If your company grants paid holidays, you may have a three-day weekend coming up; President’s Day is Feb. 15. And if you’re like most Americans, it probably feels like those three days fly by. You might clock out on Friday evening with all the time in the world, but before you know it, it’s Monday night and you’re getting the kids ready for bed. Read on to learn how you can make the most of your time off.
1. Unplug So You Can Unwind
Working hard might be the path to success, but even Bill Gates told The Wall Street Journal that he takes at least one week off per year to regroup, meditate and contemplate what he wants for his future. If you struggle to unwind on the weekends, try turning off all your devices for a set period of time every Saturday. Only after your phone stops buzzing will you finally be able to relax, instead of trying to respond immediately to everyone who contacts you, work-related or not.
2. Make Plans Ahead of Time
It may be tempting to spend the holiday weekend on the couch, but chances are you’ll regret it when you go back to work Tuesday morning.
It should come as no surprise that people on vacation are far happier than those who aren’t, but scientists found that it’s not actually the trip that people enjoy most; it’s the planning. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, vacation-goers were happiest when they were anticipating their trips to come.
How can you use this information to your advantage? Call your favorite restaurant on Wednesday night to make reservations for the following Saturday. Then you’ll have three days to dream about that mouthwatering pasta dish accompanied by a glass—or two—of a full-bodied red.
3. Stay Productive During the Week
It’s easy to postpone all your chores until Saturday, but chances are you’re not going to want to do them when the weekend rolls around, either. Instead, try to tackle as many chores as you can during the week.
Doing just 20 minutes of cleaning per evening works out to logging more than 1.5 hours by the time the weekend rolls around. If you’re efficient and have all the supplies on hand, you can clean the whole house in an hour and a half. Try to squeeze in your grocery shopping on a weeknight, too. The store will be much less crowded so you can finish faster, and you’ll have even more time to play on your days off.
4. Put Your Family First
There’s an old adage about raising kids: The days are long, but the years are short. That’s a good reminder that the best way to make the most of your time off is by focusing on your family. That doesn’t mean picking up after them, though; the dishes and laundry can wait.
Instead, focus on doing things together. Sign up for a pottery class, go bowling or turn up the music and dance around the house in your socks “Risky Business” style. Doing things with the people you love is the only surefire way to guarantee you won’t regret how you spent your time off.