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Wanna Be Successful? Rethink Your Weekends

Source: Penguin Group

Guest Author Blog by Laura Vanderkam is the author of "What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off."

When we think of successful people, we often picture what they do during the work week. But have you ever wondered how such folks can conjure up enough energy to conquer the world Monday through Friday?

Here's the secret: It may be because they're using their weekends well.

Successful people know that to get great things done during the week, you need to be as mindful of how you use your days off as how you use your days on.

Here are three tips for getting more out of your weekends.

1. Make a Plan.

As former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told me, "You have to set an appointment to go off the grid as surely as to go on it." Weekends are too precious to be totally leisurely about leisure. If you don't think about how you want to spend your time, you can wind up not doing anything because you spend all day figuring out what you'd like to do. You don't have to schedule every minute.

But come up with three to five activities that would give you pleasure, and think about how and when you'd like to make those happen.

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2. Minimize the Have-to-Dos.

You may think weekends are a great time to get caught up on chores. But spend all weekend running errands and you'll hit Sunday exhausted, not recharged. If you can't get chores done during the week, create a small window of time on the weekend to tackle them. That way, if you're looking at a dirty floor at some other time, you'll know there's a time for picking up floors, and now is not that time. Likewise, you may have to return some emails on weekends. But don't be a slave to your smart phone. Designate a small period of time for catch-up work and otherwise unplug as much as you can.

The longer you're away from your inbox, the more relaxed -- and creative -- you'll likely be.

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3. Win the Week Ahead.

Spending an hour or two on Sunday night planning the next 168 hours. (24/7 adds up to 168 hours) Glance at your calendar, but don't just ask what you have to do. Ask what you want to do. What can you do in the next week to make progress toward big goals in your personal and professional life? Schedule those high-value activities in. Move other things around if you have to! But know that once Monday morning hits, you'll be in a firefight. Best to figure out how to take new ground, rather than defending the hill you're on.

A little bit of planning done on the weekend can turn the week into a victory rather than a slog toward Friday night.

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About the author: Laura Vanderkam is the author of "What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off" (Portfolio, 2012). She is a member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, writes the 168 Hours blog for CBS MoneyWatch. You can follow her on Twitter @lvanderkam