Director of Community & Events, Speaker, Co-Leader of the Chicago HubSpot User Group, Host of ‘The IMPACT Show’ Podcast
May 18th, 2018
I love that feeling when Friday rolls around and the weekend is in sight.
I’m ready to unplug, relax, and recharge. Yet I know, I’ll probably wake up Saturday morning with a clear mind and motivation to finish that blog post I’ve been working on, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Do you do work “stuff” on the weekends? Do you need to step away from work completely to recharge?
Marcus Sheridan asked a question in IMPACT Elitethat really sparked an interesting conversation.
“Question for the group: Do you do "work" stuff on weekends? Personally, I find Saturday mornings are my most productive in terms of inbox zero, brainstorming, planning, etc. I'm sure there isn't a right/wrong approach to weekend work, but I am curious to see what my fellow Elite peeps do, and why it works for you.”
In just the first few days, Marcus’ question got 58 responses! So, we decided to dive in and see what people had to say.
Finding Fluidity Between Personal and Professional Time
For a lot of people, working weekends simply means work time and personal time are more fluid.
While you may stop working mid-afternoon on a weekday to attend an event at your child’s school, you’ll work for a few hours on a Saturday morning which evens out the time you spend getting work done.
For many members of IMPACT Elite, this is exactly the case.
I’m pretty fluid with my personal vs professional time. Some weekends I find great productivity and some [week] days I’m busy with family activities. Fortunately for me, I truly enjoy my work and the company core values & structure support flexible work hours.
- Dan Moyle, CMO at Interview Valet
Absolutely. Everyone in my house sleeps to ten and I hammer starting at six. This allows me to free up time M-F to leave work for personal business without guilt.
- Daniel J. Sullivan, Executive Recruiter at J. Patrick & Associates, Inc.
When you think about your workday, do you think about back-to-back meetings, an inbox full of messages waiting for your response, and barely time to have lunch?
If so, you may find the weekends to be a distraction-free time to catch up. When you’re spared the constant dinging of notifications requesting your attention, it can be much easier to be productive on something you haven’t been able to focus on during the week.
Others use the weekend to do specific types of work. For many, it’s more strategic, creative work.
“Sundays are my jam — no pressure — thoughts are flowing nothing urgent, right until my kids wake up lol”
- Brian Brady, Inbound Marketing Consultant at Bluleadz Inbound Marketing
“Saturdays are a great day to get work done as it’s a day without structure of the work week”!
- Keven Ellison, Director of Marketing at AIS
For others, it’s educational or self-improvement, such as reading a book or catching up on industry trends.
“Weekends are time for family, but I also like to reserve time for personal growth. If there are deadlines or if I’m taking off during the week, then I’ll work ahead on weekends, but it’s rare. Reading and personal growth, im a.ok with, as long as it’s not taking me away from my kiddos.”
- Angela Myrtetus, Principal Strategist at IMPACT
For many, it’s even time to do the part of their jobs they enjoy most.
“Yep. [I] was just watching the Hubcast and have listened to two other HubSpot related podcasts since I left work yesterday. On the weekend, I generally skip the to-do list and deep dive into things I want to do. For instance, I just signed up for SEMrush yesterday so I was looking at results from the initial audit this morning and mulling a plan of attack.” - Frances K Bowman, Content Marketing Strategist at TIC Gums
“I use Saturday mornings to be indulgent with my time. I allow myself to think outside the box, research and actually think about new ideas, catch-up on industry news, etc. Almost all of my good ideas come from my weekend “work” time but it doesn’t feel a lot like work!” - Jennifer Goode, CEO at Enrollment Builders
But that doesn’t mean it working works for everyone.
You May Need to Step Away from Work for the Whole Weekend
While many people find weekends to be productive work time, There are certainly who need to unplug completely to be able to fully recharge and tackle the week ahead.
“I try my absolute hardest not to work on weekends! I usually find myself working late on weekdays. In fact, I very rarely do anything but work then — so Saturdays and Sundays are for me, family, friends, and maybe some side projects. If I really need to get something done, it’s nice to not have the ping of emails or Slack, but it’s a last resort. Need the balance.”
- Ramona Sukhraj, Content Marketing Manager at IMPACT
“Weekends are for my kids and husband. Hands down. That’s exactly why I’m doing this instead of the corporate gig.”
- Casey Johnson Gromer, Founder of Casey Gromer VMO
“Saturday is my day to unplug from work. I need my Saturday morning yoga, Farmers market and whatever else I need to get done. Then on Sunday I'm ready to put a few hours in and I can really be productive. I need that Saturday recharge.”
- Suzanne Bouffard Lopez, Principal / EVP, Client Strategy & Services at DataBranding
Not a bit! Maybe it’s a cliche millennial “work balance” thing, but weekends are my time for the most important things - family, friends, volunteering, and other passions. Maybe it’s the way my brain works, but I need rest from M-F in order to bring my best on Monday morning. - Alexandria Abel, Video Producer at Weidert Group, Inc.
Marcus had a great reply to Alexandria’s comment. He said: “I don't think it's a millennial thing at all actually, Alexandria. I just think we're all different, and find flow and balance in different ways. The main thing is that we're able to find ours-- and not someone else's. Sounds like you've found yours. Have a great weekend!”
Marcus is exactly right. Find what works well for you and stick to it!
It can be tough to stick to your guns when others work differently than you. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re staying true to yourself while enabling others to do the same.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Working on the Weekends
IMPACT’s Chief Strategy Officer, Tom DiScipio, commented on the discussion in Elite saying:
“My first boss who was the owner of small general contracting business told me something I’ve carried with me my entire career. ‘Time off is as important as time on.’ My weekend goals are to disconnect, but like many have said here, if the creativity hits, it’s go time! At the same time I want to make sure I’m available for others on my team that leverage the weekend to get things done.”
Finding the right balance can be tough, especially when you work collaboratively.
Once you find what fits you best, it’s important to communicate with your team to set proper expectations and avoid an unnecessary source of friction with your coworkers.
Here are a few things you should do as well as a few you shouldn’t:
Do Communicate Your Preferences
Do what’s right for you while being transparent and forthcoming with your team.
While knocking out a few blog posts on a Saturday morning may work well for you, this is likely not the case for at least one of your teammates.
By letting your team know what works for you, you’ll set proper expectations and ensure no one feels like they’re leaving you in the lurch.
Do Respect Other Team Members’ Preferences
You may spend Saturdays and Sundays with your family and need to turn off your work phone to truly be present; or maybe you enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee and diving into a blog post or listening to a new podcast episode. Either way, that’s great!
Just remember, this isn’t necessarily the case for some of your coworkers - and that’s okay.
Don’t get mad or frustrated when your team works differently. If you’re flexible with them and vice versa, the team as a whole will be more productive.
That being said...
Don’t Expect an Immediate Response
Once you commit to a work pattern, you cannot expect others to work when and how you do.
If you’re sending a message on the weekend, don’t indicate that you expect an immediate response.
If someone has notifications turned off, never override that and send one anyway.
Don’t Feel Obligated to Do What Others Do
While a lot of people do “work stuff” on the weekends, it can make others, who don’t, feel pressured to follow suit.
Don’t feel obligated to bust out your laptop on those days that start with “S” just because you see others doing it.
Conversely, if you work on the weekends, you may feel pressured or even be told you’re not taking giving your brain enough of a break or spending enough time with your family. You do you!
By knowing when you’re most efficient, you can free up other time (when you wouldn’t be as productive anyway) to do things like take a mental break or spend time with someone in your life.
Do Make the Most of Your Time
Knowing what type of work you do best on weekends will make that distraction-free time even more productive and also prevent you from wasting time during the week trying to move it across the line.
Think of your work habits and use them to consciously organize your workload.
Don’t Forget to Set Boundaries
Consider this story from Peter Caputa, CEO at Databox.
“In my first startup and for the first 6 years (or so) at HubSpot, I worked weekends. I also worked from sun up to sun down for the most part on weekdays. I also commuted 2 hours each way 4 days a week in the early days of HubSpot.
My wife helped me realize that I was missing out on life. So, I pretty much stopped weekend work cold-turkey. It was an important decision. We also moved a lot closer to Cambridge 3 years back. Every time we drive towards our old house, my wife says, "I can't believe you drove almost twice this distance twice per day." I can't either.
Lately, I've been doing a bit of work on the weekends in the mornings or evenings. Not every weekend, but some. Now that I am the boss, I feel the pressure of a lot of people counting on me, so that is part of the reason. Also, I work from home a lot more now which allows me to coach my son's soccer team, help with stuff around the house and have meals with my wife and son. So, opening up the laptop to get organized or get a task done doesn't seem like I'm sacrificing time with them. Also, I have trouble not thinking about work on the weekends. So, sometimes, it's just better to jot something down so I can stop worrying about it.”
Setting boundaries is important.
Working on the weekends can be great for gaining flexibility during the week, getting some distraction-free work done, or growing personally, however, stepping away from work for a bit to recharge is important too, no matter when you do it.