I took a couple of days off of work and had an extra-long holiday weekend. It was a last minute decision and since I had no pressing deadlines at work I went for it and I loved every minute of it. While I really needed some time to de-compress from the craziness over the past couple of months I also knew going into this stay-cation that I wanted it to be productive AND relaxing. And yes, it is really possible. I had a to-do list of enhancements, if you will, I have been wanting to make to my living area and my bedroom, I have also been itching to get back in to the swing of things to make candles, I had a few to-do’s on the candle packaging front and I also wanted to binge on some Netflix (btw I watched the entire season of Stranger Things in a matter of two days!) and watch a movie or two.

In order to do the things I needed to do and squeeze in the things I wanted to do and not feel stressed out in the process I had to remind myself of some time management tips and tricks I turn to during times like these:

1 – prioritize your list

Write down all of the things you need to do and the things you want to do. Then go through and prioritize them. My list has two columns a “need to do” and a “want to do”. This helps me separate the two types of to do’s because at times I get stressed out over things I believe I need to do when in reality I don’t have to do them, I just want to – and that makes a huge difference.

2 – complete the most important ones first

Now that you have your prioritized things to do, you need to pick 2-3* that you want to accomplish that day. For the most part I try to tackle my “need to do” first but the change I made this time around is that for every three “need to do’s” on my list I included a want to do.

*This was the hardest part for me – picking 2-3 tasks a day is hard since I always feel like I want to tackle them all at once.

3 – check them off as you go

This may seem trivial but checking things off really helps seeing the progress you have made and will also give you that little boost you need to keep the momentum going.

4 – think of ways you can multi-task

There are instances when multi-tasking can actually be relaxing. For example, one of the things I really wanted to do was lay back and watch a movie with Nina (my four-legged best friend) by my side but I also had a couple of loads of laundry that needed to get done. So I watched the movie in 20-30 minute increments while the loads were either washing or drying.

5 – its okay to say no

This is one of those things that I always tell myself but when the time comes to implement I fold 95% of the time. But this weekend I did it! I was asked to help out with something this weekend and I just knew that I already had things lined up to do and I almost agreed but resisted and declined the invitation. And of course, I felt guilty but it was during this time that I was able to get a few things off of my “want to do” list and it felt great! At the end of the day I did not feel as bad for saying no (only a little bad) because they were able to figure it out without me.

All in all, it was a productive and relaxing weekend. Even though I did not get though everything on my list I made a significant progress and it feels sooo good. On that note, one of the things I really want to do is re-upholster a DIY headboard I made a couple of years back – I’m thinking of documenting that process and making a blog post out of it :) .

How do you manage your to do list? Share your own tips and tricks below!