“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!

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