I’m going to say something many would say is controversial, but I think most people need to hear it sooner or later. Ready? If you can’t get your work done in 40 hours a week and are working weekends, you’re being inefficient and are managing your time poorly.
This sentiment holds true even if you have a family, a full-time job, or are traveling. You truly don’t have to put up with working weekends (at least not with any kind of regularity). I’m also saying this as someone who once worked into the midnight hours while working at Google, was chained continuously to my inbox, and never had time to call my own. It didn’t happen overnight, but I dug out of the endless work cycle and grew a six-figure business in part-time hours. Today, I’m running two businesses in 40-hours a week (or fewer).
As humans, we benefit from having a break from work. It’s not healthy to be “on” all of the time and working too much at the expense of everything else. Studies and research shows that working too long can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, fatigue, and poor behaviors like physical inactivity. It also makes you less productive and happy in your daily life.
If you’re tired of working weekends, it’s time to take your time back. Ready? Let’s go.
Plan Your Work Week
Committing to laser focus during the workweek requires laser focus, some serious planning, and distraction elimination. I chart out my entire week, including downtime (as well as the month, to ensure I’m accomplishing my most important tasks. I know exactly what I need to do daily to reach my goals, and most of the time, I make sure to finish up my workday by 4:00pm when my daughter when gets home from daycare.
Part of charting out your week is also getting a handle on your daily routine. If you’re working from a place of stress and monotony nonstop, you’ll burn out on your business before you get it off the ground. But something magical happens when you hammer out your routine. You end up creating the life you want to live instead of just reacting to the world around you.
Minimizing distractions is also an essential part of reclaiming your time and saying no to working weekends. I give myself some time in the morning to listen to a podcast, but I turn off all distractions during my deep work and focus time. Distractions also include setting some firm boundaries about just throwing in a load of laundry or letting in your home contractors. You have to protect your time and your schedule or someone else will fill it with busy work for you.
Don’t buy into the allure of the 70-hour workweek just to become a top earner or build your dream business. It takes discipline to get your week under control, but the trade-off is a weekend free of work and stress.
Outsource Everything You Can
If you’re trying to get out of working weekends, it’s not about cramming all of your work in a week and burning yourself out. Instead, you should outsource everything you can as soon as you can. Bookkeeping is a great place to start your outsourcing journey. I use Bench.co for professional bookkeeping services at a reasonable price point. It’s alleviated a ton off of my plate and simplifies the process.
I built my business with experienced virtual assistants who help with everything from research to project management. My favorite place to find talent is Upwork, where I have a global pool of freelancers to choose from.
Getting help cleaning your home, running errands, and delivering groceries are also ways you can outsource more in your life to free up time in your business. Get a list of apps and platforms to help you outsource as much as possible here. Read more about how to hire a virtual assistant if you’re not sure whether to hire hourly, on retainer, or what tasks to hand off.
Respect Yourself By Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries is a critical step in protecting your weekend time and enjoying your business more. You need to set boundaries with both yourself and others to scale your business while retaining the work-life balance you want.
When I worked at Google, I was addicted to email and treated everything as an absolutely urgent dumpster fire. It’s no surprise I got burned out and was not the most popular person around the office for continually being “on” when others were enjoying their weekends. Years later, my team and clients are communicating via ClickUp and Slack to keep projects moving, eliminating the need to check email except once or twice a day.
Setting better boundaries has also helped me weed out the type of clients who want my constant attention. If they expect a reply to an email or working on their project over the weekend, they’re not the client for me. By setting better boundaries for myself and my business, I can do the work I love and still have a life simultaneously. That’s what everyone deserves.
Embrace What You’re Gaining
You probably didn’t want to start your own business so you could work more. Focus on the freedom and flexibility you want in your business. Indulging in more fun with friends and family is hard-won after an efficient and focused week at work. So is some rest and self-care. Honor yourself, your business, and those around you by celebrating the wins in your business and your life.
Here’s the truth. You can work hard and build a successful business–and still keep your weekends free. Too much work and no play is no way to live (trust me, I’ve been there!). You also deserve to build and nurture the lifestyle you want, because our time on earth is far too short to do it otherwise.