Weekends are precious. Give or take, you’ve got 60 hours — and you need to make the most of them. While most of us spend our working week waiting for the weekend to arrive so that we can get on with the business of living, when Friday night rolls up it’s all too easy to let things fizzle out.

We spoke to time management expert Laura Vanderkam, author of titles including What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast . If your weekends fly by too fast, Laura believes that with a little planning, you can easily design weekends that are memorable, relaxing, and productive.

She’s given us her six top tips to help you make the most of your weekends — so that when Monday arrives, you’ll feel refreshed, on top of things, and fulfilled about what you’ve done in your time off.

This is not just about making this time more productive in the sense of getting a list of chores done, but making every hour of free time more enjoyable. After all, isn’t that the point of weekends in the first place?

Loading Slideshow...
  • Make A Plan

    “No, you don’t have to plan every minute, but coming up with three to five activities that you’d enjoy gives you something to look forward to and gives the weekend some structure,” advises <a href="http://www.lauravanderkam.com">Laura</a>. “Planning ahead also lets you figure out fun free things rather than spending more money than you intended just because everyone’s bored.”

  • Be Active

    Slobbing around and watching telly with the kids on the agenda? Think again. <a href="http://www.lauravanderkam.com">Vanderkam</a> recommends getting out and about: “Believe it or not, exercise is another great mood booster. A family bike ride or hike gets you outside and away from the TV for a while.”

  • Plan Sunday Nights

    Sunday nights are easily overlooked, unless you count panicking about going back to work as an activity. It’s important to make use of this dead time, says Vanderkam. “Plan something fun for Sunday nights. It extends the weekend and keeps you from succumbing to the Sunday night blues as you start thinking about Monday morning. A family game night or a visit to a friend’s house would work. “

  • Confine The Chores

    “Sure, sometimes you need to get some housework and errands done on the weekend. But don’t let it take over your time off,” says Vanderkam. “Choose one small block of time for cleaning and shopping and then if you find yourself looking at a dirty floor at some other point, you can tell yourself that there’s a time for chores... and now is not that time.”

  • Make The Most Of Children’s Activities

    Just because they’re having fun, it doesn’t me you can’t: “Yes, you may be shuttling a kid to music class, but can you then go for a walk with another parent of a kid in the class during that time? Can you read a fun novel in the car? Think through your own fulfilment as well as your kids.”

  • Try Not To Check Emails

    Employees who are switched on 24 hours a day, seven days a week are great in theory, but no one can maintain that kind of concentration. Make sure you create time to switch off the phone so that your mind can reboot, recommends Vanderkam: “There’s no point - and it just reminds you of work. Try to take a “tech Sabbath” -- a day away from your smart phone - in order to enjoy the world around you.”

  • Get Together With Friends

    “Humans are social creatures and research finds that getting together with friends makes people happier than most other activities. A potluck dinner or a walk with a friend can give you a great mood boost (for free).”