That sinking feeling telling you the party’s over, and Monday’s on its way. You’ve still got some time – but you’re wasting it on dreading your early morning alarm, stressing about the work week ahead, and wishing you had used your weekend to its full potential.
When it comes to being strategic about your time off, a simple mindset shift could be the cure you’re after. Take on the mindset of the New Professional – someone who is inspired by learning, driven by change and is constantly seeking ways to upskill themselves.
If you’re ready to take back the weekend, here are four ways to use your weekends more strategically.
1. It starts with how you spend your Friday.
Think Fridays are your get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to slowing down on productivity in favour of procrastination? Think again. Here are three ways to revolutionise your next Friday:
- Start working earlier than you usually do. Decide on what you want to wrap up today, and schedule those tasks into your calendar. Use the morning to reflect on the week that’s past, and carefully plan out the one to come.
- Choose something to say no to. When you become more mindful of the time you have, it’s easier to focus your attention on the right detail and set healthy boundaries. That time-consuming project that won’t really move you closer to your top three goals this year? Cross it off the list.
- Whatever you do, don’t schedule any Monday deadlines. That’s the fastest route to a stressful Sunday.
2. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Most people shudder at the thought of planning out weekends. The result? Waking up 48 hours later, dragging yourself out bed, thinking “How is it already Monday, again?”
If you want to use your weekends better, you need to get clear on what that really means to you. When you know what energises and inspires you, you’ll find it easy to anchor your weekend around three or four meaningful, planned activities.
3. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
The less sentimental reality behind this somewhat clichéd career advice? When you turn something you love into a job, it fundamentally changes the way you engage with it. Work is called work because it isn’t play.
Yet, the world’s most successful people are those who are so intensely passionate about what they do that they manage to fit in a bit of work seven days a week. The gains they make while the rest of the world is sleeping the weekend away are what makes them great.
That doesn’t mean you have to approach your time off the same way you would a work day – it just means being more strategic in the way you use your weekends to advance both your personal and professional goals.
4. Using the ‘four-way win’ to optimise your down-time.
Stewart Friedman’s bestseller, Leading the Life You Want1, focuses on integrating the four key spheres of life: family, work, friends, and health. The four-way win is his challenge to busy professionals who want to have their cake and eat it too: how can you combine activities in each of the four areas you care about, to gain more fulfillment, in less time?
Need to get more exercise? Pair up with your partner or a friend. Brainstorming a creative project at work? Round up the kids and grab some finger paints to get those juices flowing. Need to pick up a new skill? Persuade a colleague to join you on an online course.
You’re ambitious – so you already know that getting ahead is less about work-life balance, and more about work-life integration. Get the most out of your weekends by applying the same thoughtful strategy you use to plan your work days and start reaping the rewards today.
So, to sum up how to use your weekends more strategically:
- Use Fridays to set yourself up for a strategic weekend
- Plan at least two or three meaningful weekend events in advance to make sure you maximise the time you’ve got
- Focus on projects that energise and inspire you, so that working on the weekends doesn’t feel like work
- Practice ‘four-way win’ thinking to change the way you approach your weekend activities
Use your free-time to sharpen your skills with an online short course.
Plan your weekends strategically.