6 things successful people like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos do on weekends to make their Mondays more productive

Bill Gates
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There are hundreds of thousands of daily habits you can adopt to stay inspired and boost your productivity, but how do you decide on which ones to focus on?

Over the past five years, I've interviewed and studied more than 300 highly accomplished people, from business leaders and university presidents to Olympians and artists, about their daily routines.

Here's what some of the most successful people do on weekends to make their weekdays easier and more productive:

1. They catch up on sleep

Your body (and brain) won't perform at its best if you don't give it proper rest. Of the several hundred people I interviewed, their sleep times average out at seven hours and 29 minutes per night. Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey and Jeff Bezos all say they get at least seven hours of sleep per night, as well.

But it can be hard to get in seven and a half hours, especially if you have a demanding job that often requires you to stay at the office late. If you find yourself falling behind during the week, use the weekend to catch up.

Don't take this as an excuse to sleep five hours per night during the week, followed by 12 per night over the weekend, though. Just know that catching up on a few more hours over the weekend is better than nothing.

2. They spend time with their loved ones

If you feel guilty about how little time you're able to spend with your family and friends Monday through Friday, you're not alone. Whether you choose to work out with your spouse or take your kids to the park, doing it during the weekend will save you from feeling any guilt during the weekdays.

"On the weekends we have [a nanny] in the morning, so [my wife] Tiff and I go work out Saturday mornings. Then the rest of the weekend it's just us," Mark Cuban said at South by Southwest in 2014. "It's us putting them to bed. It's us at dinner. We try to be as normal as possible."

Keep in mind, however, that if you need to get some work done over the weekend, aim to do it Saturday morning so you're not thinking about it during the rest of the weekend.

3. They strategize on the week ahead

Successful people always strategize on their week ahead so they can get a head start on Monday. This can mean anything from blocking off a whole half-day on the weekend to spending 10 minutes on Sunday evening looking at next week's calendar and taking notes on what you have coming up. Once Monday morning hits, you'll be 110 percent ready.

"Saturday I take off. I hike. And then Sunday is reflections, feedback, strategy and getting ready for the rest of the week," Jack Dorsey tells Brooke Potter, author of "Becoming More Productive: The Secrets of Successful People Revealed."

Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates play this 'crazy' game to unwind
Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates play this 'crazy' game to unwind

4. They make time for what energizes them

While successful people make plans to ensure they don't waste their days, they also make a point to relax — and there are plenty of hours in the weekend to do that. Many will eat breakfast at a more leisurely pace than weekdays allow, curl up on the couch with some books, meditate or work out.

Richard Branson's Saturday evenings consist of more partying (to each their own, right?). On Sundays, he engages in more physical activities like rock jumping, paddle boarding and boat races, Branson tells the Telegraph.

In a Reddit AMA session in 2014, Gates said he prefers to keep his time off as mellow as possible. "Playing Bridge is a pretty old-fashioned thing in a way that I really like," he said. "I was watching my daughter ride horses this weekend and that is also a bit old fashioned but fun. I do the dishes every night — other people volunteer but I like the way I do it."

5. They take care of chores

Chores are important and if you don't get to them, they'll pile up and turn into a cloud of anxiety that lingers over your head. Successful people make time to take care of their chores, whether it's shopping for groceries, doing laundry or taking care of bills, but they don't let it take over their weekends completely. (If they did, there'd be no time to do any relaxing or reflecting.)

To properly space out your chores, you'll have to prioritize getting some of them done during the weekdays. It can be as simple as setting aside 15 minutes before bedtime each night to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Then, when the weekend hits, schedule at least an hour or two to complete the chores that require more time and attention. You'll feel much better and in control once you've finished them.

6. They set aside alone time and reflect

Reflection and alone time is healthy for your mind and body. It will also help you to better reach your goals. Successful people use the weekend to reflect or meditate on things that are important to them (how can they make more time for those things?), things that have been bothering them (what are some good solutions?) and their career (how can they improve their skills and performance?).

A Harvard study found that people who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons they learned performed 23 percent better compared to those who didn't. Other studies have found that self-reflection can help you become a happier, more productive and less burned out person. Even if you struggle with the idea of self-reflection, at least try doing it on the weekends. It won't be long before you start to see some of the benefits.

Benjamin Spall is the co-author of "My Morning Routine," which was named as one of Amazon's best business books of 2018 and a Financial Times book of the month. He has written for the New York Times, New York Observer, Quartz, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and more.

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