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How Successful People Make The Best Use Of Their Weekends

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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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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