The countdown is starting for the long Memorial Day weekend. If you live in a place like New York, you’ve been tortured by an almost uninterrupted run of rain, grey skies and relatively chilly weather for the last couple of months. We’re yearning for some nice, warm and sunny days—especially since we will be out of the office.
Let’s be honest, three-day weekends have recently become three-and-a-half or four-plus day weekends. By Friday afternoon, most people bolt out of the office to jumpstart their mini vacations. Others catch mysterious illnesses on Tuesday and are “forced” to call in sick.
The average person uses this time to go to the beach, sleep to noon, binge watch their favorite Netflix shows or take in a baseball game or two (or three or four). My advice to you is to avoid following the herd of mediocrity and strive for success. It is too easy to let the holiday weekend slip by and gorge yourself with hotdogs, hamburgers, soda, potato chips and beer. My suggestion is to use this time as a gift to be proactive and productive.
Since I recognize you would rather take it easy and coast, please allow me to share the weekend habits of successful people that help them get ahead. I promise that I’ll make it super easy to follow.
The first thing to do is sort-of fun. Use the holiday sales to purchase a sharp, new wardrobe. It could be for interviewing for a new job or trying to impress your boss and colleagues in the office. Find clothes for the job you desire and not for the position you are currently stuck in.
If you are like me and lack fashion sense, seek out a personal shopper who can ensure that you master the look for the type of industry you work in and come across looking sharp. While we are being shallow and discussing appearances, put down the frankfurter and go for a jog, bike ride or do some yoga.
Take an afternoon to catch-up with new developments within your field. You can do this by reading industry-specific blogs, newsletters, articles and books. Then, go to the next level and read some books that will teach you something new and make you smarter. If reading is too much to handle, there are great podcasts and YouTube videos to watch that will help you with self improvement, learning about new topics and current events.
Set aside a few hours to get ahead with your work. Start new projects and take initiatives on things that you know will eventually need to do. Finish work that you have been procrastinating on for weeks. Send out emails and leave phones messages for people at work, especially your boss. They won’t answer or listen to them since they’re squandering their weekend with time-wasting nonsense. However, when Tuesday rolls around, they will be suitably impressed with your motivation.
Draft a game plan of what you need to do over the summer to move forward in your career. Set short-term and long-term goals. For instance, if you are seeking out a new job, search various job boards, update your resume, freshen up your LinkedIn profile, reach out to recruiters and practice your interviewing techniques.
It is important to reconnect with family and friends in a meaningful way. Put the phones away and enjoy their company. Listen to what your spouse and children are up to and what’s really going on in their lives.
Disconnect from social media, television and other obsessive distractions. Take some quiet time to assess where you are in your life and career. Be honest with yourself because there is no reason to pretend that everything is going great if it isn’t. If you are not happy with your station in your professional and personal life, start mapping out a plan that will help you achieve your goals.
After you have accomplished these—and other similar productive activities—then and only then, should you take some time to relax and enjoy the time off. There will be less time available, but trust me, you will enjoy these precious, relaxing hours since you will feel that you have earned it. Also, you will have a feeling of immense satisfaction that you took assertive actions to improve your life and avoided wasting the long weekend.
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