TWEAKING THE MIND CIRCUITRY FOR MAXIMUM WEEKEND OUTPUT
You know those weekends that go by in a blink of an eye and leave you wondering how come you didn't accomplish much despite having so many things you wanted to do? Yeah. Me too. So today I'll share with you some tricks that I have been using lately to boost my weekend productivity.
But why would anyone want to be productive on their weekend, you ask? Well, for those of us who are working freelancers or CEOs of passion projects, weekends are a great time to get things done. We have big chunks of time at our disposal, we have mental clarity, and we can focus. Mix that with a little bit of ambition and you have an explosive mix ready to blow. All you gotta do is supply the spark. But it’s not always easy.
Too often we fall prey to procrastination, we get stuck in the world wide web, or are overcome with feelings of uncertainty about our projects and postpone working on them until better days. But there are some things we can do to avoid falling into these traps. Here is a list of some easy-to-implement but powerful tips on how to nudge your chances for success up and have an awesome productive weekend that brings you closer to your dreams.
HOW YOU GET UP MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
It’s oh so tempting to go on Facebook or Instagram in the morning and see what the world is up to. And I am not going to say don’t do it. It’s the weekend after all. But I do say, don’t stay on it too long. 15 minutes max. The longer you stay the more time and mental clarity you are cutting from your day. It’s great to see content made by others, but won’t it be great to make something of value yourself? To do that you need to get out of bed.
FEEL LIKE A MILLION BUCKS.
Put on a nice set of clothes - something that you would actually wear to work or to go out with friends. This tricks your mind into going into awake and productive mode, makes you feel clean and ready. I’ve found that if I stay in my home clothes all day then I am more likely to procrastinate. Weird, right? So throw on a fresh T and a pair of jeans. Weekend casual works great. Round it off with some nice shoes if you want to go all in.
Get your hair in order too. Basically, make yourself look the way you wouldn’t be ashamed of if all of a sudden all your friends and competitors (and a really hot representative of the opposite sex) walked into your room unannounced. Perhaps sitting in front of the computer screen in your underwear with your belly covered in Cheetos crumbs isn’t the best impression. If you are working alone, what you look like might not seem like a big deal, but if you are sitting in front of the computer screen in your underwear with your belly covered in Cheetos crumbs then guess what - you feel like someone who’s sitting in front of the computer screen in their underwear with their belly covered in Cheetos crumbs, and that is not a good way to feel if your goal is to be productive and accomplish some serious shit.
If you have to make decisions, or take phone calls, or be quick and upbeat, then the above scenario isn’t optimal. You don’t have to wear anything fancy, but if you feel like a million bucks you think like a million bucks and you act like a million bucks and you project a completely different vibe than someone with orange fingers and a peeking butt crack.
Having breakfast is a great way to set a separation marker between sleepy/lazy/morning time and the next, more productive section of the day. Nourish your body with quality ingredients, keep the portions small. What I like to do after I am done eating is prepare a nice beverage and sit back for 15 minutes with a pen and a piece of paper and make a list of the things that I need to get done that day. I find that taking some time to write things out and get them onto paper helps me streamline my thoughts and free my mind from having to remember all the little details. Best investment of 15 minutes. Trust me.
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, BRUSH YOUR TEETH.
You’ve had a nice meal, now brush your teeth. Give them a nice cleaning. Nothing puts us into lazy mode quicker than that funky taste in our mouth. Seriously. What having a dirty mouth does is decrease our confidence and self-respect. But with clean teeth (and in clean clothes) we are more ready to take on the day - we are more likely to pick up the phone when it rings, we speak with more confidence, our breath and our minds are fresh. This is perhaps one of the best things you can do to energize your day.
MAKE WORK FEEL LIKE A GOOD TIME.
That nice beverage you made earlier - why not take it to your desk/workbench/whatever you use? Make yourself some iced tea or coffee if that’s your thing. Get a little square of your favorite chocolate. Enjoy life! These kinds of little things go a long way.
Set a timer on your watch of phone to go off every 15 minutes. Put a big bottle of water next to you. Every 15 minutes drink out of that bottle. Hydrate your body and your brain for maximum health and productivity. This is so important, especially if you are sitting for hours. I’ve noticed that drinking large amounts of water 3-4 times a day does not do the job even if you consume your daily recommended amount. The body seems to be thrown off by the large quantities of water taken in all at once and it holds onto it. But when you drink every 15 minutes you go to the bathroom much more often - the body doesn’t feel like water is scarce and it lets it cycle and flush out all the bad stuff. But why do you need a timer? You will be surprised how easy it is to forget to hydrate regularly. When we work we are in the zone and water isn’t on our minds. The simple timer technique is extremely effective and it does not ruin the flow. Try it.
CLEAN YOUR WORKSPACE.
We’ve heard this tip 5 billion times. It’s a good one, but I like to take it down a notch. Clean it a little bit, and quickly. Cleaning can easily kickstart procrastination. Clean your main space just a bit - do it kind of nonchalantly, then forget about it. A little mess is inevitable so don’t get too preoccupied with it. Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination. If in the middle of your work session it begins to bother you, just say: “Yeah, looks like the space of someone who’s doing some work and kicking some ass!” Then go back to kicking ass.
TAKE CARE OF SMALL THINGS QUICKLY.
Don’t push those back. Professionals deal with things right away. (But don’t confuse urgent things with important things.) Someone sent you an email about a project? We are often tempted to read it and close it. “I’ll respond later”. Professionals deal with these things right away and get them out of their mental space.
SAVE THIS LIST.
Save this list to have a quick step-by-step reference on how to boost your weekend. This is useful for those days when you seem to be stuck in that “uh, I can’t seem to be able to do anything today” phase. Go through these simple motions and voila. Profit. These strategies can be implemented at any time of day.