Leader, you need a consistent rhythm of breaks – whatever that looks like for you. Certainly the weekend can help. It will be an even better weekend if you properly take time to prepare for it.
In my experience, however, if we are not careful the weekend passes so quickly we begin another work week feeling we wasted the weekend we had. Or we are so stressed by the week behind or the week ahead that all we do is catch our breath and we can’t fully enjoy the weekend.
This is true for everyone, but from my perspective as a leader this is especially a problem. For most leaders, we never feel our work is done. What we are leading – and even more who we are leaving – always weighs heavily on our mind. This makes enjoying our weekend even more important, though. So, as a leader, if we prepare for the weekend, it will make us even better prepared for the week ahead. We need quality down time to experience the best quality “up” time.
So, leader, how can we prepare for a better weekend? I have learned the more intentional Cheryl and I are about planning for it, the better weekends we had as a family when our boys are home and now as empty-nesters.
7 ways for a leader to prepare for a better weekend:
Plan well on Monday
Set your week up for success. Plan what you can realistically do in a week and end the week with a sense of accomplishment. I use checklists every day and every week. I try to end my Friday being as “done” as possible.
Do hard things now
Handle the hard stuff as they arise. Try not to carry it into the weekend. Obviously this is not always possible, but many times it is. For example, don’t put off a difficult conversation you know you have to have until Monday if you can and should do it today. It will haunt you all weekend. Whatever the issue, bite the bullet and handle the tough issue, as soon as effectively possible.
Be honest with others and your schedule
Don’t feel bad about declining activities on the weekend. If you want to go somewhere then go, but if you’d rather relax – don’t feel guilty saying so. Your ability to say no always determines the quality of your life and ultimately your leadership. Say yes sparingly when accepting weekend appointments. Invitations sometimes sound good on Monday, but are less exciting on Saturday morning.
This one sounds self-serving, but church is an appointment I think you should keep. Of course, this one doesn’t apply to my pastor friends (except when you’re on vacation and then I do think it applies – I wrote about that in another post).
You should know I’m certainly not being legalistic. This is not my nature or theology. It’s just that I’ve hardly ever heard someone say they wish they’d skipped church. But I’ve heard many who believe it gave them a better weekend. We tend to think the opposite, especially on a busy weekend, but God always seems to bless the time we give Him and it creates a time when you can focus on what matters most.
Do things during the week so you can have a true Sabbath
Even though it makes for slightly longer weekdays, try to accomplish many of the “chores” you have to do before the weekend. Try to have some unplanned time simply to do what you enjoy. Sometimes I have no choice. Some projects require my Saturday, but if possible, I’m going to worker longer weekdays to enjoy a lighter Saturday.
Keep a fairly normal sleep schedule all week
If you always have to “catch up” on your sleep on the weekends, or you spend your week tired because of the late nights on the weekend, you never gain a healthy rhythm for life. Be reasonably consistent in your bedtime and waking up time and you’ll feel better and enjoy a more productive awake time.
Share time with people you love
And do things you love. The best memories center around time with people we love and things we enjoy doing. We certainly have to balance the two. When the family is running in many different directions you end the weekend feeling like you “missed” the weekend.
This also means you may have to limit activities you or your family commits to or do things your family can do together.
All of this takes prior thought and coordination, but in my experience it makes for a more enjoyable weekend.
Pastors, this list includes you, too. I originally wrote it for you and decided to expand it to a more general audience. Your weekend may look different, as it may for other leaders, but you need to protect it. I wrote THIS POST on how I protect my Sabbath.
If you think if I can help you or your team I would be happy to talk with you. You find more about my experience here: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronedmondson/