How-To: Work Through the Weekend


Last weekend, I spent the bulk of my time copy editing a manuscript. I have to be honest…it made me feel a little guilty, especially after the revelations of this post.

But sometimes, deadlines are deadlines and, if you’re prone to burning out quickly during the week, it sometimes helps to stretch out tasks into the weekend.

And so, as a counterpoint to my blissful weekend of slacking off, I present some tips for working through the weekend:

Don’t Sleep In:

Most people take advantage of non-work weekends by sleeping in. They think they’re catching up on sleep but, little do they know, not keeping a regular sleep schedule can make it tougher to wake up on Monday (and Tuesday…and Wednesday…and…).

If you plan on working this weekend, well…what better reason to wake up at your usual on-the-job hour? You can power through a ton of work in the wee hours, leaving yourself the rest of the afternoon for fun! (Besides, mornings are when you’re least likely to be interrupted by…life.)

Take Breaks:

This isn’t your typical work day, so cut yourself some slack and work at a relaxed pace. Finish a project. Break for lunch. Finish a project. Head to the movies with your hubby. Finish a project. Jump at the chance to do a free wine tasting at your local wine market! Finish a few tasks and then allow yourself to walk away. It’ll keep you from burning out, and also keep you from feeling as if you’ve completely wasted your weekend.

Be Mobile:

I know, I know. I recently told you to throw away your smartphones. But if you absolutely insist on working through the weekend, I’d feel awful if you found yourself chained to the house. If you’re waiting on a business call, bring the damn phone with you while you catch that one-day sale at Kohl’s. Or take your laptop and go in search of a change of scenery. Your new surroundings will go a ways in reminding you that this is not the work week…and you should chill out.

Schedule an End Time:

My husband and I used to work nonstop on our computers. We’d sit back-to back — forgetting all about dinner –  until the wee hours, at which point we finally dragged ourselves to the bedroom, near-blind and on the brink of collapse.

I finally instituted a work curfew. And once that sunk in, I started cooking again. Then, I started inviting my husband to help me out i the kitchen. We’d cook together, and then settle down in front of the TV, with our homecooked meal and a glass of wine.

We slowly relearned that there was more to life than work…and that there’d always be tomorrow.

Learn this lesson. Schedule an end time. And then unplug completely.

Don’t View Weekends as the Cure to Procrastination:

Perhaps the only reason you’re forced to work through the weekend is because you kept putting things off during the week. And now your deadline is this coming Monday and, dude, no wonder you’re stressed!

Once you learn how to work more efficiently during the week, the need for those 48-hour marathons of feverish busywork throughout the weekend — clenched stomach, jittery eyeball, and white knuckles included — will be over.

Related: Coffee Break: Working on the Weekend


  1. Steph – You have some really good points here. There are times when I’m inefficient on Thursday/Friday afternoons and end up taking work home with me. I have my own consulting gigs on the side so I have a lot of late nights. I try to wake up early on Sunday and stay busy all day so I stay awake, b/c if I sleep in on Sunday I can’t go to bed Sunday night, and it makes Monday miserable. You play catch up the rest of the week.

    Good, simple points, that most people should adhere to.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Thanks for your comment, Ryan, and welcome to the blog!

    I remember well the days when I was juggling a full-time job, a night shift at a newspaper, and other freelance projects. Kudos to you for scheduling things out so well!

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