Working on the weekend: How to refill your tank while still getting stuff done

by Jennifer Sigler | November 15, 2017 | Workhappy Blog

Overwhelming yourself with weekend work is a dangerous habit.

There is a sense of relief when Friday afternoon comes — the hustle of the week is over! And yet the weekend is fleeting, made even more so by the pressure that we “make it productive.”

You don’t need me to tell you that time is important.

You know it is essential to find a way to recharge so you can perform at your best when the new workweek starts. But relaxation comes with a heavy dose of guilt for most people, and can actually induce anxiety in others.

We call this “success guilt.” This is what can develop when you are working toward several goals at one time. It can be hard to give yourself permission to take time away because every free moment feels like “extra” time that you could allocate toward something other than giving yourself a breather.

We always feel there is something we should be doing.

But it is just as important when setting goals and pursuing them not to get burnt out. Just because we aren’t working does not mean we are being unproductive.

This is a topic we struggle with as a culture all the time, which is why it is so important to talk about. In fact, this is not the first time we’ve talked about it here.

At the same time, taking ownership over your weekend time is not necessarily about taking the approach of “doing no work whatsoever.” This is not realistic. We should strive to be present when we choose to spend time with family and focused when we choose to work.

Time should work for us, rather than against us.


We are our most happy when we are present. This probably has something to do with the fact that when we aren’t distracted, we stay focused and remember what we’re doing. If you are attempting to have a BBQ with the family but are checking your email as you flip burgers, you aren’t allowing yourself to be fully present in either task. This leaves you stressed and unfulfilled.

Making a conscious effort to disconnect has never been more essential for us to recharge.

Joshua Becker — a well-known blogger and public speaker on minimalism — has collected alarming statistics on our dependence on technology (read the full blog post. It’s worth it to scare yourself a little).

Becker reports that cell phone owners check their devices approximately every 6.5 minutes. More surprising? Sixty-seven percent of them check their phones for messages, updates and calls even when their phone isn’t ringing or vibrating.

Don’t let this be you!

If you need to complete work over the weekend, or feel compelled to check in — fine. But be intentional about it, and don’t try to do it as you are engaged in something else.

Being able to multi-task isn’t always a good thing. Here are three actions to take TODAY to refresh your weekend:


This one seems obvious. And yet, too many weekends go by in a year where we spend all our time on other people — including our families.

Life is crazy, but pursuing hobbies, passion projects and other activities we enjoy are essential to maintaining a positive outlook on life. This positivity is what will fuel your working hours later.


You know, that thing that you get almost none of during the workweek (or at least not as much as your body would like). If you are driven — as most leaders are — you probably wake up early and leave the office late.

If you are overworked, you probably also suffer from sleep insufficiency — waking up several times during the night or have a hard time falling asleep because you can’t shut your mind off. (Yet another reason to disconnect from our devices at least an hour before bed).


Spending a few minutes at the end of your weekend looking at your schedule can do a lot for your week ahead. This is not how you should spend your entire Sunday. But refreshing yourself on what needs to be done and who you will be meeting with will put you in a position to hit the ground running come Monday morning.

We are all busy. And most of us carry around a certain amount of “success guilt.” But taking breaks — taking weekends — are important to alleviate stress and anxiety. Breaks ignite creativity and keep us from getting stuck in routines.

Not every weekend can be all fun, all the time. But by managing your time, most weekends should feel rejuvenating.

Jennifer Sigler is a Senior Writer with The UpWrite Group. Send a message to to see how she can help enhance your corporate or personal brand.

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