Every single entrepreneur has the same number of hours in their week. What they do with those hours is a choice. Consuming, complaining and wasting their time or planning, thinking and executing? While being on top form for five days out of seven will get you so far, the weekends can mark the difference between just getting by and smashing your goals out the park.
Jake Thompson is the founder of Compete Every Day and describes himself as “your chief encouragement officer.” Thompson delivers keynotes to blue chip organizations worldwide, runs the popular Compete Every Day podcast and has created a whole host of books, resources and merchandise designed to ensure his “competitor nation” audience bring their best self to every day.
One of Thompson’s slogans is “weekends separate winners,” an ethos he practices and preaches. I interviewed him to find out why and how ambitious entrepreneurs can make the most of every weekend with just 30 minutes.
Weekends are an opportunity
Thompson admits he used to waste his Saturdays. “I’d sleep until noon, I’d try to avoid yard work. I wouldn’t even consider working on my work goals.” It was only later that he realized what an opportunity he was missing out on. Thompson then pledged to spend “fifteen minutes every Saturday, fifteen minutes every Sunday, to add 26 hours over the course of the year,” revolutionising his productivity. He now believes that is exactly how weekends separate winners.
Weekends are an opportunity to show up when the world is telling you should be taking a step back, even if only for fifteen minutes. “You can’t achieve greatness by only doing work on the days you feel motivated, just like you won’t get in shape only going to the gym on the days you fancy it,” added Thompson.
He advises you keep your good habits going consistently by not slacking off on the weekend. Rest, self-care, of course, but don’t drop the ball on your goals because that will make it much harder to pick them up again on Monday morning. You don’t want to waste time finding motivation to start, you want to have never completely stopped.
Whilst it doesn’t sound like much, the key is in exactly what you do with those 30 minutes. “This requires a commitment to your future, a system to make success easier, and accountability to keep you showing up.”
The weekend plan
So what should you do in those 30 minutes to ensure your weekend separates you as a winner? Thompson wants you to do two things; identify your priorities and then time block your week. He strongly believes, “you can’t win next week unless you have a plan entering it.” Start by ask the big questions. “What are your big targets to achieve, what obstacles do you need to be aware of, and where is your calendar already committed?” This creates the foundation of an intentional working week that revolves around your goals, not those of others.
“Identifying all of this allows you to time block when you’ll commit to working on key priorities instead of hoping you find the time.” says Thompson. Time blocking means allocating specific parts of your week to the specific tasks you’ve identified as important. Whilst this may take a matter of minutes, you’re now in control of your time and it’s less likely to be hijacked by distractions.
Thompson also uses his weekends to reset, which means, “getting a good workout, writing or diving into a business or mental performance book.” Whilst he knows he won’t finish any of his big projects within those fifteen minutes, he can use it to set up strong.
The outcome of your commitment to making your weekends matter will be huge. Thompson knows that just half an hour over two otherwise recovery days will mean huge progress over the course of a year in terms of productivity, which then compounds. “Most people talk about wanting more hours in the day, and this is a practical way of feeling like you do.” Your upcoming week now has purpose and structure, so you can make more from the same time. The benefits stack and the results become clear. You’ll wonder what you did before.
Rather than trying to change the world in those 30 minutes, what Thompson is really advocating is setting up your working week far better so your output is both higher and better directed.
Don’t start each Monday by picking up the mess you left on Friday evening. That admin is a huge waste of the best time of the week. You’ll also be on the back foot if your inbox begins filling up with other people’s requests. Instead of your week starting with chaos, begin as you mean to go on with intentional work towards your highest priorities. Just 30 minutes over the weekend gets you ahead avoids you playing catch up.
Over to you
Most people take their foot off the gas the moment the clock hits 5pm on Friday, or even sooner in some cases. They put their ambitions on hold, they close their laptop and they get on the slippery slope to mediocrity. Rather than intentionally resting or actively working they meander through a mid-ground of averageness. They overindulge, overconsume and overcommit. They don’t apply the same self-awareness and self-discipline that they did in the week because they follow the customs that society imposes for how they spend their Saturday and Sunday. This has to stop, and it can stop right now if you make it so. Weekends separate winners.