Having a great weekend can be just as challenging as having a productive work week (if not more). Take a business strategy approach and win your weekends!
During the busy work week, we find ways to maximize our time and productivity. Personally, I enjoy the challenge of finding pockets of time amidst a packed schedule, and ways to tune out distractions in order to do my best work.
Ironically, the same dedication does not apply to my weekends.
I have struggled to achieve the illusive “unstructured weekend routine.”
Having no schedule and ample free time has left me feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to “start” my down time. Like the rest of us, I look forward to weekends as the optimal time to have fun and relieve stress, but haven’t consistently spent my time in a way that produced these results. (In other words, I’ve taken my work home with me, answered calls and emails that should be reserved for Monday morning, and stayed up late crunching numbers.)
So I decided:
Take a more strategic approach to weekends.
The goal: increase my enjoyment, relaxation, and regeneration.
After much experimentation and research, here are the best habits I have found maximize happiness and rejuvenation during those two days off the clock. Consider it a strategy just as you might use for your business and professional life.
- Avoid Work Email and Social Media
You will never gain perspective or fully experience life if you are constantly buried in email or scrolling through social media. The weekend is the perfect time to disconnect — avoiding all work email and social media. If this seems like a major step, consider implementing this for just one of your weekend days to start (Saturday has been the easiest day for me to apply this tactic). In general, I believe in minimizing technology on weekends, but not eliminating it altogether — for example, you might want to call or text people to make plans, email an old friend, or relax by watching a movie. All of these are perfectly acceptable.
- Spend Time with Friends and Family
Celebrate the end of the week in the company of friends and family. Social connection is the greatest predictor of happiness, and also vital to our health. Our close relationships can get pushed out of the busy work week, so it’s critical we make time for them on the weekends. Make it a point to get at least one social activity on the calendar each weekend. I’ve found it helpful to keep a list of people I’d like to see, then reference this list as I schedule social outings for upcoming weekends. Last-minute get togethers can be great too, but they might not happen if you don’t plan ahead.
If you do the same gym routine or morning jog every weekday, try mixing it up on Saturday and Sunday. Use the extra time to go for a longer hike, bike ride, or walk outside. It’s also great to go outside your comfort zone and try a spin class, skiing, tennis, or tai chi.
- Get Outside
It’s all too common to spend most of the week days inside and in front of a computer screen. Use the weekends to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air — if the weather is great or not. I’ve found my happiness is often proportional to the amount of time I spend outside. Track how many hours you spend outside on Saturday and Sunday, then see if you can increase this number each weekend. It will likely do wonders for your mood and outlook on life.
Do you have trouble focusing your day?
So does Actor Jay Jablonski of Bad Moms and The Big Short.
At least, he used to.
“Craig, I had to reach out because I feel like I owe you a true debt of gratitude. Your book, The Perfect Day Formula has and is changing my life for the better. I have ADHD and that causes a lot of challenges. It makes simple decision-making, planning, and execution nearly impossible at times,” Jay says. “I am full of determination and drive, but focusing has always been an uphill battle that has produced far more losses than wins. The PDF has been one of the greatest forms of assistance in creating a daily structure that is going to help me thrive. Your methods and messages are delivered in a way that even someone with severe ADHD can not only understand, but also retain and implement on a daily basis. I am so grateful for The Perfect Day Formula and for your friendship.“
- Enjoy Good Food and Drink
I love a great meal and glass of wine. Meals can sometimes be rushed on weekdays, so I like to slow it down and savor.
- Do What You Love to Do
This might seem obvious, but the extra time on weekends gives us the opportunity to do more of what we love to do. (And no, work doesn’t count.) I actually recommend the practice of writing out what you love to do (for me, this includes spending time with my wife and kids, traveling, watching sporting events, listening to music, reading, and writing). Whenever I need some inspiration, I just reference the list of things I love to do and start doing them. This list will be unique to every person, but spending more time doing what you love on the weekends will make for a very happy couple of days. And I find that this good feeling often lasts well into the workweek.
So there you have it — business strategy for non-business.
If this list seems daunting, just think about how many of these elements can be combined together. For example, you can enjoy a great meal in the company of friends, or make it a point to always exercise outside on the weekend. That’s our sharpened work multitasking skills at work!
Incorporate this weekend strategy into your life and make the most of your precious off days.