For many, the phrase “I’ll do that on the weekend,” has become the answer to solving any apparent time limitation problem. In their weekday minds, the weekend becomes this mythical land where time is infinite and motivation abundant. But in their weekend reality, time is still limited and their mind simply wants a break come Friday night–not a more packed schedule. So how do you make the shift from having to recover from your weekends instead of weekends being the recovery time? Well, there are four steps.

The first step is to put in what you need to feel refreshed. Although weekend time is limited, it does still provide unique opportunities to do things that you might not otherwise have the flexibility to do. Decide which activities you find truly refreshing and block that time into your calendar first. For example, keep the morning free before 10 a.m to enjoy a slow morning, or leave unstructured hours open to doing whatever you feel like doing.

Secondly, narrow what you want to accomplish in a weekend to a manageable size. Instead of attempting to maintain the garden, donate clothes, call your aunt, change the light bulbs, and go on a run all in one weekend, try committing to just a couple of those things. That way, you won’t set yourself up for failure.

The third step is to prep for success for the weekend during your weekdays. This means making small investments in what you can get done Monday through Friday to make time at the week’s end for more fun or bigger projects. One way to do this is to give yourself 20 to 30 minutes of personal administrative time on weekdays to get the little time-consuming tasks like paying the bills out of the way. Or you can use that time to make preparations for the weekend, such as getting the groceries you need to make a big dinner on Saturday.

The final key to weekend success is to know your limits so that you’re happy instead of disappointed with your weekend. For instance, choose one to two social events per weekend, or if you’re really introverted, no social events on the weekend. There’s no one right format for a successful weekend. But by using this four-step formula for approaching your weekend, you can reclaim your weekends and feel like they’re a success.

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