Successful people are successful because they never stop, right? They’re workaholics, and that’s how they manage to accomplish so much in such a short time. Yet advice from successful individuals in every sector, alongside books by authors who study success like Laura Vanderkam and Penelope Trunk, suggests that successful people become that way because they are excellent at being able to maintain a balance between work, rest and play. It may seem like you’re getting ahead by racking up the hours at your desk, especially when you’re young and keen, but eventually you will face burnout, or risk becoming locked in a perpetual cycle of administrative drudgery. You’ll loose your ability to think creatively, you’ll ignore long-term strategic development, and you’ll sabotage your interpersonal relationships.
So what do successful people do at the weekend? Firstly, they exercise. It’s vital for maintaining peak mental performance, and it creates a space for abstract thought. You can exercise in any way that works for you, but when you clear your head you’ll be surprised by how many great ideas pounce when you’re on the treadmill or in the park walking your dog. Then they make time to be with their families. They also date, see friends and nurture existing networks. They realise that there’s not really any point in being at the top of their game, if nobody at homes cares if they live or die. Family time is relaxing, fulfilling and allows those close to you to understand that they are the top priority, no matter how many hours you put in during the week.
You might be surprised to learn that the next thing they do is unplug. It might not be practical to do this for an entire weekend, but successful people mark out periods of time where they will not check or respond to emails, even if it’s only for the duration of a long walk or leisurely brunch. Perhaps from Saturday night to Sunday lunch would work for you. Besides, you don’t want to create the impression that you can always be summoned at a moment’s notice. It is also vital to nurture your soul in some way. This can be through volunteering, pursuing a passion unrelated to work or spending time on hobbies. Volunteering can assist networking and being seen to engage in philanthropy may well boost your career. It also reminds you that, as part of a far larger community, you should hold yourself accountable. When you pursue a passion or hobby, it gets you out of the office, reminds you that you have many talents, enriches your life and ensures that you are not left bereft if you choose to retire. Lastly, successful people plan for the upcoming week, allowing them to be more effective, and sending them back to the office ready to give 110% on Monday.
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