Weekends Don’t Exist
“Assume nothing, question everything.”
– James Patterson
Weekends don’t exist, at least not for those who want to make a change in the world or for those with a dream.
If you have a passion project, a business that you are building up, or a dream that you want to follow, you need all the time you can possibly get your hands on. Weekends are great, but those two days off per week constitute almost 30% of the available time that you have at your disposal.
How much recovery time from the work week do you really need?
Do you really need the full weekend to recover? Do you really want to go out drinking Friday night and write off your entire Saturday nursing a hangover? Is bingeing on the latest Netflix season really the best thing you could do with your Sunday? Could you instead spend some of that time on personal development; exercising, reading, meditating, developing a business, writing, practicing, learning or growing?
It is not that you need to drop all rest and social time in order to be successful, but you do need to make some time.
We have been conditioned our entire lives into a ‘5 on 2 off’ work schedule. From early childhood, throughout our schooling and into our work life, we have been told to ‘work for the weekend’. That is, to essentially group all of our ‘work’ into one block, and all of our ‘rest’ into another block. It starts with our school lives and continues on from there. We work Monday to Friday, and rest on the weekend.
This concept of blocking also applies on the daily, yearly and lifetime scales. Every day we work our shifts and then come home to rest. Each year we work, week on, week off, until our annual leave gives us a couple of weeks of holiday. This process is repeated until we are too old to continue it; this is called retirement.
Too many people delay their dreams until retirement.
I am sure you have many different dreams that you want to pursue in your life, experiences that you want to live through and skills to learn. The question is, how many of these dreams do you want to wait until you retire to begin?
It is sobering to realise that due to life’s messy and unpredictable nature, there is no guarantee that any of us will live to see our retirement. Imagine delaying your life’s calling for a later stage, only to pass away before even beginning to work on it?
There is a tendency to delay doing things, to wait for some magical later date that you tell yourself will come, but always seems just out of reach. This is some kind of fictional future time where you have all of the resources, time and motivation needed to commit towards a project. This place doesn’t exist, but it has a real world impact on each and every one of us. It causes us to stay in our comfortable ruts, working our current unsatisfying jobs and living our safe and boring lives without question.
When the feelings of dissatisfaction with our present state arises, it tells us that we still have more time, and convinces us that the money, status, and safety of our current position are worth delaying the pursuit of our dreams. Before you know it, five years will have passed and you will still be in the conceptual phase of your dream project. You will still have a mediocre body and you will still only have the ability to count to ten in a foreign language. Your guitar won’t have been touched for years and you won’t have written that book. Some of you will have missed the opportunity to have had children, to have travelled, even to have loved.
Unless you make the time, you will never have it.
Write a list of each of the days of the week. Next to each day, note down how much time you spend ‘relaxing’ on each of those days. That is total time that is spent not working, exercising, learning, reading, sleeping, eating, and showering/cleaning or otherwise developing yourself.
Once you have the total time that you spend relaxing, cut that time down by a third. If you spend three hours on the weekend watching television, still watch for two hours. But use that one hour that you now have access to, to advance yourself in some way, or towards following a dream. Go through each day and apply the same process of dedicating a third of the time that you are currently spending on relaxation, towards self-development.
The beauty of this approach is that cutting a third of your current relaxation time is not an impossible request. It would be unreasonable to instantly cut all relaxation time. Remember to always ‘Change Habits Slowly’ (chapter 3.5).
In three months, repeat this activity. Shave off another third of the remaining relaxation time, and dedicate it towards your dreams.
This process can be repeated as many times as you like until you discover the minimum amount of relaxation time that you personally need. By then you will be operating at a stage of optimal performance, and importantly, because you made those changes slowly, you will be able to sustain it.
“The way you become world class is by asking better questions.”
– Tim Ferris
The concept of ‘weekends not existing’ is just one of the many assumptions about life that can be challenged. I periodically like to review what I am doing and challenge if it really needs to be done that way. Unless I do this, it becomes all too easy to merely fall in line with everyone else and follow the crowd.
In the TAKE ACTION below, I have listed some questions that I have found useful to contemplate in my own life. These questions come from multiple aspects of life. Your answers may be different to mine, and the answers to some of these questions will seem self-evident, and even asking some of them will seem crazy. However I hope that there will be at least a few that make you pause and wonder if there may perhaps be a better way to approach that aspect of your life. If that happens, play around with the question, experiment in your own life, and research what other people have done. You never know, you may find a life hack that is worth exploiting. Something that will get you significantly closer to following your dreams, or at least give you the time to begin doing so.
By challenging assumptions, you can discover opportunities.
Ask yourself the following questions. Some of these will be very easily dismissed off hand. Push through this initial reflex and seriously contemplate each question.
1) How much sleep do I actually need each night?
2) Would I perform best on one, three or five meals per day?
3) Do I need to work full-time?
4) What would happen if I quit my job today?
5) Would it be possible to complete some or all of my job from home?
6) Am I working in the right field? Should I change?
7) Would exercising first thing in the morning energise me for the day or tired me out?
8) What would happen if I stopped watching the news?
9) Do I enjoy watching television, or am I just bored?
10) What would happen if I removed the television from my home?
11) What is stopping me from attaining (insert goal here?) Is it laziness, self-belief, a lack of motivation, fatigue or something else?
12) Why can’t I be ‘someone great’?
13) What do I actually think of myself? Am I moral? Am I a hard worker? Am I nice?
14) What is the fundamental difference between me and (insert name of idol here)?
15) Do I actually like and enjoy the company of my current friendship group, or am I only friends with them due to habit?
16) Do I enjoy the social activities that I currently partake in, or is there something new that I would like to try?
17) Am I happy in my current relationship, job, home?
18) Do I actually want to recover from (insert life problem, mental/physical illness or hardship here) or have I integrated that issue into a perception of myself?
Continue The Conversation
What societal norms do you challenge?
Tweet @zacpphillips #challangenorms, with your thoughts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q) I am so tired after work on a Friday. I really do need all of the night and weekend to recover.
A) Some people work significantly more challenging jobs than others and subsequently require a lot more downtime to decompress and recover. Take all of the time that you need to recover. However if you find yourself consistently wrecked after a week of work, you may want to consider making a change, particularly if you have a goal that you have been ignoring or neglecting.
Is it possible to be more efficient at work? Can you work less hours and still afford the lifestyle that you want? Could you make some sacrifices on the random luxuries? Could you job share? Or perhaps outsource some of the non-vital tasks? If there are no changes that can be made, then you need to decide what is worth more to you, your current job or the other things that you would love to do. This is no easy choice and only you can make it.
Another possibility for your need to recover so much is because you really dislike your work. Perhaps you hate your boss, co-workers, conditions, pay rate, or the work itself. If you are in this position, make a change so that your work is not such a living hell. You will find that you don’t need anywhere near as much ‘recovery time’ when you finish a day at work doing a job that you love.
Once again, this decision will not be practically easy to perform of course. But what is the alternative? How long can you continue disliking the activity that takes up the majority of your day, and life for that matter?
Finally, your tiredness could be caused by physical or mental illness. A symptom of both depression, thyroid dysfunction and some vitamin deficiencies is fatigue. I would suggest that you get a blood test to check for any issues, and of course regularly speak to a professional therapist.
The Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Mason Curry
Sex At Dawn, Cecilda Jetha & Christopher Ryan
Playing The Game Of Life, Alan Watts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXvoYGrnuv8
Actively challenge your current assumptions about your life and make changes based on the discoveries.