Do you eat at your desk? Do you have surplus leaves every year as you fear taking time off from work might cost you your job? Do your weekends feel the same as weekdays? Nodding your head in response to all these questions? Well, take heart for you are not alone in this – 41% of Americans are guilty of not using their paid leaves, let alone unpaid ones. It costs U.S. businesses a whopping USD 224 billion annually as a result of employees’ rolling over unused paid time off. This does not take into account the cost of stress and burnout employees suffer from being constantly overworked.
While the business scenario today demands agility, speed, and on-the spot execution, the one crucial thing that our productivity-crazed generation seems to miss is that ‘rest’ is imperative to delivering on all these aspects. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says “Your weekends need to feel different from your weekdays if you want to be successful”. Here are 5 tips to ensure restful weekends for a productive week ahead.
#1 Plan weekend activities ahead: Failing to plan your weekends will likely see you locked up in the house surfing TV channels mindlessly. Or worst, makes you want to check your work email constantly. Planning for fun activities that get the adrenaline pumping will refresh your energies and clear your mind of clutter. The anticipation that comes with planning makes us happier too.
#2 Create weekend traditions: Think Friday night pizza party, Saturday hiking, and Sunday Pancakes’ Breakfast. Well you don’t have to stick to these, but you get the point – creating weekend traditions makes for a happy time with family and friends and also makes you less likely to break them.
#3 Delegate what you can: Maximizing weekends is all about getting more ‘me’ time. Outsource your personal life by delegating non-core tasks such as grocery shopping, picking up the laundry, taking the pet for vaccination, and running other small errands to a virtual personal assistant at a fraction of the cost your time is worth. With these mundane but essential tasks sorted, you are up for the fun things on a weekend!
#4 Unplug: Taking a ‘technology sabbatical’ no matter how short-lived is a must for your brain. Make it a family ritual for everyone to take time off their smartphones, laptops, video games, and other personal electronic devices on weekends. Ariana Huffington, founder at HuffPost encourages employees to completely unplug and recharge during their time off from work – her team has created a vacation email tool, using which employees have the option of having all their emails automatically deleted or archived while they are away. Brilliant!
#5 Weekend naps are sacrosanct: Schedule afternoon nap time on weekends for yourself and your family, not just the kids, and then stick to it. Catching up on lost sleep hours from the week on a weekend is a proven way of giving your body its due. Short power naps leave you feeling energized to take on your personal to-do list with vigour, so come Monday you are all set to put your energies to work.
Truly relax so you can truly work
The energy you put in your work matters more than the hours you put into it. For effective energy management, you need to renew it well and frequently and that’s what weekends are meant for. So the next time you don’t have a weekend plan, remember you are missing the next career breakthrough.