Six of The Weekend Effect author Katrina Onstad’s favourite tips for claiming more downtime:

Lower your standards

Canadians are apt to spend their precious weekends catching up on the ignored domestic detritus of the week. If the budget won’t let you farm out those time-sucking tasks like cleaning and repairs, try getting the bulk of errands and chores done in small chunks on weeknights: think of a Wednesday grocery run or a Thursday vacuum session as investments in a free Saturday. Or, better yet, make peace with a little squalor and choose leisure over unattainable homemaker perfection.

Do good

Engaging in altruistic activities such as volunteering doesn’t just increase happiness and a sense of purpose: it buys you time. It sounds counter-intuitive, but research shows that people who give away their time to worthy causes feel like they have more of it (even if they don’t really). The reason? The power of “self-efficacy”: time is perceived as longer when you’re using it to accomplish something meaningful.

Release the pressure

You may feel like you have to make the most out of every minute to fill the void of going to an office every day, so it’s hard to say no to every fitness class and culinary road trip on offer. But overscheduled people find that their precious free time is drained by schlepping and over-performing. Be selective about the sign-ups: try one or two activities per season, and otherwise embrace nothing. New research shows show that boredom is good for you. In one recent study, subjects were asked to complete a boring task (like copying numbers out of a phone book) and then were given a test that required them to use creative problem-solving skills. The bored people exhibited more creativity than the non-bored who took the same test.

 

Make connections

For some people – including recent retirees and the casualties of downsizing – a sudden surplus of time can be an unexpected stressor, triggering feelings of loneliness. The fix: other people. Socializing makes us happier and healthier, and those with strong face-to-face networks might even live longer and stave off dementia more easily. Take a class. Meet a friend for coffee. Participate in community activities. Break the isolation and nurture those social bonds that are a pathway to longevity.

 

Play

Engaging in altruistic activities such as volunteering doesn’t just increase happiness and a sense of purpose: it buys you time. It sounds counter-intuitive, but research shows that people who give away their time to worthy causes feel like they have more of it (even if they don’t really). The reason? The power of “self-efficacy”: time is perceived as longer when you’re using it to accomplish something meaningful.

The Manufacturer's Life Insurance Company

© AMA, the CAA emblem and the AMA logo are trademarks owned by the Alberta Motor Association and the Canadian Automobile Association respectively.

® Manulife and the Block Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under licence.

© 2018 The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. All rights reserved.
Manulife, P.O. Box 670, Station Waterloo, Waterloo (Ontario) N2J 4B8