What did you do last weekend? If the answer is same old, same old--or even worse, you spent the weekend working--then it's time to make sure this weekend is different. Your brain needs rest, stimulation, social connection, and a break from your work routine in order to function at its best. So if you want to be really productive next week, and to do the best, most creative work you can, how you spend your weekend makes a big difference.

Here are some things you should make sure to do:

1. Disconnect from work for at least 24 hours. 

Even if you can't take the entire weekend off (I pretty much never can), make sure to have at least one whole day with no work in it at all. This is advice I had trouble following myself when I first got it from Jason Selk a few years ago. But I stuck with it and now I take at least one full day off every weekend because I see how much difference it makes. Three weeks ago I couldn't--I had gotten very behind on a big project and I had no choice but to work through the whole weekend. I'm still feeling the resulting productivity loss. 

If you need to or want to spend some time during the weekend planning and preparing for the coming week, that's fine. One smart entrepreneur I know has an agreement with his family that he will not work between Friday evening and Sunday noon--but then he spends Sunday evening getting primed for the week ahead. But make sure to take at least a 24-break.

2. Rest and relax.

If you don't get enough sleep during the week (a very bad idea, by the way), make sure you get all the sleep you need during the weekend. Even when you're awake, take some of your time off to do something you find completely relaxing. For me that could be taking a restorative yoga class or sprawling on the sofa with a couple episodes of Downton Abbey. Make sure to do something that works just as well for you.

3. Take your family skiing.

Do I mean that literally? Not quite. But here's what I do mean: You need to spend time with people you care about, which could be your close friends,  spouse, partner, or kids. You need to get exercise, you need to get outdoors, you need to do something you enjoy, and you need to do something that challenges you in some way. There's a broad range of activities that could combine all these needs; pick one that works for you. Extra points if it involves learning a new skill--a  known brain booster.

4. Read.

I don't just mean the reading you have to do anyway for work. Read things that expand your mind, deliver new ideas, or let you see the world from a different point of view. You could read a romance for pleasure. The more you vary your reading, the better off you'll be.

If you're one of those people who hates to read (even though you're reading right now), then find another way to stimulate your brain with new information and new ideas. This could be watching a documentary or going out to a concert or talk. The point is that your brain needs the nourishment that only new material can provide.

Do these simple things, and you'll get back to work on Monday with a new level of energy and engagement. Which means your weekend will have been very well spent.