Not every entrepreneur started out as one. As awesome as it sounds to just “start a business,” the truth is that we live in a real world of practical realities. We have to put up with certain inconveniences like paying rent, feeding ourselves, wearing pants, and otherwise being functioning adults. Usually, that means having a full-time job. And having a full-time job means having to build our independent business on the side.
The good news is this: Even with full-time jobs, most of us have more time than we think.
The weekend is the key to transitioning from side-hustler to full-time independent entrepreneur. Using the weekend isn’t a bonus or a matter of “going the extra mile.” It’s a requirement for anyone who’s serious about breaking the shackles of conventional employment and forging their own path. No exaggeration, here, friends: what you do with your weekend will determine whether or not your business makes it.
I know because I’ve done it. I too was once a conventionally employed side-hustler struggling to find time for my business. While the thought of giving up my whole weekend didn’t seem too appealing, I quickly realized that I didn’t have to. You can utilize the weekend in a way that has a drastic effect on your business’ growth while still enjoying it. You can relax, recharge, and enjoy life while still making time for productivity.
The key is plain and simple efficiency. If you want to make the most of the weekend, here’s what it should look like:
Friday night is the end of the conventional workweek and the beginning of Hustle Time (in Western culture, anyway; modify this plan if your “weekend” falls on different days). Every Friday night, you should devote one hour to your business. It doesn’t particularly matter what kind of work you do; blogging, product development, page design, etc. What matters is that you start something in order to use the week’s momentum to build weekend momentum.
As long as you get a project started on Friday night, you’ll wake up Saturday morning with an invaluable advantage: knowing exactly what you’re doing from the first second. This is vital to finding the motivation to get out of bed and get to work. It may sound funny, but simply knowing what to do allows you to follow Nike’s advice— just do it. Every second spent deciding what to do is an obstacle to making the most of this time.
The beauty is that this hour is just that: one hour. It doesn’t destroy your entire Friday night. You can do it immediately after work (this works particularly well for some because they’re already in “work mode.”), or take a break between “jobs” and do it before bed. However, one thing is crucial: don’t stay up late. Building a business requires sacrifices, and this is one of them. We’ll call it the Hangover Rule— don’t let Friday night ruin Saturday morning.
Having started a project and gotten a good night’s sleep, you’ll have to do the one thing no one wants to do on the weekend: wake up to an alarm. It’s important to get yourself up in the morning on Saturday, almost as if you’re going to work— because you are. It doesn’t have to be quite as early as you’d normally rise, but you don’t want to snooze ‘till noon. Get up at 7 or 8 and make it happen. When you’re done this Saturday shift, you’ll be glad you did.
All you need to dedicate on Saturday is 4 hours. That’s all! If you use them efficiently, they’re all you need. From 7 to 11, 8 to noon, or 9 to 1, you can move your business forward and still have plenty of time to enjoy your day (almost) off. And yes, you can stay up as late as you like on Saturday night binge-watching Netflix, getting forcibly ejected from your favorite drinking establishments, or doing anything else with your well-deserved downtime.
4 hours will be enough so long as you use them. That means making those hours sacred, inviolable, and dedicated only to your business. You can afford zero distraction here. That means no kids, no pets, no partner, nobody is allowed to infringe on this time. Make whatever arrangements you need to make with family and friends to give yourself this time and space to do what needs doing. If you have to find somewhere to isolate yourself for this, do so.
On Sunday, you’ll want to devote 3 hours, preferably in the late afternoon or evening. Allow yourself the luxury of sleeping in, working out, going to church, or doing whatever makes you happy in the morning. Don’t get started until at least 1 o’clock, working until 4 or 5. This lets you complete your work and still have time to wind down and rest up for the week.
Prepping For The Weekend
Your weekend work only needs to amount to 8 hours— basically one full workday. It’s not so much the amount of time you’re putting in, it’s the quality of it. Ensuring you get maximum productivity out of those 8 hours is what makes it worth it. The way to do that is to give yourself a little prep time during the week.
On Monday evening, create your weekend “to do” list, specifying exactly what tasks you want to see accomplished. Estimate how much time you’ll need for each task, then— and this part is crucial— give yourself double the amount of time you think you’ll need. Don’t plan to do 8 hours of work in those 8 hours. Plan to do 4 hours’ worth, allowing for the basic fact that almost everything takes far longer than you think it will! As you get better at estimating how long things take, you can experiment with adding more tasks, but overestimate the time needed at first.
Write this list on Monday, so that you can think about the tasks throughout the week. Different approaches and ideas will probably occur to you as you go through your normal schedule, giving you an even greater productivity edge going into the weekend. As we know, some of the most important work we do happens entirely in our heads. You may even hear something on your favorite podcast that you’ll try on the weekend.
After the weekend, do an honest assessment of your productivity. Do not skip this step! Take the time to seriously analyze whether or not you made the most of your “Weekend 8.” Did you get all the way through your to-do list? If not, why not? Did you plan too many tasks? Were you distracted by a TV or something else going on in the room? Did you sleep in on Saturday because you didn’t go to bed on Friday? Identify what you could’ve done differently, and do it going forward.
Be tough on yourself. Act like you’re your own employee— because you are. This sacrifice is the price that has to be paid in order to do what most people never do: create their own careers from scratch. It’s an accomplishment worth striving for, and definitely worth giving up what’s really a pretty reasonable amount of your personal time. If you found that you accomplished everything on your list with time to spare, ask yourself if you’ve really challenged yourself to do enough. Adjust accordingly.
The weekend represents about 30% of a given week. If you’ve got to balance the need for a regular job with the desire to make it on your own, you have to take advantage of it. By following this plan, you’re not “losing” your weekends. You’re using them! When your business grows as a result, you’ll consider it time very well spent.