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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.

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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