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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 April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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