Notes from the leadership journey!

Category Archives: Self-Care

“What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend”

Laura Vanderkam has written a series of short books focusing on “what the most successful people do.” Yesterday, I wrote about the first book in the series (“What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast”). The second book focuses on non-workdays: What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend.

Now, weekends in our home are certainly not the traditional Saturday and Sunday weekend many people have. Since Joleen and I are both pastors, our weekends tend to be Friday, for the most part.

Vanderkam suggests that “you have to commit to taking time off–to keep a Sabbath of sorts, and carve out space for rest in a frenetic world.”

While the book isn’t specifically a religious book, the concept of Sabbath certainly fits well with Vanderkam’s approach to the weekend. According to the book of Genesis, God created the world in six days, then rested on the seventh, thus engaging in a day of rest.

Vanderkam argues that using the weekend well helps make the workweek more productive. She writes …

Success in a competitive world requires hitting Monday refreshed and ready to go. The only way to do that is to create weekends that rejuvenate you rather than exhaust or disappoint you.

But, rejuvenating weekends don’t just happen on their own, Vanderkam says. You have to be intentional.

Learning to create restorative weekends requires thinking about weekends differently that we’re used to … We need to be strategic with these hours.

Vanderkam offers two suggestions to improve your weekends: choose labors of a different sort and embrace anticipation.

Choosing labors of a different sort is like cross-training, she says. It “helps you avoid boredom and burnout and keeps up your zest for training.”

To help with anticipation, Vanderkam says …

Planning a few anchor events for a weekend guarantees you pleasure because–even if all goes wrong in the moment–you still will have derived some pleasure from the anticipation.

Vanderkam suggests minimizing the “have-to-dos” such as chores, children’s activities, and work that follows you home. She also encourages readers to keep a “tech Sabbath.” At the end of the weekend, Vanderkam encourages readers to “carve out at least a few minutes to plan the week ahead.”

Joleen and I have always tried to be intentional about taking a day off, though it’s not always easy. It’s taken us a while to feel less guilty about taking time off. Part of that may be due to the nature of our work (we’re always “on call”), and part of it may have been pressure from people who don’t see a need for pastors to take time off.

Having kids forces us to be even more intentional about taking time off, though. We simply have to carve out time to spend time together as a family. But clearly, this will always be a challenge for us!

Vanderkam wraps up the book, saying …

By treating the weekend part of one’s 168 hours as different and precious, you can recharge the batteries and hit Monday ready to go.

So, if you need help making the most of your weekends, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend is worth a look!

How Much Sleep Do You Get?

In recent months, I’ve been trying to improve my sleep. I just read an article by Tony Schwartz, Sleep is More Important Than Food, which is challenging me to be even more intentional. For most of my life, I’ve taken sleep for granted. When I was a kid, I thought sleep was a waste ofContinue →

I Am Not Invincible!

When I hit the wall several months ago, I remember reminding myself during a time of prayer, “I’m not invincible.” At the time, I was pushing it pretty hard, physically (doing 30,000 steps/day as part of a 21-day national Virgin HealthMiles challenge). And, basically, I had been living on adrenaline, because that’s the only wayContinue →

4 Practices of Sustainable Leadership

Recently, I read two articles on the Harvard Business Review blog: Fatigue Is Your Enemy and Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time. Tony Schwartz writes … Two years ago, I began hearing the phrase ‘It isn’t sustainable’ over and over from senior executives. They were talking about the everyday demands at work. The day ofContinue →

13 Factors That Influence Clergy Health

Health and well-being has been a focus of mine over the last several months (most recently, Hitting the Wall). Today, I read that three United Methodist general agencies joined forces to focus on clergy health. The result is a report on 13 Factors That Influence Clergy Health (PDF). The intro paragraph from the PDF statesContinue →

Choose “Next Time” Over “If Only”

Earlier this week, I blogged about the The Pain of Discipline vs. the Pain of Regret. The pain of discipline is future-oriented, while the pain of regret is past-oriented. Another way to think about it is with the two terms “next time” and if only” (this idea isn’t original with me; I just don’t rememberContinue →

The Pain of Discipline vs. the Pain of Regret

Yesterday, Gary Thompson posted on Twitter … The pain of discipline is not as great as the pain of regret. The statement both resonates with me and challenges me. In terms of taking care of your health, a similar idea is expressed in the statement, “Prevention is the best medicine.” Better to be disciplined onContinue →

Hitting the Wall

Recently, I wrote a post on Wayne Cordeiro’s book, Leading on Empty. Cordeiro writes, “Sooner or later every long-distance runner encounters the wall. Regardless of how well-trained the athlete, he will meet it one day, and he will meet it head on (34).” Well, I believe I hit the wall five months ago, on JuneContinue →

“Leading on Empty”

In 2006, Pastor Wayne Cordeiro gave a talk at the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit called, Dead Leader Running. The talk struck a chord with me, at the time, and Cordeiro’s experience has stuck with me. In fact, when my ordeal began 19 weeks ago today, it was one of the first things IContinue →

The Discipline of Replenishment

Recently, I reviewed one of Bill Hybels’ talks from the 2011 Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit. In the talk, Hybels mentions the “discipline of replenishment.” Because of where I’m at right now, the phrase struck a chord. Hybels says every leader needs to practice the discipline of replenishment. Otherwise, you’ll burn out. While thisContinue →