We’re always told how we can make the most of the working week to achieve the success we want in our lives. But that still leaves two of the most important days of the week.

Our weekends are the time we’ve earned back after working hard all week, so we deserve to get the very best out of them.

Of course, obsessively strategizing every last minute of the weekend sucks the fun and spontaneity out of what should be relaxation time. However, there are still ways to make sure you’re not missing out. In fact, you can even make your weekend last longer.

It’s not just ensuring that you’re having the most fun possible. There are also positive effects on your output when you’re back in the rat race during the week too.

One study found that happiness makes people 12% more productive. So a weekend well-spent with family and friends will make you happier, even on a Monday morning, and therefore more productive.

Then there’s that dark temptation that occurs to all of us from time to time – working at the weekend.

When you’re overloaded with jobs during the week, surely it can’t hurt to catch up on a Saturday and Sunday to make sure you’re ahead of the game by Monday?

In reality, studies show that there’s very little benefit, with one finding that productivity was basically nil after a busy 55-hour working week, so don’t push yourself too hard.

Here are seven science-backed tips to help you make your weekend feel longer, so try these and see what benefits you start to notice:

How to Make Your Weekend Last Longer

1. Live in the moment

Being spontaneous is what weekends should be all about.

During the week you probably have the same routine day-in, day-out, which can be painfully monotonous. So you need to take advantage of having fewer obligations to live more in the moment.

The real advantage of this is that memories are actually stored in more detail when you’re doing something new or surprising. This will make it feel like you’ve done so much more with your weekend than if you stick to the same old routine.

2. Ditch your phones

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During the week you’re attached to your phone or tablet, whether it’s at work, watching Netflix on the train or scrolling through Instagram while watching TV in the evening.

That’s fine (it’s not really, but let’s be realistic here). But there’s no reason for you to keep on with this bad habit at the weekend too.

There’s a whole load of reasons why this is good for you. But the main one in this context is that people feel less hurried when away from smartphones and technology, so this will help you relax and make your weekend last longer.

3. Be mindful

Some of your weekend plans might involve a spot of mindlessness through the consumption of alcohol. Overall, practicing mindfulness can be a perfect way to make sure the rest of your weekend doesn’t fly past in a blur.

Dr Steve Taylor from Leeds Beckett University recommends it for making you more aware of your surroundings, which helps time feel like it’s slowing down.

It might not go as slowly as a Friday afternoon in the office, but doing something as simple as focusing on the flavors and textures of food as you chew it can help you savor your weekend and make it last longer.

4. Spin something good

However you like to listen to your music – Spotify, CDs, vinyl or even cassettes – there’s a proven scientific reason why you should spend some time at the weekend just chilling out and listening to it.

Neuroscientist Ilan Goldberg says that when you really focus on a song, you can make time stop because your prefrontal cortex closes down and puts you in a state of pure zen.

But you probably already knew that anyway if you’ve ever been to a really incredible gig.

5. Learn something new

Yeah, we know, the weekend should be for relaxing, not learning, but this can be done as simply as trying to cook a new meal you’ve never done before.

The important thing is that making your brain work harder doing something fun but new helps to make time feel like it’s slowing down. Whether it’s playing a new sport, trying a musical instrument for the first time or turning off the subtitles during a foreign movie, give your brain a challenge.

6. Get your game face on

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Competition is at the heart of so much of what we do during the week – whether we admit it openly or not – but it can also be an important and fun part of a successful weekend too.

Playing competitive sports is a great way to get the emotions running high. A study by the The Wellcome Trust found that you perceive time as longer when you see faces that are full of emotion rather than emotionless.

So that face screaming abuse at you over the tennis net after you serve up an ace will be really helping you out.

7. Watch a scary movie

If you want to make the weekend last longer, the best kind of movie night to have is one that involves a horror movie.

When we are scared, our amygdala becomes more active, storing more memories than usual, making it seem like it lasted longer.

These extra memories might not be helpful when they add some new details to your nightmares afterwards, but you’ll definitely have made your weekend last longer.

Our weekends should be precious times that we don’t let go to waste. It’s a time for friends and family and making memories, not for work or for scrolling through social media on our phones, so why not start to follow some of these tips to increase your productivity during the weekend?

You’ll never have to show up at work on a Monday morning again admitting that you can’t really remember what you did at the weekend because it all went by so fast.