• In honour of Presidents’ Day, some people are celebrating with a long weekend.
• Business Insider reached out to some experts on how to set yourself up for success when you have an extra day off.
• Their suggestions focused on prioritising tasks, setting technology guidelines, and spending time with loved ones.
Presidents’ Day is here, and that could mean you have an extra day off to add to your normal weekend.
But how should you spend your long weekend?
If you’re not sure how to make the most of the next few days, we’ve got some ideas.
In addition to reflecting on the legacy of the US presidency, here are 17 things successful people can do before and over long weekends:
1. They plan ahead
Many successful people plan out their activities for the holiday weekend well in advance so that they are not drawn into the temptation of working, said Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “The Humour Advantage.” They make reservations, book tee times, or schedule activities with their kids.
“They’re strategic enough to have an action plan for the three-day weekend, but flexible enough to tackle any urgent work issues that may arise,” said Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job.”
2. They prepare at work
“Most of what they do happens before they leave for a long weekend so that they are psychologically free to relax and enjoy it,” Kerr said.
This includes saying proper goodbyes to colleagues, cleaning up their office, finishing any pressing tasks, and creating a clear plan of action for when they return to the office so they can hit the ground running.
3. They unplug
Not only do they set guidelines, but truly successful people actually put their phones and laptops away – at least for part of the weekend.
Don’t sit and stare at screens during your time off. Unplug and try to use as little technology as possible. It will help you sleep better and can keep your mind clear.
4. They set technology guidelines
Successful people set email and phone rules for themselves and the people they work with, so that people understand when, if at all, they will be available to respond or pick up.
“This can communicate to employees how critical it is for everyone to take a complete break, and that any and all work can wait,” Kerr explained. “Although employees may assume this, they often need to hear it from their leader to be able to completely relax over a long weekend.”
5. They do a little bit of nothing
“With the breakneck pace of business all week long, many successful people do plan – but sometimes those plans include a little bit of nothing,” Taylor said. “The workweek is about deadlines and meetings, so successful people enjoy having a block of time, or a day, to be uncommitted and unscheduled.”
6. They spend time with family and friends
During the week, it’s hard to give focused attention to those you care about. “A three-day weekend lets you schedule this critical quality time,” Taylor said.
7. They exercise
Successful people understand how important exercise is to their physical and mental health – so they don’t get lazy and skip their workouts over holiday weekends.
8. They volunteer
Many successful people find giving their time to worthy charitable groups or causes to be extremely rewarding.
9. They get outdoors and enjoy nature
A long weekend is the perfect time to get outside and breathe fresh air, especially after being relatively sequestered inside all week, Taylor explained.
It doesn’t matter if it’s January or July – take advantage of the great outdoors.
10. They plan ‘staycations’ or quick weekend getaways
“Some successful people plan a mini vacation in their own backyard,” Kerr said. “Staycations hold the appeal of still allowing for a complete mental break but without the added stress or planning involved in a trip somewhere away, wherein people run the risk of returning to work more exhausted than when they left.”
Another good option: Taking a short trip to a destination that only an hour or two away. This is a great way to visit a new place, but doesn’t require too much travel or planning.
11. They engage in an activity that supports their passion
“This is a great time to unwind with your favourite pastime or hobby, whether it’s shopping, golfing, socialising, reading, painting, or something else,” Taylor said. Do the things that make you happy; the things you don’t always have time for during the week or over a regular two-day weekend.
12. They don’t think about work
This is a big challenge for a lot of us – but the most successful people don’t stress about that upcoming presentation, or that missed deadline from the previous week. Instead, they focus on enjoying whatever it is they’re doing now.
13. They recharge
We all need to rest and recharge our batteries from time to time. Successful people use three-day weekends to do this.
They do make plans and stay active – but they also make sure to catch up on sleep and schedule some free time at the end of the weekend to unwind.
14. They sometimes switch days off
Some successful people will take a different day off instead, and go in to work on the vacation day when they have the office to themselves and can get more work done without being distracted, Kerr explained.
“If you have the luxury of being able to do this it can be a double win – participating in personal activities when it’s quieter and getting more work accomplished at the same time.”
15. They think ahead
On the last night of long weekends, many successful people think about the short week ahead and key goals they need to accomplish, Taylor said. And they do this without stressing themselves out.
16. They protect their time
Successful people know that their time is precious. That goes double for any time you have to yourself.
So don’t stumble into time-sucking pitfalls over your three day weekend.
Life’s too short to waste your time off.
17. They enjoy themselves
A miserable long weekend will probably spill over into the rest of your week. Try to focus on yourself a bit, at least for a portion of the three days you’ve got off. Do something that gives you fulfillment or pleasure.
Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.
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