Whether it’s a free weekend or PTO you scheduled months ago, don’t let your time off go to waste.
Here’s how to wring the most out of your time away from the office:
1. Plan It Out
A day or two beforehand, take a few minutes to outline the things you need to get done (schedule a slew of doctor’s appointments) as well as several tasks you’d like to get done (scrub the kitchen floor) on your day off. If you’re not using Evernote yet, it’s worth checking out—the wildly popular free app organizes your to-do lists and syncs them across your devices.
2. Wake Up at Your Usual Time
Although it’ll be tempting to sleep in, don’t let yourself press the snooze button more than once. If you interrupt your regular schedule—say it’s waking up at 7:30 and making coffee—you risk throwing off your circadian rhythm (aka your internal body clock). Sleeping too much can lead to grogginess throughout the day or trouble falling asleep the next night.
3. Minimize Your Time on Email
Opening your email is like opening a can of worms: You could spend hours checking, organizing, responding, forwarding, and deleting messages. Some experts suggest waiting an hour or so after waking up to check your email, although that advice is not for everyone. On days when you’re not “on duty,” plan to check your inbox only two or three times. In that moment, address all high-priority messages—and then walk away from your laptop before it sucks you in.
4. Put a Twist on Your Workout
In the spirit of not straying too far from your regular routine, make sure you’re getting at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity on your day off. And use your flexible schedule to your advantage: Sign up for a fitness class you normally wouldn’t be able to attend, or take a longer jog on a new route you’ve been meaning to try.
5. Develop New Interests
Explore activities and hobbies that have nothing to do with your job in order to stimulate other areas of your brain. And we’re not talking about Netflix—think physical activities, like hiking or golf. Not only will this take your mind off of work-related stressors, but you’ll have a new outlook (and new water cooler topics) when you finally do have to go back to the office.