Saturday, 10 January 2015

14 Things successful people do on weekends

Spencer Rascoff is only 37. Yet the
Harvard grad and father of three has
already accomplished so much.
He cofounded and served
as a VP for Expedia EXPE +0.53% ; he
held the roles of CFO, vice president of
marketing and COO at Zillow ; and in
2008 Rascoff was promoted to chief
executive of the popular real estate
information site.
Wondering how the Zillow CEO has
achieved and maintained his success?
His weekend routine has something to
do with it.
“My weekends are an important time
to unplug from the day-to-day and get
a chance to think more deeply about
my company and my industry,” Rascoff
says. “Even when I’m technically not
working, I’m always processing in the
background and thinking about the
company. Weekends are a great chance
to reflect and be more introspective
about bigger issues.”
He says he always spends weekends
with his family. “Even if I’m on the
road on a Friday and have to be back
in that same city the following week, I
always come home no matter what.”
Last year Rascoff’s New Year’s
resolution was to refrain from checking
e-mail during the day on Saturdays–
but it didn’t stick. “I’m trying again
this year and am having more luck,” he
says. “I have three young children so
weekends are usually an exhausting
but fun smorgasbord of fort-building,
bike-riding, soccer-playing, chess-
tournament-competing, stroller-
pushing, zoo-going, diaper-changing,
book-reading and birthday-party-
going. I never go into the office on
weekends but I do check e-mail at
night, and I use weekends as an
opportunity to catch up on work-
related reading.”
Laura Vanderkam , author of What the
Most Successful People Do Before
Breakfast (Portfolio, 2012) and What
the Most Successful People Do on the
Weekend (Portfolio, 2012), says
successful people know that weekends
are actually the secret weapon in
professional success. “You need to hit
Monday ready to go,” she says. “To do
that, you need weekends that
rejuvenate you, rather than exhaust or
disappoint you. Cross-training makes
you a better athlete, and likewise,
exercise, volunteer work, spiritual
activities, and hands-on parenting
make you a better worker than if you
just worked all the time.”
Executive coach Dale Kurow , M.S., says
successful people usually spend their
weekends participating in a
“combination of family activities with
their kids and spouse, errands, and
creative activities to exercise the right
side of their brain.”
Penelope Trunk, a career coach and
author of Brazen Careerist: The New
Rules for Success, adds: “A highly
successful person is very focused on
what they want to be doing. The
weekend and the week look very
similar: They are focused on creating
the life they want.”
So who are “successful people,” and
what exactly are they doing on
Sometimes success is defined by an
internal compass, says Marsha Egan, a
board-certified professional coach.
“A successful person is usually one
who has achieved a measure of
happiness and fulfillment in their
work, family, and spiritual life
(however that is defined for the
individual),” Kurow adds. “Most
successful people need to feel a sense
of accomplishment and are self-
motivated to tackle the next
Roy Cohen , career coach and author
of The Wall Street Professional’s
Survival Guide, believes success is often
defined in two ways: achieving and
exceeding financial milestones or
achieving great satisfaction through
one’s work. “From my perspective as a
career coach, real meaningful success
bridges the two–great prosperity
combined with real joy and passion for
your work.”
Here are 14 things successful people
do (or should be doing) on
1. Make time for family and
friends. This is especially
important for those who don’t
spend much time with their loved
ones during the week.
2. Exercise. Everyone needs to do
it, and if you can’t work out 4 to 5
days during the workweek, you
need to be active on weekends to
make up for some of that time,
Vanderkam says. It’s the perfect
opportunity to clear your mind
and create fresh ideas.
“I know an owner of a PR firm
who takes walks in the park with
his dog to spark ideas about how
to pitch a new client, or what
angle to take with the press for a
story,” Kurow says.
Cohen suggests spin classes and
outdoor cycling in the warmer
months. “Both are energizing and
can be organized among people
with shared interests. For example,
it is not uncommon for hedge fund
folks and Wall Street professionals
to ride together on weekends. It is
a great way to establish and
cultivate relationships based on
membership in this elite
professional community.”
3. Pursue a passion. “There’s a
creative director of a greeting card
company who went back to school
to pursue an MFA because of her
love of art,” Kurow says. “Pursuing
this passion turned into a love of
poetry that she now writes on
“Successful people make time for
what is important or fun,” Egan
adds. “They make space for
activities that add to their life
4. Vacation. Getting away for the
weekend provides a great respite
from the grind of an intense week
at work, Cohen says.
5. Disconnect. The most
successful people avoid e-mail for
a period of time, Vanderkam says.
“I’m not saying the whole
weekend, but even just a walk
without the phone can feel
liberating. I advocate taking a
‘tech Sabbath.’ If you don’t have a
specific religious obligation of no-
work time, taking Saturday night
to mid-day Sunday off is a nice,
ecumenical time that works for
many people.”
6. Volunteer. “I know a
commercial real estate broker who
volunteers to help with cook-off
events whose proceeds are
donated to the Food Bank,” Kurow
says. “The volunteer work
provides a balance to the heavy
analytical work she does all week
and fulfills her need to be creative
— she designs the promotional
material for the nonprofit.”
Cohen says a lot of successful
people participate in fundraising
events. “This is a great way to
network and to meet others with
similar interests,” he says. “The
visibility also helps in branding a
successful person as
7. Avoid chores. Every weekend
has a few have-to-dos, but you
want these to take the minimum
amount of time possible,
Vanderkam explains. Create a
small window for chores and
errands, and then banish them
from your mind the rest of the
8. Plan. “Planning makes people
more effective, and doing it before
the week starts means you can hit
Monday ready to go, and means
you’ll give clear directions to the
people who work for you, so they
will be ready to go, too,”
Vanderkam says.
Trunk agrees. She says successful
people plan their month and year
because “if you get stuck on short-
term lists you don’t get anything
big accomplished.”
9. Socialize. “Humans are social
creatures, and studies of people’s
experienced happiness through
the day finds that socializing ranks
right up there, not too far down
below sex,” Vanderkam says.
Go out with friends and family, or
get involved in the local
“It has been demonstrated that
successful people find great
satisfaction in giving back,” Cohen
says. “Board membership, for
example, also offers access to
other successful folks.”
10. Gardening/crafts/games/
activities. This is especially
important for those cooped up in
an office all week.
“For the pure joy, some folks find
great satisfaction in creating
beautiful gardens,” Cohen says.
Kurow knows an attorney who
uses her weekends to garden and
do mosaics and tile work to satisfy
her creative side. “Filling her life
this way enables her to be
refreshed on Monday and ready to
tackle the litigation and trial prep
work. Artwork for her is fulfilling
in a way that feeds her soul and
her need to connect with her
spiritual side.”
Bridge lessons and groups can also
sharpen the mind and often create
relationships among highly
competitive smart professionals,
Cohen says. “I once saw a printout
of a bridge club’s membership list;
its members were a who’s who of
Wall Street.”
Theatre, opera and sporting events
can also enrich one’s spirit, he
11. Network. “Networking isn’t an
event for a successful person, it’s a
lifestyle,” Trunk says. Wherever
they go and whatever they do,
they manage to connect with new
12. Reflect. Egan says truly
successful people make time on
weekends to appreciate what they
have and reflect on their
happiness and accomplishments.
As Rascoff said, “weekends are a
great chance to reflect and be
more introspective about bigger
13. Meditate. Classes and private
instruction offer a bespoke
approach to insight and peace of
mind, Cohen says. “How better to
equip yourself for success in this
very tough world?”
14. Recharge. We live in a
competitive world, Vanderkam
says. “Peak performance requires
managing downtime, too–with the
goal of really recharging your
batteries.” That’s how the most
successful people get so much
Successful people know that time is too
precious to be totally leisurely about
leisure, Vanderkam concludes. “You’re
not going to waste that time by failing
to think about what you’d like to do
with it, and thus losing the weekend to
TV, puttering, inefficient e-mail
checking and chores. If you don’t have
a busy workweek, your weekend
doesn’t matter so much. But if you’re
going from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day,
it certainly does.”

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