Don’t Work Weekends, Learn to Take Breaks

by jim on January 18th, 2010

When I left my full time job to manage Bargaineering.com with 100% of my time, I was both ecstatic and terrified. I was ecstatic because now I could devote 100% of my work time towards something that afforded me 100% of the spoils. I was terrified because now I was 100% responsible for every dollar entering my bank account. If things performed well, I reaped the rewards. If things didn’t, I suffered the losses.

My response to both was to work more. If I was going to go down in flames, I wanted to know that I did everything I could and didn’t shirk on a minute of work. If I made the wrong decision but I worked it as hard as I could, I’d be happier with the result than if I made the wrong decision and half-assed it.

The recession of the last year didn’t hurt our income one bit, which was surprising since financial services were destroyed, but likely contributed to smaller rates of growth than in year’s past. On the whole, I’m happy I pursued Bargaineering full time because I suspect, had I half-assed it, we’d have been hurt even more by the recession. On the other, my level of work life balance is a bit skewed.

I do spend a lot of time working on various projects, this site included, and many of them are passion projects. I write a scotch blog because it’s a fun hobby. My wife and I write a travel blog because it’s a chance for us to chronicle our vacations. But for bread and butter work, I’m going to restraint myself to the typical “work week.”

Free time has the capability to clear your mind and refresh you in a way that gives you a better angle on a problem. It also gives your brain a rest. As anyone who has ever pulled an allnighter knows, the studying you do at 5 AM just isn’t as good as when you started. 🙂

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3 Responses to “Don’t Work Weekends, Learn to Take Breaks”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    This is the first thing I did when I made the decision to go full-time. I sat down and drew up a weekly work schedule so that I had a clear definition of what was to be worked on and when. With a number of writing and other business related tasks all competing for time it’s easy to just work whenever you’re sitting at the computer. Days, nights, weekends, whatever. That just isn’t healthy.

    So far I’ve been able to stick to the schedule pretty well and it’s allowing me to get most of my work done during the hours I’d normally be at work, freeing up time in the evenings, and allowing me to completely turn my brain off on the weekends if I want to.

  2. jim Says:

    And that downtime is absolutely crucial because it lets your brain recover and work more efficiently whenever you are on the clock. Plus, work always swells up to the time you budget for it. 🙂

  3. Patrick Says:

    That’s the difficult thing about working a full-time job + having a blog that requires a lot of attention. I work a lot of nights and weekends. But I noticed performance improvements when I started placing limits on the times I would actually work. Now I have dedicated evening and weekend time to work, and other time that is just for relaxing and for family. It’s not ideal in the sense that full time blogging with limits would be ideal, but it is a vast improvement of allowing the blogging time to expand into every second of the day.

    If you can’t make it work without weekends, at least set limits. Your family and your sanity will thank you!

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