We’d all like to have relaxing weekends, full of leisurely meals and visits with friends. And of course, taking time to recharge is good for us. But most entrepreneurs and business women — who have busy lives, pressing obligations and a desire to grow their businesses — simply don’t have time to check out for 48 straight hours each week. Here’s how to have fun, get refreshed and also be productive during the weekend.
Get your personal priorities straight.
It’s easy to let time slip away on the weekends. The volume of emails slows to a trickle; the phone isn’t ringing. It seems like you have all the time in the world to watch that movie you wanted or window shop. But we have to manage our leisure time the same way we shepherd our weekdays. What’s most important? If you love Grey’s Anatomy and desperately want to watch another season, that’s a great use of your time. But if you haven’t made a plan and flick on the show because there’s nothing better to do, it’s a missed opportunity. Instead, map out your weekend several days in advance. Where do you want to invest your time? If you haven’t seen your friends in a while, perhaps you should use those free hours to invite them for an afternoon cookout or go for a jog. If you need to reconnect with your partner, make dinner reservations and surprise him or her with an evening out. If you’ve been deliberate, when Monday morning rolls around, you’ll feel a lot better about what you’ve accomplished in your personal life.
Be clear on your professional goals.
Successful professionals often work seven days a week — partly because they love what they do and partly because that’s the time they need to invest to become great. (Stephen King, for instance, has discussed how he writes each and every morning.) Your family won’t be pleased if you treat the weekends as just another work day, plugging away at your laptop for 10 or 12 hours. But you can usually make time for a couple of key projects while others are occupied. Identify in advance what success will look like and when you can feel justified closing your computer and enjoying the rest of the day.
Even while he was working full-time as a corporate CEO, the well-known blogger Michael Hyatt would set aside time each Saturday morning to write three blog posts, creating his output for the week. What’s your metric for success this weekend? Maybe it’s completing an important proposal, reconciling your bank accounts or sending out invoices. Get clear on your top priorities, estimate as realistically as possible how much time they’ll take and then carve that out on your schedule.
Go for the “four-way win.”
In his new book Leading the Life You Want, Wharton School professor Stew Friedman identifies four key spheres of life: family, work, friends and community and health (mental and spiritual). He advises professionals to look for a “four-way win,” which is the quest for activities that help fulfill us on multiple levels (even if we can’t reach all four simultaneously). We only have so much time in the day, and we can’t do it all. But if we combine activities, we can fit more in. Want to work out? Invite your husband or boyfriend to join you. Need to attend an event for the charity you support? Try to get your friends involved, so you can maximize the impact and socialize with them, too. Getting creative about blending these aspects of your life can help ensure you have more time to spend on the things you care about.
Successful professionals don’t have the luxury of wasting time – even “leisure time” on weekends. If you’re strategic about how you invest, you’ll feel great every Sunday evening as you get ready for the week ahead.
This article was originally published in Entrepreneur.