Living With Intention/Work/Life Balance

6 Mini-Challenges To Help You Feel Productive & Awesome This Weekend

By | Friday, January 22, 2021

For the month of January, we’re exploring how to live with intention — how the small choices we make every day impact our lives and happiness in the long run. Click here to read more on this topic!

As part of my 30-day challenge to declutter my entire apartment, I spent the majority of last weekend cleaning and organizing. I went through my entire closet, cleared everything out from under my bed, cleaned out and donated a bunch of books, and even sorted through all of my old papers. Honestly, it was the most productive weekend I’ve had all year. A lot of the time, I put off things like putting my clothes away, or even just decluttering some area I’ve been putting off for months, because it feels like I have too much work to do. But last weekend, I managed to make substantial headway on cleaning out my apartment and get all my work done, not to mention have a fun Friday night out and polish off five episodes of The Night Of.

In an ideal world, all of my weekends would feel like this. I love feeling like I was able to take time to do things I really needed to — clean and get work done — and yet not deprive myself of happy hour and some much-desired time in front of the TV. Having a productive weekend, in my opinion, always feels like the best way to enter into the workweek.

I’m going to try and recreate that feeling this weekend as I continue to clean out my apartment. But after I’m done with this cleaning challenge (and hopefully never again have such a cluttered apartment that I need to take on such a big undertaking), I know I’ll need more concrete tasks in place to get me feeling more productive and better overall. I’ve been poking around the internet for a few other weekend challenge ideas to bookmark. Here are some of the best ones I’ve found. Pick one to help yourself get going this weekend — whatever that may mean to you!

1. Unfuck Your Weekend

I actually first heard of Unfuck Your Habitat thanks to a TFD commenter on one of my posts, and I’m kind of obsessed now. They have a great book out that I am definitely eyeing, but this challenge to Unfuck Your Weekend (aka clean and organize everything) in parts one and two is super straightforward, and reading it makes me want to already get started on my weekend cleaning: “You’re avoiding something. It might be an invisible corner. It might be a box of crap you need to deal with. It might be your junk drawer. Whatever it is that you’ve been relieved that none of the challenges so far have made you deal with, that’s what you’re dealing with for the next 20 minutes. Don’t lie to yourself. You’re putting something off, but now you have to go deal with it.”

2. Living Well, Spending Less Weekend Purge

While the Unfuck Your Habitat challenge is more about cleaning (like, literally cleaning out your grimy fridge), this challenge is a step-by-step guide to minimizing your shit in one weekend. One of the biggest takeaways, I think, is to go ahead and donate the things you’ve cleaned out and separated the same weekend you’re purging. I can attest to the importance of this, because until a trip to the Goodwill last week, I’d had two giant garbage bags full of clothes sitting in my one empty bedroom corner for lit-er-al months. Taking those and two giant tote bags of books to be donated last weekend felt *quite* awesome. This challenge is also a great one thanks to its specificity: “Set a timer for 90 minutes and go through the drawers and surfaces of your bedroom. Be sure to pull out anything stored under the bed and organize your drawers using the same guidelines as your closet. Finish up with a good dust and vacuum, and be sure to put any remaining items back into their proper homes.”

3. Keep It Moving Fitness Weekend Workout Challenge

Another great, productive thing you can do for yourself this weekend is to get a really awesome workout in. Most of my personal exercise comes from walking, weekday yoga breaks, and the occasional dance class, but I’ve been trying to work in more easy at-home strength training exercises (because I truly hate nothing more than the gym). I really like the idea of this exercise challenge I found on Pinterest, because it doesn’t require any extra equipment, yet still seems like you would get a good workout.

4. Freezer Cooking Challenge, Week 1

I’ll be honest — I have never been big on meal prep. I understand how it can help save time (and money), especially for people with lots of responsibilities, like busy parents. I just do really enjoy cooking during the week, and don’t find myself wanting to cook all of my meals ahead of time. That being said: If I had more leftovers in my life, I could seriously help cut down on my needless food delivery spending. I love the idea of this six-week challenge to fill your freezer full of pre-made meals, but since I’d only just be cooking for myself, one or two weeks’ worth of the meals would be plenty for me. Plus, the idea of having grab-and-go meals ready for myself in the freezer feels like an adult version of the Kid Cuisines I always begged my mom to buy in the grocery store (i.e. delightful). Also, Aileen’s post is great because she outlines the freezer cooking essentials I wouldn’t think of otherwise, like foil casserole pans.

5. No-Spending Weekend

No-spending weekends are something a lot of people do to save money, but they are a lot harder than they sound. This post from Centsibly Rich is awesome, because it outlines all of the things you could do to save money — a lot of which I never would have thought of otherwise, like literally building a fire. Saving during the weekend, where you’re more likely to spend on things like entertainment, is a great way to help yourself avoid going over-budget during the week.

6. Cash-Only Weekend

Of course, sometimes you simply have weekend plans, and it’s just not a good time to spend *no* money. If you take a specific amount of cash out, though, you are much more likely not to overspend — you can’t get another frozen margarita if you literally don’t have the money for one. This cash-only weekend challenge is part of the Time Money 30-Day Challenge to get financially in shape, and it gives a nice reminder of why we would do these somewhat difficult money challenges in the first place: “Call to mind why you started this endeavor in the first place — whether you’re saving for a new car, trying to pay down student loans, or just hoping to develop better money management habits. Hopefully, the progress you’ve made overhauling your finances and setting cash aside for your next major purchase will encourage you to stick to your money-saving guns for the rest of the month (and beyond that, too).”

(This post was originally published May 2017 and has since been updated)

Holly is the Managing Editor of The Financial Diet. Follow her on Twitter here, or send her your ideas at!

Image via Unsplash


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