Number One Reason I Don’t Work On Weekends

— 16 Comments

If you think “family”, this post is likely to surprise you. If you think “rest”, then think again. Don’t get me wrong, these two are up there among the top best reasons why I don’t work on weekends. After all, it is during the weekends that my family gets the best of my attention. And I really feel physically regenerated after a proper weekend’s rest when my HP (to use gaming jargon) is replenished to the extent that I am able to face another week. But if family and rest are not the number one reason to avoid working on weekends, what then?

ZOOMSDAY

French polymath Blaise Pascal once made a startling statement:

All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.

I firmly believe the single most important reason not to work on weekends is YOUR SELF (sic!). Granted, that sounds awfully selfish, but please bear with me. Whenever I find myself in a messy situation, whether professionally or personally, chances are I haven’t taken time to zoom out on my life, in order to assess where I’m coming from and where I’m heading. Everyday I zoom in on the individual details of everyday life, but if I lack the discipline of zooming out regularly, things tend to fall apart. Do you see what I mean?

For about 10 years now, I’ve learned to put aside time for introspection, and for the most part the initiative proved to be a life-saver. On Saturdays, I usually spend more quality time with my family, but Sunday is my ‘Zoomsday’. This is when I traditionally take a long look at the big picture and ask myself some difficult questions such as: Do I like where my personal life is heading? Do I like where my spiritual life is heading? Is my professional life on the right track?

On Zoomsday I prevent doomsday, so to speak. Now, I’m aware that this may sound completely alien to some people. Although I’m not much of a life-coach, experience has thought me that many disastrous decisions we make as professionals, as spouses, as parents, and ultimately as people, could be for the most part avoided if we took time alone to reflect on the important things in our lives, and so reestablish a healthy balance.

As a Christian, I was fortunate to be taught this principle of introspection early in life, in the context of prayer. Ever since I made the decision to allocate time to myself as part of my relationship with God, this has been by far the most important source of energy and balance for everything I do. I can easily tell by comparing good times against bad times. But let’s get back to Pascal.

ZOOMING OUT 101

Sit in a quiet room alone, you say? How is it done anyway? Do I just stare at the walls, or maybe hide in a cave? Here’s a few really brief tips to help you get started, if this is something new to you:

  1. Determine a location: your place of retreat should be distraction-free, no phone (other than for urgent communication), no tablet, no PC etc. For this kind of “weekly retreats” a quiet space at home would be convenient for most of us. This year I started experimenting with 24-hours countryside retreats every few months, and I have found good reasons to want to continue. Very refreshing!
  2. Keep a journal: like many others I’ve found the journal to be an essential tool to support a form of organized reflection. It’s no rocket science, really.
  3. Have a MASTER PLAN for your life to outline your main personal, professional, spiritual etc goals (start reading more here)
  4. Spend at least 2 hours at a time alone – it takes time to get in the mood.

 

BOTTOM LINE

What Pascal basically said is that, if you are neglecting your inner universe, that will reflect in your everyday life. Professionally you might find out that you are less effective because you lack a road-map to help you get some place big, personally you might discover it’s been a long time since you had a significant discussion with the important people in your life, spiritually – if this is of concern to you – you might discover flagrant incongruities between your declared values and their intersection with your life as it is. So make your call soon and start enjoying the benefits of alone-time.

Have you already found Pascal’s conclusion to be true? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to drop a comment.

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Cristian Sălăjan

I am a freelance translator and blogger from multicultural Transylvania. Father of one, two three, husband of one, friend to few. Privately, I've also been interested in/fascinated by topics like web design, theology, probability theory, Christian apologetics, cosmology, quantum mechanics, entrepreneurship and parenting.

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16 responses to Number One Reason I Don’t Work On Weekends

  1. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Thanks for sharing! As always, great post and tips and here is where my comment sounds like a spam :) I actually mean it. I still use to work during weekends sometimes, but lately I just try to reduce to minimum my staring into the screen and weekends are the best time to do that.

    Everything is about going back to the basics. I too find my main source of energy in my relationship with God, in prayer and relationships with people I love. It is amazing how everything is SO simple, is the same for centuries, even millennia and we still need psychologists and motivational books.

    • Cristian Sălăjan November 14, 2012 at 9:35 am

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      Hi Veronica, looks like we got some great things in common! As I was commenting on a discussion group,I just recently rejected a project that was announced at 6PM on a Saturday, due by Monday. Since I was not discussing directly with the client, I told the person two things: 1. I don’t work on weekends, 2. the client probably could not afford anyway to pay for a 24-hour-non-stop-weekend-shift urgency fee (I know a thing or two about Romanians). So far, I can’t remember when was the last Sunday I accepted to work. It’s been many years now. And I can probably count the Saturdays I’ve worked over the past 5-6 years on the fingers of my right hand.

      • Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Hi Cristian! Not only Romanians. Once I told my client that I would charge more for the work done in the weekend and suddenly the translation became less urgent. I still have to polish my negotiation/convincing skills though, but I am on the right way.

        • Cristian Sălăjan November 16, 2012 at 10:21 am

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          Money – the true lingua franca that anyone understands. :-)

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            9 However, those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.

            These are apostle Paul’s words in his first letter to young Thimothy (1Thimothy 6:9,10)

  2. Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Great article, really nice to remind it because I start to feel so worn-out and knacker-ed sometimes and then I permanently try to catch some sleep during the week as not enough sleep at the weekend:-) Pascal was enormously clever and smart guy because he said it completely right and so briskly. Thanks again:-)

  3. Colditz Translation (Ricarda Colditz) November 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm

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    Hello Cristian,
    thanks for this article. I had not realized that you are a Christian, so when I started to read your article I thought ‘he has a very Christian attitude’ and then I came to the bit where you state directly that you get your strength from God. Very well written!
    My husband is actually a pastor so there is no work for me on a Sunday as well. We love how Pascal has communited important thruths in simple ways.

    • Cristian Sălăjan November 15, 2012 at 7:28 am

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      Hello Ricarda, and welcome back! I agree, Pascal was the man.

      You definitely have a strong influence around to prevent you from working on Sundays. :-) Just kidding.

      I would have been really interested to hear more people confirm whether alone-time makes a difference in their lives, professionally or otherwise. Perhaps some people use a different jargon (especially those in the coaching industry), but whatever endeavor one undertakes to plan one’s life, activities and so on, it all (usually) happens in a context of solitary reflection. Even planning your day, drafting a daily TO DO list takes this kind of effort, to a smaller scale. But I was curious to hear from people who go beyond that.

      Thanks for commenting, Ricarda!

  4. Colditz Translation (Ricarda Colditz) November 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm

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    eh, well, ‘communicated’ should have been that word

    • Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Whether one is Christian or atheist or whatever we all need “time out” to escape from the stress of busy lives. This could take many forms from religious retreats to oriental meditation to relaxing on the beach or simply unwinding on your own; It is up to everyone to find their own formula. However, some such procedure is essential for physical and moral health and wellbeing.

  5. Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hello Cristian

    Excellent article! Thank you for sharing. I also do this, not necessarily on Sundays, but regularly. I have learnt this discipline as a student of Eckankar.

    Agree with you that the outer life reflects the inner and that having a good and loving relationship with the Divine is essential to keep balanced and healthy in all areas of one’s life.

    I have found that actually taking a time everyday to be in that quiet space is very important too. Something that I do when in that sacred space is to sing HU a beautiful and pure sound, you will find it here: MiraclesInYourLife.org – I find it very relaxing, nourishing and powerful at the same time.

    I wish you and the readers a good day :)

  6. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Very very true. One day a week for introspection is good for our spiritual health. Thanks for the post.

  7. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Great idea!

  8. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Good reminder.