Many of us have experienced a feeling of let-down on Sunday night, when we realize the weekend has passed and we haven't done what we wanted to do. The challenge of weekends, which can seem oh-so-short already, is that we often have conflicting priorities. In many cases, we have only those two days to take care of life maintenance while also needing time to unwind from a long week. How can we strike the right balance between productivity and relaxation?

As with many things in life, the key can be found in setting a regular pattern. Although you may not always be able to stick with your ideal plan, by committing to the idea of one, you'll have a better chance at making the most of each weekend.

A sensible approach is to designate one day of the weekend as a "Home Day" for getting things done and relaxing at home, and one day as a "Plans Day" to allow time for meet-ups with friends and family, as well as for taking care of necessities while out and about. The nice thing about this set-up is that it ensures that you won't spend the whole weekend running from place to place with no downtime. It also ensures that you won't feel stuck at home all weekend, having had no time for socializing or fun events. Plus, it allows for a mixture of must-dos and want-to-dos, both at home and while out and about.

If this idea appeals to you, then you can decide whether you prefer to make Saturday your Home Day and Sunday your Plans Day, or vice-versa. Or, you can leave open the decision about which day to make which, and decide each week based on what works best for your specific plans. The important thing is to stick to the basic principle of having one day at home, and one day out.

Below are some ideas about how to make the best use of your Home Day and your Plans Day to maximize the potential of your weekends.

Home Day

Consider a mixture of home-based tasks and relaxing at home for one day out of the weekend. You might use this day for:

  • Reading a novel or the newspaper
  • Watching a movie or your favorite show on TV
  • Catching up on your social media sites
  • Enjoying your favorite hobbies or activities
  • Talking to family and friends on the phone
  • Gardening
  • Taking care of home maintenance projects
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Paying bills
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking meals for the week
  • Doing laundry and ironing for the week

Plans Day

The other day of your weekend can be used to do things outside the home--both fun plans and outside maintenance. The idea is to combine your outings so that they all occur on your Plans Day and don't interrupt your Home Day. Some ideas of how to balance your Plans Day include:

  • Going to brunch or dinner with friends
  • Treating yourself to a movie or concert
  • Planning a trek or day trip
  • Attending a sporting event
  • Going to the gym or doing a group workout
  • Taking a trip to the mall or drugstore for needed items
  • Getting the grocery shopping done
  • Handling car maintenance
  • Fueling up the car
  • Doing your ATM banking

Note that the ideas above are just suggestions for how you might use your Home Day and Plans Day each week. For example, a nice balance on your Plans Day might consist of going to the gym, going out for brunch with friends, then stopping at the grocery store, fuel station, and bank on the way home. The idea is not to force all of the activities into each of the days, but to find a balance that works for you. You'll know you've struck it right if you can end the weekend with a feeling of "Ahh..." and not "Ohh..."