2 September 2022

“I’ll finish that over the weekend”

Happy Friday Luv,

This single sentence has become a one-size-fits-all solution when we are unable to complete a project, respond to e-mails, or simply cross items off our to-do lists during the week.

And, while it is true that you can potentially get some work done over the weekend (especially if you are frequently interrupted and find the weekends to be a rare oasis of focus), it may not be in your best interest to never take a break from work. If you don’t take some time off every weekend to relax guilt-free, you’re setting yourself up for resentment of your job and eventual burnout.

If you want to enjoy the advantages of weekend time off, you must invest your time wisely during the week. Waiting until Friday to determine if you’ll be required to work Saturday and Sunday will only set you up for another hectic weekend. Plan your vacation time by following some simple guidelines at the start of the week.

First, make a work schedule. If you look at your weekly calendar and see no free time between meetings to work on a project that needs to be completed, it’s unrealistic to think you’ll just “squeeze it in somewhere.” Anything requiring complex thought will take at least 30 minutes, if not more, to complete.

Instead of hoping that time will magically appear in your schedule, make room for it by declining meeting invitations, rescheduling others for later, or coming in earlier or working later during the week. Then, in your calendar, assign projects to these free periods and mark them as busy so that no one else can schedule a meeting during them.

I’ve discovered some huge benefits to taking weekends off:

Rest and recuperation: We are human beings, not machines. Our bodies, minds, and spirits were designed to function in cycles of work, rest, and sleep. When you live a sustainable lifestyle, you can be productive all week, but it’s still important to have a day or two off from work. This not only relaxes your mind and body, but it also provides you with the priceless gift of perspective. Issues that seemed overwhelming on Friday afternoon are usually much easier to handle on Monday because you’re in a better frame of mind to deal with them.

Being present: You can never truly relax if you have a vague sense that you should work over the weekend but haven’t clearly defined when you are on and off. You have a nagging guilt that you should be finishing a work task instead of watching a movie or spending time with your family. When you work, you feel as if you are neglecting your family or missing out on something enjoyable.

With the commitment to work on weekends but no guidelines for when to do so, you’re constantly pulled in different directions. But if you’ve made it clear that you’re not going to work over the weekend—or at least not during certain parts of the weekend—you’ll be able to relax.

Connection: Yes, almost everyone has a busy season where they must work a few weekends. However, if you make it a habit to work every Saturday and Sunday, you will be less likely to make commitments to the important people in your life—and they will be less likely to invite you to get together because you are “always busy.”

By consistently making time on weekends to connect with friends and family, you increase your chances of forming, maintaining, and deepening meaningful relationships.

Making Progress: Have you ever wondered why your closet is never organized, you always have a stack of items to mail, and you always file your taxes at the last minute? Because you’re always planning to work, you may not leave enough time in your schedule to get anything done at home. When you make time in your schedule to focus on personal tasks, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish for yourself in a weekend—and how much better you’ll feel overall.

When you find yourself thinking, “I’ll get this done over the weekend,” stop and ask yourself, “What can I do so that I don’t have to work on the weekend?” You’ll find your work—and your time—much more fulfilling.

Have a great weekend!

Jeanetta Cardine

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