Work hard, play hard. You’ve probably heard someone say this to justify a weekend of partying after a long week of work. While this can often be the case, there are some valid reasons why this mantra can make for a worthwhile lifestyle.
As a matter of fact, a 2016 study of university students showed that those who aimed to work hard to pursue achievements also desired, and made time for, plenty of play and leisure. This wasn’t a group of fraternity jocks cramming in their assignments so they can hit up the next dorm room party. Rather, these students found great success and enjoyment by making a strong effort to pursue both academics and extracurricular activities.
When you concentrate on working hard, you’re able to play harder. There’s no worry about work and you have the time to do what you enjoy with the people you love. Here’s how Calendar can make that all happen:
Start Your Day Earlier
If your kids get home from school between four and five in the afternoon and you’re not finished working until around six, that’s a fair amount of time you’re unable to spend with them. If you don’t have kids, then you’re limiting the amount of time you can spend each day pursuing hobbies or other enjoyable activities that balance out the stress of work. One simple solution to both of these problems is to start your day just a bit earlier.
Not everyone is an early bird, but the benefits of morning productivity are certainly worth a try. For remote workers, an extra 15 minutes before kids get up over summer vacation might be the time you get the most done all day. For commuters, some extra time for exercise and a good breakfast will kickstart your day and have you clocked in with optimal energy.
Of course, a successful morning hinges on a proper nighttime routine. You can’t expect to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed if you have a habit of staying up through the night. Using your Calendar, balance your daily and nightly schedules to make sure you’re getting the sleep you need and following a routine that suits you best.
Keep Work at Work
With more and more people working from home, leaving work at work has become increasingly difficult. On the other hand, working from home provides more distractions than an office setting which can lead to an abundance of play. It’s important to figure out how to balance both and keep them separate from each other whenever possible.
If you don’t already, try working with deadlines. Challenge yourself to get that report in by three in the afternoon instead of grinding it out all day. The last two hours of your shift can be spent getting more done than you would’ve without setting such a goal. This approach works well for both remote workers and office employees trying to optimize their time.
With deadlines set, you’re less likely to push assignments back and ending up finishing them after hours. You won’t have to take your laptop to your son’s basketball game or cram in some emails during family dinner.
Be Smart About Your Breaks
Working hard does not mean cutting out daily breaks. In fact, it’s actually the opposite. Taking regular, scheduled breaks gives your mind and body an opportunity to recover and maintain productivity over long periods of time.
The tricky part is not letting your breaks get out of hand. It can take over 20 minutes to regain focus after a single distraction, which will extend your breaks a lot longer than you originally intended. While distractions can strike at any time, your guard is down during a break making you more susceptible to their traps.
There’s nothing wrong with using your break time to scroll through social media or watch highlights from last night’s game. Just be careful that you don’t spiral out of control and come to after an hour of idle behavior. Plan your breaks in advance using your Calendar so you’re already aware of when you will start and end before getting carried away.
You will lose a lot of time and productivity if your workspace and workflows are unorganized. The 10 minutes you spend digging for a document or trying to locate a password do nothing but slow you down. These small lapses of organizational balance add up quickly and can cause you to waste hours of valuable work time each week.
Start by organizing your time. Of course, Calendar is the optimal tool for keeping your meetings and schedules in check. You won’t find an unexpected wrench in your plans if all your deadlines, meeting times, and phone calls are all listed out properly.
Next, take a look at your workspace. Do you have an outdated filing system that could use some improvements? Are you relying too much on your memory causing you to forget important details? Look for solutions that will keep work flowing freely without any snags to slow you down.
Find Your Why
What motivates you to work every day? Is it to provide for your family? Are you building up your resume and portfolio in pursuit of your dream job? Whatever your ‘why’ is, grab onto it and use it as the motivation you need to work hard every day.
For many, the promise of play and leisure is the motivation needed to make it to the weekend. However, this incentive can only get you so far. Many people with this mindset will find themselves dragging their feet all the way until Friday afternoon, getting very little done in the process.
Latch onto a ‘why’ that’s more rewarding. You’ll be able to enjoy just as much play as everyone else guilt-free knowing that you’ve been able to accomplish so much more while pursuing loftier goals than weekend excursions.
Work and play should not be taking time away from each other. Use your Calendar to find a balance between the two so that your work gets done and your play gets enjoyed to the absolute fullest.
Image Credit: tatiana syrikova; pexels; thank you!
Hunter Meine is a BYU-Idaho graduate, husband, father, and writer. When he's not writing, he's playing sports or enjoying the outdoors with his wife and daughter.