A wise friend once told me that the quality of your Sunday is a barometer of how fulfilled you are in life. He was not referring to religious faith — or to the importance of Sunday newspapers such as this one. Rather, he believed that how you spend the day of rest shows whether you have work and leisure in balance.
A new book, The Weekend Effect, written by Katrina Onstad, makes the case for purposeful pursuits on Saturdays and Sundays, rather than pure idleness. She also says that work must not be allowed to colonise weekends, because recreation matters.
Do you ever switch off on the weekend? We mean really switch off. We’re guessing the answer is probably no. It seems that the days of Saturday and Sunday being ‘family time’ and work free days have long gone, and to be honest most of us wouldn’t remember a time when working weekends wasn’t the norm for many career paths.
Regardless of your job, it is generally recognised that employees are entitled to two full days off a week, whether that be the actual ‘weekend’ or other designated days. Sadly, the work/life balance is often leaning too far towards the work side and we are finding ourselves blurring the lines and working on our days off. Even if you work for yourself, you’re not immune from this – in fact you’re probably one of the worst offenders!
You will be MORE productive if you work less
A Harvard study (and many other similar studies) has found that working more hours does not make you more productive in the long run. You are more likely to make mistakes, have accidents and spend time on tasks which are unimportant. In fact the study confirmed that having predictable time off (like weekends and holidays) actually made people MORE productive.
Family time is important too
There’s no doubt that family time is one of the main sacrifices that we make when working longer hours, and even if we are at home we are still contactable via so many methods. We lead such busy lifestyles, our children too, that the little time we do get for quality family time should be cherished. Emails will wait, phone calls can be returned and that report will still be there on Monday. Switch off your devices and head out to the park with the kids!
We need to distance ourselves from work
Traditionally work ended as we left the building, but now we carry work with us everywhere we go. It’s so easy to check in to see how a project is going, quickly reply to that email or have a scan of that report that you were just sent. Think about how much time you spend on your devices when you are away from work, and then think about how many of those tasks were urgent. Challenge yourself to go a whole weekend without doing any work related tasks (yes email counts!) and see how much better you feel by Monday.
Your mental and physical health will improve
Always being ‘connected’ and ‘switched on’ isn’t good for your mental health. Anxiety and stress generally increase when we are switched on all of the time. Schedule family and leisure activities into your weekend and treat them as you would any other appointment – do them! You’ll return to work feeling much more refreshed and relaxed.
You might enjoy it!
Once you get into the habit of switching off on weekends, you’ll have the challenge of finding other ways to spend your free time. Imagine the possibilities, and think of all the fun things you could be doing instead!
We challenge you to switch off for a whole weekend! What have you got to lose?