When you’re trying to build a successful career, you’re likely to be tempted to spend your weekends trying to fit in extra work, job hunting or studying. However, research has shown that we need our weekends to have a break from our busy lives, not just for our health and sanity, but also because it helps us be more productive during the week by making us happier and more creative.

So if you want to be 12% more productive and 50% more creative, you need to be making sure your weekend is packed full of activities that give your brain both the time to relax and to be inspired. Instead of having a weekend that you can barely remember, be creating memories of new experiences and emotions, and to help you achieve this, this infographic shares a series of tips backed by scientific research to make your weekend last longer:

1) Just Do It

Spontaneity is great brain fuel, because we store more details in our memories when we’re doing something new or surprising. So instead of getting stuck in the same old weekend routine, get out there and do something completely different on the spur of the moment. Your brain will thank you for it.

2) Switch Your Phone Off

Spending five days a week attached to our smartphones and emails and social media is quite enough, with the effect that we constantly feel hurried. That’s the last thing you need at the weekend, so leave your phone behind or at least turn it off so that you’re no longer at its beck and call.

3) Try Being Mindful

If you want to avoid seeing Saturday and Sunday flash past your eyes in no time at all, you need to slow things down and the best way to do this is to live in the moment. Practicing mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean sitting with your legs crossed chanting, it can be as simple as focusing on washing the dishes or chewing your food.

4) Listening To Music

Another good way to get into a zen frame of mind is to sit back, put on your favorite music and just listen to it. That might be spinning a disc on a record player or plugging into Spotify, but whatever you choose, just let your mind wander and let your prefrontal cortex close down, giving you a feeling of time coming to a stop.

5) Try Something New

You can slow time down by doing something as simple as listening to music, but you can also have a similar effect by giving your brain something to do, especially if it’s something new. Learning a new skill – something fun like cookery or a sporting activity – makes your brain work harder which means you feel like more time has passed.

6) Get Competitive

A surprising piece of research found that you can make time feel like it’s gone more slowly by looking at faces that are full of emotion, rather than emotionless ones. Playing a competitive sport is a good way to make emotions run high and to have a great time in the process, so this is something to try and include in your weekends.

7) Get Scared

Watching movies is always a fun activity at the weekend, but did you know that the type of movie you watch can have an impact on how long your weekend actually feels like it lasted? Studies have shown that when we are scared, our brains record store extra memories because the amygdala becomes much more active, so a good horror movie is definitely the best way to go if you want to have had a weekend to remember.

None of these tips are difficult to try and they will not only help you feel like your weekend has lasted longer, but make you more productive and more creative too, so why not start trying them out?

Written By
John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. He is a digital nomad specialised in leadership, digital media and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.Linkedin Twitter