Posted on January 15 2016
For today’s biz column I’m talking down time. It’s Friday after all with the weekend looming and if you take the weekend off you’ll increase productivity. Wait what? That’s a crazy claim I know, but hear me out. What if I were to tell you that a few new habits could actually increase your productivity at work – especially if you spend your weekend right, and by that I mean not thinking about work!
Anna Wintour plays an hour of tennis every day (did you know that?). Successful people understand the importance that exercise plays for health reasons and in relation to the mind. There really is no excuse not to. Especially when you look at it like this – 30 mins exercise is only 1/48th of your day! I swim at 6.30am half the week and do Pilates the rest. There was a time during my hip problem days when I did nothing for almost a year and a half. I felt lethargic and tired a lot, and my productivity suffered as a result.
Enjoy food! Good food, that’s good for you. Not always so easy when you’re busy, I know. I’ve definitely had times when I ate badly and I drank too much. One thing fuelled another – the sluggishness made me want comfort food and a big glass of wine. Not a great combo. Taking the time off to cook properly and plan meals for the week at the weekend will make a big difference, I promise.
Whilst I still might indulge occasionally I’ve totally reformed my diet. I did the whole 30 programme – 30 days of no diary, no grains, no sugar, and reintroduce them slowly and it moderation. It’s pretty life changing. Not only do you lose weight (bonus!) it gives you so much more energy. No sluggish afternoons for me anymore it’s made me crave fresh organic veggies and fish and fruit. If you’re feeling like you want to give your body an MOT I thoroughly recommend it!
Take a little time to look back and think about the past week. Is there anything you could have done better? Any problems you came up against – have you done what you can to make sure they won’t happen again? For me, this time is when I’m walking with the M’s. I don’t focus on it for ages, only a few minutes, but I’ll address the week we’ve just had and use that headspace to iron out the kinks. This isn’t something you can do while you’re still at your desk.
Plan for Monday on Sunday
OK, so this might not sound like taking the weekend off, but bear with me. This is a big game changer. Every Sunday eve I’ll take between 15 and 30 mins creating and prioritising my to do list for the week. That way I can switch off utterly for the rest of the night, savour the last bit of the weekend and know that when I return from my dawn swim at 7.30 Monday morning I’ve already got a headstart on the day. I don’t do this in my studio (feels too worky) instead I’ll sit on the sofa in front of the fire and plan out the week. Anything that makes Monday more manageable works for me!
When you work crazy hours you miss out on a lot, and usually gatherings with friends and family are the first thing to suffer. So even if it’s only for one or two weekends a month, try and reconnect with the friends and family, passions and hobbies that bring you joy. All work and no play can make you feel overwhelmed and quite grumpy – believe me I’ve been there many a time! When you take the weekend off and come out of your work zone you actually see things more clearly. It puts everything in perspective, helps you prioritise properly, and strangely enough it makes you more productive.
So enjoy your weekend everyone, oh and its my birthday today so even more reason to slow down the pace. Not so much today, we are back to back interviewing but certainly on the weekend.