I used to feel guilty for not working on the weekend. And that’s crazy, right?? One of the biggest benefits of working for yourself is having the power to set your own hours and have more freedom. Yet there I was, feeling like I was a bad business owner if I wasn’t working through my weekends. Working on the weekends meant that I was passionate about my job. It meant that I was dedicated. That I was going to be successful. At least that’s the impression I was getting from the many business owners out there that I followed. I would see their pretty posts about working weekends or late nights and think, “Wow, that’s what it takes! If I want to be anything like them, I’ve got to make those sacrifices too.”
This all connects back to the “hustle” mentality and although I’ve always considered myself to be someone who is against it, it’s crept its way into my life and business time and time again. And that’s what was happening with my weekends. Client work would pile up and I would have to work on Saturday to meet my next deadline. Or because I was so slammed with client work during the week, the weekend was my only chance to work on my own business. And sometimes it was simply because I felt the pressure to constantly be creating/doing more in my business so that I didn’t fall behind. All of these things led me to work during the weekends and it felt normal, which is probably the saddest part.
Last spring was particularly bad. I was overbooked with clients and in the middle of trying to launch my course, so I worked ALL THE TIME. And by the summer, I was totally exhausted. So I took a step back and acknowledged just how bad it had gotten. Again, I truly felt guilty if I didn’t work on the weekend. And the more I thought about that, the more I realized that this was not the type of business that I wanted to run. Something had to change.
I truly felt guilty if I didn’t work on the weekend. And the more I thought about that, the more I realized that this was not the type of business that I wanted to run.
Since that day, I’ve barely worked on the weekends. But I definitely haven’t been perfect. Every single weekend, I get a little voice in the back of my head telling me to open my laptop. It’s a constant struggle, but I’ve been able to stick to a couple of things:
- ABSOLUTELY NO CLIENT WORK. This is my non-negotiable. Sorry clients, but no project is urgent enough to make me work on a Saturday.
- No responding to emails. I’ll still check my email occasionally, but I never respond to anything until Monday.
- No posting on social media. I’m not super strict about this, but really it’s been a habit of mine for a long time. I may put something on my story, but since my feed is primarly work-related, it just makes sense to not post anything on the weekend.
- The ONLY work I’m allowed to do is for my own business. And I can ONLY do work if I’m feeling inspired and passionate about it in that moment. Otherwise, it can wait. This is my one exception because hey, as a creative, sometimes inspiration strikes and you have to act on it. There are plenty of Saturdays when I’ll be cleaning our apartment and have an idea for a blog post that I just have to write down.
So now that my weekends are actually mine again, I’ve seen so many benefits within my business. I’ve experiened less burnout and learned how to work more efficiently during the actual work week. But overall, I feel like the best change that I’ve seen is just the feeling of having more control over my business (and not like my business is controlling me). We all need boundaries to keep our work from taking over our lives. There are moments when work should not be the priority, and for me, that’s the weekend.
To wrap things up, I wanted to give you some actionable advice on how to give up working on the weekend! Because let’s be honest, setting boundaries within your business is much easier said than done. So here are a few things that you can do to make the transition easier:
- Start by blocking out time in your work week to do the things that were taking over your weekend.
For example, I was spending my weekends working on stuff for my own business – creating my course, scheduling emails, updating my website, etc. So I decided to re-arrange my work schedule and block off every single Wednesday to only work on that stuff. I call it my “Creative Health Day” and I wrote a whole other blog post about it if you want to read more about that experience. Maybe for you, it makes more sense to block off a couple hours one day a week or one day a month. Regardless, you need to make sure that you are actively making time to get things done during the week and manage your time better so that you can free up your weekends.
- Re-evaluate your workload capacity.
If you find yourself so overwhelmed with client work that you have to work on the weekend, it might be time to scale back how many projects you’re taking on. This can be scary, but so so worth it. Less stress and burnout means you can serve your clients better. And if taking on less clients feels too risky financially for you, it also might be time to raise your prices!
- Add more space to your project timelines.
If you can’t take on less clients, another solution is to lengthen the timeline for your projects so that you aren’t so rushed. Even just adding an extra couple of days can make all the difference! To see how I structure my branding projects, go grab the freebie in this post.
Look, hustling can be beneficial at times. It’s a good thing to work hard at something you’re passionate about! But you don’t have to work on the weekend to be successful. Let me just repeat that so it sinks in. You don’t have to work on the weekend to be successful. You can work efficiently and scale your business while reserving your weekends for all of the things in life that are so much more important that work.