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How Successful People Make The Best Use Of Their Weekends

How Successful People Make The Best Use Of Their Weekends
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That old Loverboy song “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” rings true for so many of us who give their all Monday through Friday, and just want to use Saturday and Sunday to catch up on some R&R. What a lot of us don’t realize is that spending Saturday and Sunday binge-watching Netflix or sleeping off hangovers is a complete waste of 2/7 of our life. The most successful people know that, even if they won’t be doing much “work” over the weekend, they still have to be productive if they want to stay ahead of the rest of the population. Rather than glue themselves to the couch watching reality TV all weekend, the hardest working among us choose to:

1. Plan

Successful individuals don’t go haphazardly into the weekend. They plan their day out just as they would any other. It might be a little more loosely-scheduled than a typical Tuesday, but with only so many hours in a week, successful people know they have to use all the free time they can get to accomplish the errands and tasks they need to accomplish. Without a plan, you’ll end up watching “just one more episode” of sitcom reruns before you realize it’s already 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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2. Get up early

Of course it feels good to sleep in, but it feels even better to have checked some tasks off your list before anyone else around you has gotten out of bed. It’s actually quite rejuvenating to get up and moving early on days you don’t have to. Starting your Saturday off by hitting the gym or reading a book will leave you feeling more refreshed than if you wasted an extra two or three hours laying in bed staring at the ceiling.

3. Unplug

In today’s busy, interconnected world, most of us never truly leave work at work. Our phones are likely connected to our email and Twitter accounts, meaning we can be bombarded with a work-related task even after the 5 p.m. whistle blows on Friday. But even the hardest working among us need time to let work go. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend, advocates taking a “tech Sabbath,” even for a couple hours over the weekend. Go fishing or hiking, visit a museum or library – and do so without your phone in your pocket. You’ll be amazed at how much more visceral the experience is.

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4. Exercise

During the week, you probably told yourself you were going to hit the gym at least once or twice. Then, life happened. While you can’t blame yourself for neglecting the gym because you needed to pick up your kids or your wife’s car broke down, the weekend is the perfect time to make up for lost opportunities. And if you can knock it off early in the day, doing so will absolutely kickstart your day and keep you motivated and moving throughout everything else you have planned for your time off.

5. Socialize

During the week, you may not have had time to eat dinner with your kids or take them out for ice cream. Don’t be that parent that’s so addicted to work that they neglect the people they are working to support. Plan fun activities to do as a family, and don’t forget about taking your spouse out for romantic dinner dates every once in a while. Make the time to meet up with friends and connect in more ways than just text messaging each other every few weeks. After all, what’s the point of life if you can’t enjoy it with the people you love?

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6. Follow passions and hobbies

Warren Buffet plays the ukelele. George W. Bush paints. Jay Leno is a car freak. Successful people use every minute of their free time doing something they love doing, because they know they’ll never get that time back. Even if your hobby requires hard work and dedication, if you’re passionate about it, you’ll still be relaxed and comfortable while working on it. Don’t waste precious time scrolling through Twitter when you could be learning a new song on piano. You never know when a simple hobby could turn into a life-long passion.

7. Embrace downtime and reflect

Of course, there are times you’ll need to sit quietly and let yourself just be. Career coach and author Roy Cohen believes meditating to be a great way to achieve peace of mind, while life coach Marsha Egan says most successful people use their downtime to reflect on their accomplishments, failures, and future plans.

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8. Prepare for the week ahead

There’s a reason many people wake up in a groggy panic every single Monday morning: They haven’t mentally prepare themselves for the work week. Especially if you’ve wasted the weekend and didn’t do all of the tasks you said you were going to “when you had the time,” Monday mornings can be an incredibly stressful time. But if you’ve used your weekend wisely, and you take some time Sunday night to analyze all the errands and jobs you need to do throughout the week, you can wake up on Monday feeling ready to take on whatever gets thrown at you.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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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)
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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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