The secret to success is a weekend well spent.
When you think of someone successful, how do you imagine their weekend? Do you think they work hard through the whole two days? Would you even think they’d consider enjoying some fun with friends or curling up with a good book? What would you do?
Apparently, successful business people have specific habits that they engage in on a weekend. Similar to their weekday work ethic, successful people grasp onto routines and rituals to bring meaning and purpose to their time off. So, what does this mean? More work or more play?
Sujan Patel from Forbes led an investigation to find out how successful people send their weekends:
There are many stories of city-workers suffering from stress, anxiety and exhaustion. Many working into the night after coming in early to keep atop of workload and securing new business. Susan Patel spoke to Arianna Huffington who actually collapsed at her desk with exhaustion; Huffington has since found that her performance has improved as the result of taking periodic time off to unplug, disconnect, and give herself space to think. In fact, she’s said that, if she had known what she knows now as a younger person, she would have been just as successful – just with less stress, worry, and anxiety.
Plenty of other successful business people have discovered the same thing, which is why they generally try to allot at least some time on the weekends when they can be fully removed from their work. Instead, they focus on family, friends, creative pursuits, and hobbies. When they return to work on Monday, they’re relaxed and ready to dive into their work. Burning out is not a necessary price for success.
How to do it yourself: Instead of telling yourself that you have to be productive at every moment possible during the weekend, try turning off your laptop and putting your phone on silent for an hour or two to start. Spend that time doing things you love, with the people you love. As you’re able to, slowly increase the amount of time you spent unplugged until you’re able to spend an entire day (or an entire weekend) tech-free. Trust me, you’ll feel the benefits right away.
They Have Fun Outings They Planned During the Week
Studies show that a significant portion of human happiness is based on anticipation, even more so than actually doing the anticipated event. When you plan a great outing for the weekend, you’ll likely find that you feel better about the days leading up to it as you anticipate the joy to come. Not only do successful business people enjoy their weekend activities, they enjoy the anticipation leading up to them.
Of course, you can go too far with this – you don’t want to force yourself through each day with only the thought of the weekend keeping you going. But if you’re in a reasonably happy place with your career and work, planning a great weekend outing can improve your weekend and your work week.
How to do it yourself: Now that you’ve set aside at least a few hours of unplugged weekend time, brainstorm a few ideas of the best ways you can think of to spend it. If you’ve got enough time for a day trip somewhere fun, put that at the top of your list. But even if you’ve only got an hour or two, think of what would make you happiest during that time. Pick your favorite and let yourself look forward to the activity as you get closer and closer to the weekend.
They Take Advantage of the Last 15 Hours
Is it just me, or does work stress sometimes steal all of Sunday from 3:00 pm onward? If you’re taking time for yourself, Saturday feels great, and Sunday morning feels fun. But then the clock starts ticking, and you begin to realize that every moment is leading you closer and closer to another busy week.
Successful business people not only find and do work they love (so that their Mondays aren’t stressful, but are – instead – a chance to get back to the things they enjoy), they take advantage of that last 15 hours before Monday morning. They don’t let anxiety or stress take away the joy of having a great Sunday night.
How to do it yourself: Surprisingly, you may find that Sunday night is a great time to entertain. Many people make plans on Fridays and Saturdays, but are generally free right before the new work week. As long as your party or event is responsible and doesn’t run too late, many of your friends will be eager to take you up on a chance to have fun during the waning hours of the weekend.
They Practice Different Skills
While weekends are a great time to play and relax, they’re also a good time to hone skills that you don’t have time for during the week. Hobbies can be a great way to engage your mind in a different way, while also giving you an opportunity to meet new people and connect in a low-key, non-business environment.
Successful business people have a wide variety of hobbies. Richard Branson loves to kiteboard, Warren Buffett plays the ukulele and also loves online bridge, and Indian billionaire Anil Ambani runs marathons. Oracle’s Larry Ellison loves to race sailboats, and I love to skydive. Whatever your chosen hobby may be, a chance to practice a different skill on weekends sharpens the mind and helps you think more clearly when you return to work.
How to do it yourself: This one isn’t complicated. Find a hobby you love, then go out and do it. And don’t tell me you don’t have enough time. If billionaires like Richard Branson and Warren Buffett – both of whom are still actively running successful companies instead of sitting back and resting on their money – can find the time to invest in the hobbies they love, so can you.
They Plan for Monday
They say that failing to plan is planning to fail, and successful business people know that applies to their work week as much as anything. Taking some time – not all Sunday afternoon, of course – to plan for Monday can make the work week much less stressful and set you up for success.
How to do it yourself: If possible, try to do the bulk of your weekly planning on Friday afternoons so that you can hit the ground running on Monday without taking up too much of your precious weekend time. But then, find a few minutes on Sunday to review your top priorities for Monday and to handle any tasks needed to make you as efficient as possible when you get there. If, for example, you find it helpful to prepare meals ahead of time or pack your gym back in advance for your Monday workout, that’s a great use of your weekend time.
Ultimately, the way you spend your weekends plays a huge role in how you’ll approach your work week. The tips above can help set you on the right course, but it’s up to you to ask yourself the tough question: can you commit to using your time in a way that rests and recharges you, or will you continue to buy into the hype of the 80-90 hour, weekend-encompassing schedule?
How to list written by: Sujan Patel / Forbes