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How Successful People Make The Best Use Of Their Weekends

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How Successful People Make The Best Use Of Their Weekends

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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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