Saturday, December 10, 2005

11 ways to put an end to "hit and run" weekends

Why is it that the work week seems to last forever? You're checking the clock every half-hour, and boy, those 39 blocks are painfully slow. And then, at last, it's Saturday and you zip about like a fiend, organizing your entire personal life within a 48-hour span. You barely have time to utter "Let's have fun" when you find yourself smack dab in the thick of the Monday, rush hour, commute. Again. Sound familiar? It's a fact: The more you have crammed into your weekends, the quicker your time off will pass you by. As parents, our weekend to-do list expands faster than a diaper in a swimming pool.

11 ideas to put the brakes on your hit-and-run weekends

1. Don't sleep in. If you need more sleep, go to bed earlier during the week. Not only does sleep steal your time, but it also makes you more sluggish on Mondays by resetting the body's internal circadian rhythms.

2. Never grocery shop on the weekend. During the weekday evenings, stores are usually less crowded. Also, use grocery lists to prevent frequent and unnecessary trips to the store.

3.Create a to-do list. Tack a "five minute list" to the refrigerator made up of household mini-projects that can be completed in less than five minutes. Examples might be reorganizing the towel closet, sorting out clothes that have grown too small for children, or changing the dead light bulb in the garage. Each family member is responsible for selecting and completing one item on the list every night. This will help put an end to those annoying little projects that usually get saved up for the weekends.

4. Play together outdoors. Plan one leisurely activity per weekendthat gets the family outdoors. This helps keep family members from going stir-crazy, while providing fun experiences to remember the weekend by!

5. Make chores a game. Set the timer for 45 minutes, give each family member a chore, and go! When the buzzer rings, time's up. The one who did the best job wins. Watch how fast the house gets cleaned in the name of fun!

6. Order out. You can try your favorite carry out or order a complete, healthy dinner from Whole Foods, or some other full-service health food store.

7. Use paper plates. Make weekend meals the "paper-plate" specials. No dishes used. Period.

8. Cook ahead. During the workweek, double the recipe, freeze and save for weekend dining.

9. Turn off the tube. TV is the ultimate time-waster. After Saturday morning cartoons (you can't win them all), unplug the set, and live life.

10. Think like a Type-A person! Don't just prune the rose bushes, and then spend time with the kids. Do both at once. You get something done, and the kids get to spend time with you.

11. Head out. Get away from the house, no matter what it takes. Homes contain endless projects. Relax and have some fun -- the weekend is short!

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