What do super successful people have in common? Drive? Impressive accomplishments? Influence? Yes, yes, and yes, but they also share a surprising number of weekend habits.
They don’t simply maximize their hours while they’re at work, high-achievers also use their “days off” to supercharge themselves. And you can adopt the same habits and be more productive and happy, too. Here are five ways to maximize this time, inspired by some of the most successful people around.
1. Pursue a Passion
Would you believe that former U.S. President George W. Bush is an avid painter, that three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep knits for leisure, or that billionaire investor Warren Buffett plays the ukulele in his spare time?
You’re more than just a cog in a machine: You have interests and passions. Cultivating a hobby is a fantastic way to unwind after a long week, whether you’re playing a sport, pursuing photography, or even scrapbooking. But this is about more than unwinding; engaging in side projects and creative hobbies can result in enhanced work performanceby way of encouraging creative thinking to solve work-related problems. Bottom line: don’t feel guilty about making time for your hobbies.
Arianna Huffington makes it clear to employees that she doesn’t expect them to answer emails on weekends or while on vacation. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, spends his Saturdays hiking. On Sundays he focuses on “reflection, feedback, [and] strategy.” This is what allows him to be super-focused come Monday.
As worthwhile as technology is, being connected to your inbox 24/7 prevents you from enjoying a badly needed separation from work, which could eventually lead to burnout. If you feel like you’re answering emails around the clock, check in with yourself and see if you can change your usage habits. If the pressure is external and you think your boss always expects you to be available, check out Muse Career Coach Melody Wilding’s advice for discussing work-life balance with your workaholic boss.
3. Spend Time With Family and Friends
President Barack Obama makes the most of his free time with his two daughters Malia and Sasha. Billionaire Mark Cuban may be a shark on TV, but switches to Dad mode at home with his wife and two daughters.
Even if you don’t have kids, you can apply the same principle, which is that you carve out time where you’re focused on your loved ones. Maybe you work too many hours during the week to check in on your relationships: The weekend is the perfect opportunity to meet for a meal or a walk, or schedule a phone call. This’ll help you be less resentful come Monday, because you won’t feel like work comes first seven days a week.
4. Take a Nap
However, not all bosses are on board with it, so you may have to forgo a nap Monday through Friday. Plan on taking one on the weekends, just don’t spend all afternoon in bed. Short power naps of no longer than 20 minutes leave you feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to accomplish your personal to-do list, so you can focus on work come Monday.
The super successful find time to give back. Maybe you can’t Monday through Friday, but that’s OK. Sites like volunteermatch.org will let you sort local opportunities for days of the week so you can find one for a Saturday or Sunday. It turns out that acts of altruism have tangible positive effects on the giver. Helping those in need helps you keep things in perspective. Studies have found that people who volunteer in their communities display increased growth and personal well-being.
The next time you decide to spend your weekend watching mindless TV, remember that time can be the stepping stone to the next breakthrough for yourself and your career.
By Janet Miller
The author is a serial entrepreneur, reformed workaholic and co-founder of Jen Reviews. She writes about habits and entrepreneurship and has been featured on Fast Company, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen. Connect with her on Twitter @janetmiller168 or LinkedIn.