Opinion Column

Weekends contribute to work/life balance

By Larry Schruder, The Delfi Group

In the busy, crazy schedule that surrounds most of our work lives, it is really difficult to make the changes necessary to achieve some work/life balance. Working 50-60 hours a week can be gruelling - but doubly so if you let it spill over into your weekends. So what are a few things that you can try now - especially since most of your 2016 resolutions have slipped away?

Ever wonder what some of the most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs do on the weekends? If you guessed that they put the work week on pause, kick their feet up, and take off to a quiet paradise on board one of their private jets, or sail off to sea on a 100-foot yacht with their friends and family, your assumptions have led you astray. After reading numerous articles on the topics of work-life balance and the qualities of successful leaders, a pattern began to present itself, and pointed to the secret ingredient to their sustained success.

These successful leaders don't just switch off their work brain and motivation once the clock hits five on Friday afternoon. They carry this productivity and successful mindset over to the weekend. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that in order to be successful you have to be all work and no play. Here are five ways successful people maintain their motivation over the weekend, which contributes to the prosperity of their career and work/life balance. Some ideas to consider now that your 2016 resolutions have likely bitten the dust:

1. Greet the sunrise with open eyes

The world's most famous coffee shop franchise executive gets up early and begins each weekend morning with a workout, usually a bike ride with his wife, and then gets on with his weekend activity. Other executives value the quiet time of early morning and use it to catch up on the news, exercise, and look at emails. I love the saying, "you have the same number of hours in a day as Bill Gates." The caveat is what you do with those hours is what actually counts. Getting up early increases productivity and allows you to get a lot more done throughout the day, especially those things that really count.

2. Prioritize the important things

"Things don't have to change the world to be important," Steve Jobs once said. Weekends give you a chance to manage or reset your work/life balance. This is a great time to put the family first. Weekend time at home should mean being physically, mentally and emotionally present to those that see little of you all week. Spending time with your friends, children, or partner might not directly increase profits that day or propel you into the limelight, but that doesn't make it any less important. And it can do wonders for your work/life balance.

3. Find a hobby

Hobbies really influence the creativity and competitive nature of an individual. Successful people are typically interesting people, and a lot of that is attributed to their "free" time activities. For example, Warren Buffet, possibly one of the greatest investors this world has ever seen, plays the ukulele. President Obama plays basketball .George W. Bush enjoys oil painting. Stephen Harper played the piano. Weekend hobbies serve as tools for carrying over constructive motivation into the work week, and they also reduce work-related stress.

4. Stay active

A common practice among the busiest leaders is staying active. If you're the leader of a successful organization, stress is likely a frequent visitor. One executive leaves it on the tennis court. Another is an avid kite surfer. Keeping an active body helps promote an active and healthy mind, and advocates a healthy work/life balance as well. Keeping fit on the weekend ensures the motivation to leave the office during the week for a quick walk, run, or swim, which will relieve some stress and increase productivity for the rest of the day. 

5. Practice mindfulness

If you are not familiar with the benefits of practicing meditation and mindfulness, I urge you to search it out. The most successful people take time out of their hectic schedules to be still and practice meditation. One executive not only wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and goes for a six-mile run, but he also meditates before starting the rest of his day. If this is something you are interested in, try closing your door, turning everything off, and sitting quietly for five minutes--try not to fall asleep or let your mind wander from the present. Five minutes doesn't sound like a long time to try shut out the sounds of the life around you, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Mindfulness is like exercise for your brain, and an important part to a successful work/life balance. 

Successful people use the weekends to refresh, spend time with friends and family, maintain motivation through hobbies, and prepare for the upcoming week. You have the same number of weekends as Justin Trudeau, so make every hour of them count!

Larry Schruder is president and co-owner of The DelfiGroup, Pembroke and can be reached at larry. schruder@thedelfigroup.com.