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Nkem Offonabo: How to Maximize Your Weekends When You Have a Full Time Job



Are you experiencing a burnout trying to integrate your occupational realities with your personal aspirations?
Do you look forward to the weekend with every excitement, but you suddenly find yourself overwhelmed and unfulfilled by Sunday night?
With all of the planned personal activities that struggle for your attention: starting your own business, completing a professional course, visiting a dear family member, attending a networking program or simply taking the kids out to the park –  yet you find yourself trapped in that dead-end day job.

A large number of us may never get to work virtually, because such virtual offices or workplace hardly exist in this part of the world.

How do I become more productive in achieving my personal goals with a day job?
This happens to be the most difficult question to answer, especially when you have a demanding job that consumes all your energy, time – depriving you of happiness and productivity.

At this point, you are ready to quit the job that you tolerate… in order to pursue the perceived freedom that your dream work will offer. Rethink such hasty decisions. It is possible to live a healthy, happy and successful life while keeping a day job. It doesn’t involve quitting.

Below are a few, fun, practical tips that will inspire you to rethink your weekends and start your work week refreshed, renewed, and on track.

Schedule your weekend
Planning and Time Management are important skills for professionals looking at maximizing their weekends and creating time for other fun personal activities. With a busy work week and overwhelming schedules, it is very easy to get distracted when there is no weekend plan made.

Before now, I used to always look forward to the weekend just to do absolutely “nothing”; but with the 60 hours between 6 p.m. Friday ‘happy hour’,  and 6 a.m. Monday alarm clock, I still end up wondering where the time flew to. I felt unfulfilled, until I discovered the secret to planning great activities for the weekend.

Your weekend schedule does not have to look like a weekday. Organise activities that will help you bond with your family, an opportunity to rest and/or stimulate your mental capabilities such as, a family gateway, hotel stay or simply to finish a book. Just like a vacation, a sketch of one to three activities will have you looking forward to your weekend in anticipation.

Do something active
As a busy professional, while balancing a demanding career with personal or family needs, you may find that your health is being overlooked. No matter how demanding your work is, sedentary is probably the last word you would use to describe your lifestyle, because of the many risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle such as high blood pressure (HBP) and other heart related issues.
Forward looking organizations have incorporated exercise into their workplace health and wellness program by creating gym facility within the organization or signing up their employees to privately owned outfits to improve their lifestyle.

A case in hand is Google’s new ultra-modern London HQ with built-in fitness facility. What you actually need is the ability to integrate some form of exercise routine into your work cycle. Active professionals can testify that exercise creates the perfect atmosphere for creative thinking and the best ideas spring out while you are out there in the field. If you cannot find the time in your daily work routine for workouts, weekends are great for such personal pursuits.

For starters, because I know that a lot of people struggle to kick-start an exercise regime, I would suggest a mini-exercise as simple as a stress ball or a dumbbell to exercise the muscles of your hand and relieve stress is a great starter pack and can be purchased from any online shop. You can then migrate to brisk walking within your neighborhood, buy a treadmill for home use or join a fitness class for that extra motivation. Start where you are!

Do something different
Weekends may be the only time for you to focus on your personal development and other interests outside of your work. Studies have shown that successful CEO’s spend the weekend pursuing their passion and hobbies. The list goes from Painting for George W Bush, Kite boarding for Richard Branson, knitting for Meryl Streep and Sailing for Larry Ellison.

Instead of ending up indoors and unproductive, leave your comfort zone and try something different: go on a date, see a movie, play games with your kids, attend lifestyle events, register for a training or academic course, engage in volunteer services, attend a salsa class or take a weekend trip.

There are loads of benefit from focusing on other interests of yours; you get to learn new skills, meet like-minded persons, become more creative and ultimately improve your network and net-worth.

Delegate household chores
Delegation is one of the simplest management tool for any professional and delegating household chores helps in preventing unnecessary burn-out when such chores are being handled by an individual.

As a busy professional, taking up household work will have your weekend looking like a workweek and you will definitely be exhausted at the end instead, get your spouse and children involved to promote responsibility and quality family time.

You can also employ the services of paid or outsourced domestic staff to perform such weekly chores like grocery shopping, meal preparation, cleaning of the house, doing the laundry, etc. while you find the time to relax, pamper yourself and bond with your family.

Get enough sleep
Weekends are the best time to unplug completely from work-related schedules or deadlines including the ever-consuming social media activities. Since your energy was consumed during the week with lots of brainstorming and strategizing, there is need to focus on recuperation by getting enough sleep at night and intermittent naps at mid-day during the weekend.

Because our week days are usually planned (sleep early, wake up early, get dressed, head to work, etc.), we tend to let our guards down during weekend by either staying up too late to watch a movie, catch up on trending gist on social media or go partying all night. By doing so, we distort or break our sleep pattern which usually results to extra burnout, inability to fall asleep on Sunday night and an eventual tired Monday.

Getting enough sleep and sticking to a healthy sleep pattern during the weekend is beneficial to your health and productivity.

Plan for the week ahead
Successful people know the importance of shifting gears on the weekend to relaxing and rejuvenating activities.

Like Spencer Rascoff (co-founder of and CEO of Zillow), they use their weekends to create a better week ahead. A planned, fun and restful weekend takes away all the Sunday night blues that beclouds every busy professional.

Sunday is the perfect day to reflect and review your past week – its highs and lows, areas that need improvement, setting up new goals and how to achieve them. Your master plan for the new week should include goals for your work and personal life; that way there is synergy and productivity. When you are done working on your psyche, do remember to schedule your outfits for the entire week, looking good is a great confidence booster.

You may never be able to balance life anyway, but what makes a truly productive and happy life is the ability to integrate work and personal life and weekend offers the opportunity to make such great investments.

If you’re a busy professional, share more tips or tricks on maximising your weekend.

Photo Credit: Viacheslav Iacobchuk |

Nkem Offonabo is a graduate in Psychology and holds a SEMP (Special Executive Management Programme) MBA from Metropolitan School of Business and Management, United Kingdom. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHRi®) and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (ACIPM) with over 10 years' work experience that cuts across Human Resource Management, Product and Business Development in the Financial Services Industry. Nkem is a trained Life Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Professional. She is the acclaimed Africa’s No.1 Work-Life Balance Coach and Founder of The Work-Life Organisation Global Ltd, a Professional Coaching and Human Resources Management Consultancy. She works with individuals and organisations to provide coaching and training on employee wellness, work-life harmony, personal and organisational effectiveness as well as Human Resource Advisory Services. She is the convener of Work-Life Conversation, a highly sought-after group coaching community of working professionals and entrepreneurs. She has been featured on The Pink Network – 'Woman 2 Watch', She Leads Africa and Plus TV Africa. She was recognised as one of the Top 50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria by Leading Ladies Africa (2020 edition). To contact her, please visit her website on or send an email to [email protected] or via: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter @theworklifeorg


  1. Ify Achonye

    July 10, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    This piece of inspiration is a timely discovery for me.i have been caught in that web of exhaustion at the end of my weekends or off days. Most times I end up feeling guilty of not being able to properly manage my time properly…the good news is am resolving to make the best out of it. Thanks Nnem.

    • Nkem Offonabo

      July 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Hi Ify, the secret to a productive weekend is planning and prioritization. I am glad you are consciously working out what suits you and your family in terms of rest and relaxation.

  2. chizoba okoroji

    July 14, 2017 at 8:07 am

    My weekend starts on sunday,I guess am used to that because that’s the only day I can truly chill and relax. Nice write up.

    • Nkem Offonabo

      August 4, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      It is pretty same here but even in your busyness, you should create time for the things that truly matters to you aside work.

  3. Tony

    September 2, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Nice article . I try and make out time during my tight schedules at work to tidy up some personal stuff relating to my passion . U really do rest well during wknds, sometimes it affects my social life .

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