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15 Productivity-Boosting Weekend Habits Of Successful People

15 Productivity-Boosting Weekend Habits Of Successful People

Once you start looking for it, you will find mounds of suggestions on steps you can take to become more successful. While much of this advice can be very useful, the focus is usually on activities to engage in during the work week. What about the other two days of the week? Are there things that successful people do on their weekends that make them more productive and more effective during the work week? Of course. Here are 15 common weekend habits of successful and productive people.

1. They step away from their electronics

Working away on your laptop can feel productive, but successful people know that they cannot recharge fully over the weekend if they are constantly connected to their devices. Because of this, they make a commitment to unplug completely for at least a few continuous hours on the weekends.

2. They engage in physical activity

There’s no better way to burn off the stress of the work week and rejuvenate oneself than taking an hour or two to engage in some physical activity. Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson credits his four additional hours of productivity each day to the fact that he works out regularly.

3. They pursue a hobby

Successful people, ranging from business mogul Warren Buffet to renowned actress Meryl Streep, have hobbies that they engage in on a regular basis. They do not only benefit from the immediate enjoyment they receive, they are investing in their greatest asset – themselves. Being a more well-rounded individual who takes the time to pursue interests is always a good thing.

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4. They spend time with loved ones

There is no greater motivator than spending time actively engaging with friends and family members. Successful people understand that in order to keep going, they must have a touchstone, and that is usually the people who love them the most. This means that time spent with loves ones is never time wasted.

5. They do some good

Gratitude is an attitude that is embedded in the minds of successful people. The natural result is that they are driven to give back. A free weekend afternoon or evening is a great time to volunteer in your community. Good for the mind and the soul.

6. They keep their minds engaged

The brain needs exercise just as much as the body. Lack of mental activity will result in atrophy, which is not conducive to success or productivity. Engaging in just an hour or so of mental activity, such as the Sunday morning crossword puzzle, is a great way for you to stay sharp and focused. So, next time you see someone working diligently on a crossword, remember that they are not just burning time, they are engaging their mind.

7. They do something productive

While it is a good idea to avoid filling your weekends with chores and other busywork, completing one or two meaningful projects each weekend is a great way to maintain a productive mindset while still leaving time for relaxation and enjoyment.

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8. They actively relax

No, that is not an oxymoron. Passive relaxation, such as internet surfing or watching TV, is enjoyable, but it doesn’t have the restorative benefits of active relaxation. Meditating or engaging in other relaxation techniques is a great way to truly rest on a physical and mental level.

9. They learn

Successful minds are constantly seeking new information and opportunities to learn things that don’t relate directly to the work that they do. Learning of any kind always increases the likelihood of inspiration. Free online learning is available through many popular websites, and the opportunities for you to learn new things is nearly limitless.

10. They do weekday prep

A successful day rarely starts with a hectic morning. This is why highly productive people take time during the weekend to get ready for the week ahead. Here are a few great tips for getting a jump start on the work week:

Prepare easy-to-heat-up or grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches.

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Plan your weekday wardrobe and arrange your closet accordingly.

Gas up your car and do the same for any other drivers.

Sign permission slips, put money on lunch accounts, and get everybody’s weekday itinerary.

11. They wake up at the same time

Sleeping in may feel wonderful in the moment, but it throws the body’s rhythms out of whack. This makes getting back on track during the work week even more difficult. Successful people avoid this because they know that those hours spent feeling groggy are never productive.

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12. They indulge themselves

People who spend the week accomplishing great things know that they deserve to proud of themselves. It’s OK to reward yourself once in a while. Don’t be afraid to enjoy a glass of fine wine, or to indulge in a mini-marathon of your favorite TV shows. Small pleasures give you something to look forward to during a stressful work week.

13. They schedule mini vacations

A one- or two-day trip with friends or family is a great way to get away from it all without extensive planning or cost. The benefit is time spent relaxing and enjoying some different scenery, and getting even further away from the office for a little while.

14. They make lists

Because the work week is often dominated by time spent on urgent tasks, it can be difficult to find time to plan for the future. Successful people take a few moments out of each weekend to write lists of future goals, and the actions they must take to achieve those goals.

15. They find new inspiration

Successful people have action steps that they incorporate into their daily lives. This helps them stay motivated as they work towards the next level of success. Sometimes these steps become a bit stale. Weekends are a great time to find new sources of motivation and new methods of personal development.

Many of the items on this list do not appear be work-related tasks at all — this is intentional. The point is to ensure that your weekend itinerary is a balance of enjoyment, mental and physical activity, planning ahead, and time spent with loved ones. Taking the steps to live a healthy and balanced life is key. These are the things that guarantee productivity and success all week long.

Featured photo credit: Beach Yoga by Kyle Lease via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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