“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Understandably, the weekend is a time when many workers focus on relaxation, family and fun. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that, but you can also think bigger. Instead of simply using the weekend for leisure time, there are things you can do ahead of time to help your next work week go more smoothly.
Unfortunately, we rarely appreciate the power habits can have in transforming our lives. Whether you’re new to habit-building or you’re an old hand, give these five weekend habits a try in order to set yourself up for a successful work week.
1. Get enough sleep.
Many times, we throw away our typical schedules on weekends - telling ourselves that staying out late or getting less sleep is “no problem” since it’s the weekend. But this habit sets you up for failure by making it hard to get up on schedule on Monday morning.
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but it’s rarely less than 6.5 to 7.5 hours. Studies show that too little sleep causes significant problems with brain function. Sleep deficiency causes trouble making decisions, controlling your mood and problem solving. Prolonged sleep deficiency can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
These negative effects keep your work week from being as productive as possible. The habit of keeping your sleep schedule regular on weekends will set you up to be much more successful at work in the coming week.
Related: This Is Your Brain on Not Enough Sleep (Infographic)
2. Make time for fun.
A weekend should be a break from work, not a continuation of it. Unfortunately, a 2010 study showed that one-third of US employees work additional hours on weekends (entrepreneurs and business owners are especially guilty of this work-related sin). Don’t do it! Take the weekend to relax, unwind and pursue your hobbies. Remember, Warren Buffett plays the ukulele in his spare time. If he’s got time for fun, so do you.
If leisure time is a foreign concept to you, try spending time playing with your children, doing an art project, enjoying time with a spouse, or just going for a walk in nature and taking in the birds and scenery. Do something you’ll enjoy. Make a habit of having fun on weekends to clear your mind and come back to the office feeling refreshed.
3. Give thanks
Many of the most successful people in the world make a habit of giving thanks. This is an especially good practice to incorporate on weekends if you’re dreading Monday morning.
Instead of hating the upcoming work week, make a habit of taking time on the weekend to be thankful for all of the good things in your life. Be grateful you have a job to go to (or a business to run), a place to live, a family and friends who love you, and much more. Write down in a special journal three to five specific things you’re grateful for, no matter how small. You’ll find making a habit of gratitude makes the upcoming work week easier to face and more enjoyable.
If you find yourself dragging at the start of the week, re-read your journal entries. The inspiration you’ll feel will help you return to work in a more successful, productive mindset.
Related: Express Gratitude for Where You Are Right Now, and Say It Out Loud
4. Look at the big picture.
Weekends are an important opportunity to step back and look at the big picture. How are things going in your personal and professional life? An unhurried Saturday or Sunday is a good time to reflect and plan for your future. Are you happy with your career? Is your family life all you hoped it would be? If not, what kind of changes do you need to make?
Get into the habit of reviewing your progress on monthly or yearly goals. Have you been able to workout three times a week? If not, how can you work it in this coming week? By tracking how your goals are progressing, you can make changes as needed for the upcoming work week. These big picture habits help you succeed in all areas of your life - work and otherwise.
5. Plan the week Sunday night.
Many people don't think about the work week until it’s upon them. That’s asking for trouble. It’s much better to think about and plan the week ahead on Sunday night than Monday morning.
This means planning everything from the outfit you’ll wear the next day to deciding who will pick up the kids and what’s for supper. Get kids in on the act by having them choose their school clothes and making sure they have everything they need in their backpacks ahead of time. This habit will save you a ton of headache on Monday morning, enabling you to be much more successful during the week.
Related: 7 Ways to Be More Productive on the Weekends
All of that said, the most important thing about these five tips is to make them habits. Habits - something we do all the time without thinking - are an essential way to save your brain power for more important decisions. When you habitually do all five of these things on the weekends, you’ll be set up for a successful work week, every week, without fail.