As entrepreneurs, many of us get faced with this question at one point in our careers or another: do you work on weekends? This is an extremely open ended question with a number of layers. And the answer to this question depends on so many variables that to answer it plainly would almost be a disservice to the subject itself. However, since it’s such a common question and I get asked it all the time, I wanted to give it my best shot to give my complete answer. As I usually state and will always state, I can only speak to my situation and cannot, nor ever speak to yours. Only you can make decisions in your own lives. That being said, here’s my explanation as to why I work on weekends.
When I started to work on weekends
Coming up through the corporate world, the thought of working on a weekend never entered my psyche. In fact it was pretty sickening. You see, like most people I never liked traditional work. And by traditional work, see if this sounds familiar: Typically I’d wake up at around 7, work from 8 until 6, come home, go to the gym, eat, go to bed, wake up the next day and do it all again. It was routine. I’m not saying it was horrible but it certainly wasn’t ideal and not the career life I ever really wanted for myself. And like many folks in the same position, weekends were what I lived for. From the moment I stepped foot in the office on a Monday until the Friday afternoon when I got home, it was a countdown until the weekend where I could cut loose. I’d say it was pretty much like this for a good 6 years. But literally the day I began to work for myself it all changed.
It’s like a switch went off inside my head. Weekends were still weekends but they didn’t feel like it at all. The moment my work became my own and I was in charge of my own income fate, I became a machine. All of a sudden weekdays weren’t weekdays. They were just days. And weekends weren’t weekends. They too were just days. I plowed through every single day and each day simply bled into the next. Frankly, I was a complete animal during my first year. The day of the week never mattered. I just worked my ass off because I was utterly obsessed with improving the traffic on my websites.
However, after that initial surge began to pay off, I slowly started to get an understanding of how I wanted to run my business. No longer did I want to run every single facet of the business. No longer did I want to work 12-15 hours a day seven days a week. Bottom line was that I didn’t have to. As the years passed, I began to delegate more work and I started to run my business in a more “traditional” sense. I was more the “CEO” than doing everything myself. However, and this is really important, weekends are still an important part of my week, just not in the same way. They used to be for working and getting more done in 7 days than I could in 5. I still work on weekends but not because I feel I need to work 24/7. I work on weekends because I want to. But why do I want to work on weekends? Allow me to explain:
Weekends today: Routine is important any day of the week
The older I’ve gotten the more important routine has been to me. And what I mean by routine isn’t me feeding my kids at the same time of day every day. It’s not me being a lunatic about being on time for everything (though I’m a bit anal about that). It’s about having a semblance of what I need to do throughout the day and executing it. This has both to do with work and my own well-being. But something interesting happens during the weekends. Your routine is destroyed. Not having to work, exercise, or have any semblance of structure produces a very wobbly system and by the time it’s Monday you have to start over and “rebuild.” Oddly enough, I find that these days weekdays are way more productive and valuable to me than weekends are. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be that way. I just need to make weekends a bit more flexible, but not completely. Let me share with you exactly what I mean.
During the week I have a very specific routine. I’m up at 6, work until 10, go to the gym, get to the office at noon, nap until 1, do my thing until 6, come home, dinner, put the kids to bed, and that’s that. During these hours I also eat at specific times and eat pretty specific meals. With this routine I feel awesome. No need for an alarm clock. I just feel great nearly every day. But what happens when the weekend comes? I’ll usually either sleep in or force myself not do do anything for a while just because it’s “the weekend.” Yes, I’ll work but my food routine gets tossed out the window. There’s no me going to the office so that’s usually consumed by some kind of child activity or outing or whatever, And on occasion we’ll do the random family thing like go out to dinner or whatever the hell we do. The point is that this is very far removed from my normal weekday routine and it messes with me big time. Am I suggesting that I work seven days a week, go to the gym seven days a week and stick to a the same rigidity that I occupy my weekdays with? Absolutely not. However…..
Why limit what I like to do to only week days?
If you like to play basketball, why would you limit yourself to only weekends? The same goes for work. Why limit yourself to only week days? Work gives me a sense of familiarity. It gives me a sense of purpose. It even gives me a sense of calm. Why just completely remove that just because it’s a weekend? Here’s the thing about weekends. I know that they are for working less. But does that mean they are not for working at all? Hell no. And that also goes for lifestyle on weekends. Just because it’s a weekend means I’m free to pig out on pizza? No. It doesn’t. But it certainly means I can allow myself a burger and some ice cream. And it certainly means that if I’m up at 6am before my family, I’m going to damn well go downstairs and do some work if I need to. Especially if it makes me feel good. I like my work. Sue me. Hell, sometimes weekends are more hectic than weekdays. I’ve got a wife and two young boys (9 and 5 as of this writing). Doing work actually feels like a break compared to going to Dave and Busters. Look, I’m not saying it’s a perfect system but I know this. If I can somehow make weekends a little more similar to my weekdays, those Mondays don’t feel like such a rebuild. And that’s what it’s all about. Maintaining a strong balance in my life with both my family and my work.
Should you work on weekends?
Like I stated from the very beginning, only you can ultimately make this decision. But I think it comes down to a very simple question. And you don’t need to read into this question or make it any more complex than it is. Do you like it? It’s that simple. If you like working on weekends, then do it. And if you don’t have the type of family that supports this, that’s another issue. If you don’t have the type of friends that support this, that’s another issue. Forgive me for saying you have to put you first, but it’s the truth. Now execute.