picking up the lawnmower at a repair shop or returning that item to Costco? Do you: (a) grab a sticky and jot it down, (b) add it to your daily to-do list, (c) let it fly out of your head and hope to heck that you remember to get it done come Saturday, or (d) add it to your “weekend list”?

If you answered “d,” you are on the right track! Creating a weekend to-do list ensures that you have time for both work AND play on the weekend. It’s a way to clear the decks to focus on work while keeping the home fires burning. Here’s why:

  • A weekend list helps you relax during non-work times. Without it, your mind is constantly swirling, trying to remember everything you want and need to get done before Monday morning. Without the list, you aren’t ever truly off duty.
  • It helps you keep focused during work hours. If something comes to mind to get done over the weekend, you don’t need to remember it — just add it to your list.
  • A list allows you to have a weekend. Without it, we are often left thinking about all the things we need to do and resisting doing them because it’s the weekend. Make your list, get things done, and then relax. Or, as some say: Work hard, play hard. 
  • It sets you up for success on Monday morning. You aren’t left feeling bad that you didn’t get anything done over the weekend — with a list, you get done what you need to in your personal life, and come Monday morning, you can feel good that you’re ready to hit the ground running with no residual did-I-or-didn’t-I get-everything-done feelings. 
  • It helps you be productive and move projects forward.

Don’t fret about what tool to use to make the list. Spiral-bound notebook, iPhone notes — your choice. The important thing is to create the list. Once the task is on the list, it’s a safe bet it will get done. Trust me on this. If you are diligent enough to make the list, you are diligent enough to accomplish the tasks. Trust yourself on this.

Okay, now that you orchestrated your weekend to have gobs of open time, as opposed to running around and ruminating about what’s not getting done, you may be wondering, “Okay, now what?”

This is the fun part. And what makes it doubly fun is that it contributes to your productivity at work, because you’ll be recharged and raring to go. Other than number one, the following aren’t in order of importance. 

  • Spend time with family and friends. All of us know how time flies, especially as we age. We’ve all experienced something, such as a school year or specific work project, in “the blink of an eye.” So why do we take personal relationships for granted? When was the last time you watched your child’s soccer match without checking emails or returning phone calls? Weekends allow time for truly being with loved ones. 
  • Move, be active, exercise. Doesn’t matter what you call it — use your body. Our society of desk jockeys isn’t conducive to raising heartbeats. No gym or organized league of a specific sport necessary. Play with your child. Really get into some yard work. Sweep the garage.
  • Pursue a passion. What’s your hobby? When did you last dabble? Don’t have one? No time like the present to start. A new sport, cooking, gardening, skydiving, rock collecting … the list is endless. 
  • Socialize. Maybe it’s volunteer work or time with neighbors. Connecting with others completes us. This doesn’t mean you have to be friends with everyone. 
  • Create some inner space. Reflect or recharge. Some people may call this going to church. Others call it meditation. The label is not important. The action is.

It’s time to bring back the lost meaning of the weekend for rest and relaxation. The first step is to make a weekend list. If you haven’t already, I hope you will start now. 

Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase workplace efficiency. Her work has been featured in Working Women, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at


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