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My whole weekend goes in playing computer games and watching movies. However, I would like to plan my weekend for better productivity so that I can for example work on hobby projects and improve their skills. However, I don't have a good idea of how I should plan my weekend. It feels like there is no incentive to it...

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yes actually i want to know how other programmers manage their time in weekends –  DD2 Sep 8 '11 at 18:53
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The FAQ restricts questions where the answer is provided and more answers are expected, you can read more at Good Subjective, Bad Subjective to understand why GTKY questions like these don't bring any value to anyone. As the answer I just gave you (and is listed in your question) solves your problem, then what is the actual problem that you have with the time management in your weekend? What have you tried? –  Tom Wijsman Sep 8 '11 at 18:57
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My time is NOT dedicated to playing video games and watching movies. So my tip would be, stop dedicating your time to playing games and watching movies.... –  James Sep 8 '11 at 19:49
    
The problem here runs deeper than just needing advice on what to do. There is a mental attitude of laziness that must be changed if you want to use your weekend to its fullest potential. You must desire to challenge yourself. –  Gaʀʀʏ Jun 19 '12 at 15:36

9 Answers 9

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Don't do that my friend!

What we can do for preventing your games & movie times in the weekend? It's 100% up to you. It doesn't matter if you are a programmer or not.

Let me say, do you have a to do list? Or is your to do list like this?

to do list

Of course you should play games & watching movies if you like. Do it sometimes, not every weekend. But these are not as important as improving yourself. Read articles about your jobs, listen professional people's podcasts, make some research about your business. And have fun with them.

You are a programmer and you try to plan your weekend. This is a sample plan:

  • 08.00 Wake up
  • 08.30 - 09.30 Make weekend sport (running mostly)
  • 09.30 - 10.30 Have breakfast
  • 10.30 - 11.30 Read newspaper or watch TV
  • 12.00 - 16.00 Go to cinema with your girlfriend
  • 16.00 - 18.00 Do something what you like
  • 18.00 - 19.00 Have dinner
  • 19.00 - 00.00 Do something for improving yourself (read articles, analyze examples, listen professional people's podcasts or watch presentations, search on Internet what you want to learn)

Because learning never stops.

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Just the last line is worth an up vote; quoting a lecture I followed that is applicable here: A professional software engineer will follow the technical evolutions on foot for the rest of his life. –  Tom Wijsman Sep 8 '11 at 21:39
    
thanks this would really help me –  DD2 Sep 9 '11 at 14:47

It is not necessary to plan out every minute of your weekend. It is highly impractical as things will usually come up that impede on your plan. Another approach is to think of what goals you want to accomplish this weekend. Create a list of things you expect yourself to do and hold yourself accountable for doing them.

Do's:

  • Create a list of reasonable (doable) goals you want to accomplish this weekend.
  • Keep the list on you or near your computer and in plain sight (so it is a constant reminder that you have more important things to do than play).
  • Try and formulate a schedule in your head of what part of the weekend you will work on what. (I.e. Practice guitar friday night. Read a novel Saturday morning. Go running saturday afternoon. Program Saturday night. etc)
  • Try turning your computer off. What can you do without it?
  • Exercise! Get ripped for beach season!

Don'ts:

  • Stay up very late just because it is the weekend
  • Sleep for more than 9 hours
  • Spend more than 15 minutes on social networking sites (per break)
  • Use junk food as an incentive to be productive. Unnecessary calories.
  • Overdo it. You have another week ahead of you to work. It is ok to relax a little!
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I find a key for my productivity on the weekend is to keep my sleep and exercise schedule consistent between the weekdays and the weekend. If you need to, I've found it's not terrible to stretch your bed time or awake time by a hour, but more than that, you will find it hard to get up and going at the start of the work week. After a few weeks/months of that, you will find yourself waking up ready to go usually before your alarm even goes off. With that energy plus exercise, I find it much easier to convince myself to be productive rather than slacking off all weekend.

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You can schedule your tasks that you want to accomplish during weekend and organize it depends on priority level. You can also set an estimated amount of time when working on each task that will limit wasted time. Your key in order to follow schedule and finish tasks on time is with discipline. At the end of the day you will feel the fulfillment on yourself that you get more things done throughout the day with less wasted time.

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I agree with Soner Gönül's answer. But for some(like me) a planned approach usually does not work. Life happens and i am forced to move away from the plan. At the end of the day I feel more awful for not sticking to my plan than if I didn't have a plan at all.

Instead I have a set of 5-6 must do items(including chores, self improvement, goals related tasks) for both days of the weekend. I do them right after breakfast. After I finish them(usually around afternoon...sometimes evening), I am free to spend the rest of my day however I want. Guilt free gaming!

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Don't plan anything. I've removed the words "TODO LIST" from my vocabulary.

As an ex-wow player (cough) addict (cough), I admit to wasting MANY weekends since the game was in beta back in 2004. I've replaced my "TODO" list with a "Quest" list. If I am interested in something that I find during the week but can't get to it, I just send myself an email with a header [Quest] and it gets filtered accordingly. My current quest list.

Does this mean I will do every "quest" on the list? Nope. I'll pick what interest me the most first and move on from there.

Why does it work for me? I check my email everyday from my computer or phone...almost as an addiction.

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A very interesting approach to managing your errands. It also gives you awesome one-liners; like if your roommate says "Take out the trash" you say back "Not now... I'm on a quest." +1 –  Gaʀʀʏ Jun 19 '12 at 15:25

You might just be working too hard during the week. Now that I'm older, I've got so much extra work to do during the week that I end up just completely wiped out by the weekend. I just don't have anything left to put into the hobbies/projects that I really want to. Hobbies, despite being fun, don't contribute towards the rest from work that we all need!

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Honestly I find the following works for me.

More energy = more productivity (work and home)

I got more energy by learning about my body and understanding that it's a machine like the ones I program. I learned about exercise and nutrition and frankly I have more time for every thing and more importantly, everyone now. Having a healthier mind also improved my relationships with family esp.

I just have more time to do things now as I tend to be active. I play computer games not to escape from stress any more. Do you think you do that (movies and games)?

So at the weekend I go on websites like this, run, play with the kids, program, sometimes work, watch movies, play sports whatever. I have time for all of them.

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When I'm not spending time with others, I have the most productive weekends when I get an idea in my mind around Wednesday of something I want to focus on for Saturday. For example, if I have a few days ahead of time thinking that "Saturday I will reorganize my file cabinet" or "Saturday I will go to the library and study macroeconomics", then when Saturday actually arrives, I jump in and start doing it as easily as I jump in and go to work Monday-Friday.

If I haven't had any such idea before Saturday morning, it's much easier to succumb to temptations like video games and (cough) spending my whole day on stackexchange.

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