3 Things is a weekly series posted every Sunday that highlights three things you can do to overcome a challenge, enhance your productivity, and improve other aspects of your work and life. Each of the things also offers an app or product recommendation that can help you take action and move forward.
The weekend is a time for rest, rejuvenation, and leisure. Yet for a lot of people, weekends seem all too short to do any of that. The weekend (or days off) are not only ideal times to do household maintenance and chores, but are ideal to spend some time doing the things that you don’t make time for during the week because you face a full schedule.
On the weekend, there’s a high likelihood that that’s very little on your schedule — or less than what’s on your weekday schedule. It’s crucial that you take the time off to enjoy yourself so that you can head into the following week ready to move things forward.
Here are 3 things you can do to get more out of your weekend and make it your own instead of someone else’s.
1. Read To Learn
I’ve recently started to read fiction for leisure again (The Martian was a spectacular read, and the one that got me back into fiction), but I take time every day to read articles and books to learn something. Non-fiction books are my go-to reads, and setting aside some time to read a few chapters during the weekend has become part of my routine.
I’ve started to keep a paper library again, inspired by this piece by Ryan Holiday. I’ve made collecting books a hobby of sorts (more on hobbies later on in this piece) and reading to learn is one of the best things I can do with my time on the weekend. In fact, only spending time with my wife and kids trump it.
App suggestion: Blinkist is a great new web-based app that breaks down non-fiction books into “blinks” or concise summaries of each chapter. Think of Blinkist as CliffsNotes – allowing you to read more non-fiction books than you may have had time for in the past. When you first sign up for the service, you’ll get a free trial, and there are free iOS apps you can download for mobile reading. ($5/month or $50/year)
2. Catch Up On Podcasts
Reading is one way to become more knowledgable in many areas of interest, and listening to podcasts is another. Podcasts, however, often deal with current events more than anything else. They also are often hosted by people who are “just like you.” Many are podcasting for a hobby while others are podcasting to further their own business ventures.
Either way, many of them have days that could be very similar to yours, which makes what they offer that much more accessible than what we used to listen to more regularly: broadcast radio. So if you are falling behind on your podcast subscriptions, the weekend is an ideal time to catch up a little bit and learn something in the process.
App suggestion: My podcasting app of choice is Downcast. Sure, Apple has its own app, but the ability to slide podcasts into playlists, have a slew of playback features at your disposal, and gesture controls that really were ahead of its time make Downcast a killer podcasting app that is very tough to beat. I don’t listen to podcasts on my Mac or iPad (although Downcast is available for the Mac), but the only podcasting app on my iPhone is Downcast…and I can’t see it being usurped anytime soon. (iOS: $2.99 ; Mac OS X: $9.99)
3. Foster A Hobby
This may not seem to be related to productivity, but it certainly is. By taking some time to foster something you enjoy outside of your work efforts, you give yourself a much-needed break. That break allows you to recharge your batteries and come back to work with a rested mind and a fresh set of eyes. Stepping away from the work from time to time ultimately results in better work because you’re giving yourself a chance to regenerate along the way.
The key to fostering a hobby is to find a way to measure it as well. Whether that’s through journalling your progress or taking photos as you go, by experiencing the growth of your skill at hobbies you feel more compelled to get even better at it. You’ll also enjoy returning to it more regularly, which gives you the break from work that you deserve on the weekend.
App suggestion: I use Evernote to track a ton of stuff, and my beer cellar hobby is one of them. With the ability to have related notes and access on a variety of platforms, Evernote is both incredibly versatile and scaleable. If you’re looking for an app that will help you foster your hobby, you really can’t go wrong with Evernote. Oh, and Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials will help you wrap your head around Evernote really efficiently and effectively. (Free for various platforms. Premium offering also available for $5/month or $45/year. Evernote Business is $10/month.)