Innovation Inspiration #016—Enjoy Your Weekends

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Weekends are for relaxing.

It is an absolute must in order to make the next week as productive as it can be.

If you feel you have to work the weekend, at least block out Sunday for all-play (or volunteer work; whatever relaxes you the most and makes you the happiest).

And if you still insist on working on Saturday, do it in chunks.

Alternate between fun and work.

It would be most ideal if you did not work on anything with an impending deadline. Instead, spend these precious bits of your personal time on a work project that you consider either fun, or something that could damage or sink the company if nobody does it before your competitors do.

If you’re familiar with the ROWE concept, but aren’t lucky enough to work for a company that groks it, you might guess that I’m suggesting that you use Saturday for your 20% time.

The goal is to get you working in chunks—an hour or two—so that you know you’re going to have fun soon. This keeps the stress down, not only because you see the light at the tunnel, but because when you’ve only got 60-120 minutes to work, you’re probably going to select something you can reasonably finish.

Like one page of a report. Or a handful of PowerPoint slides.

If you focus on small components, you can get them done in a relaxed state that lets you focus on content and quality, instead of quantity.

So get a chunk or two done, then set it aside and go have fun for an hour or two. When you come back, you’ll be relaxed, ready to work some more, and might even have had some important inspiration during your fun slot.

Lead by Example

This morning, I took my sweet time getting out the door: A 45-minute soak in the tub (don’t knock it guys—those ladies are on to something!), a leisurely breakfast, followed by catching up on some personal reading at the library.

I didn’t really get started with work stuff until 12:30 or so. But between then and now, I started and have almost completed a new document. I finally had the epiphany that I needed to drastically simplify something, taking it down from 30 to Kawasaki’s 10. But you can’t make that drastic a change by cutting. I knew I had to start over.

This morning’s lazy meanderings was all about getting my mind in the relaxed state I need to make this thing the right way. I’m not quite done, but I delegated up two of the remaining components, and another is in need of some more relaxation and random inspiration before I go back to it. Heck, I might even finish before I turn in tonight.

Whether or not I finish it tonight, tomorrow, or Monday morning (when I get the delegated input back), the end result will more polished and insightful than if I had rolled out of bed and started cranking for 4–6 hours.

So keep your mind relaxed, yourself happy, and you will find your creative juices flowing better. If you can’t pull this off during the week, at least follow the guidance on your weekend.

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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