Over at BNET last week, I tackled two issues: daydreams and weekends. Yes, it was that kind of week. A bit crazed, but a lot of fun. I was in Chicago Thursday through Sunday, singing at the American Choral Directors Association conference with my choir, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. We did the full-on college-style choir tour, making this the first time in a decade I have shared a hotel room with three people not related to me. I get the sneaky suspicion that the “young” part of the chorus describes me less and less, especially when I elected to go to sleep at 10:30pm on Saturday night. Yes, Saturday night with no kids, in Chicago with the St. Patrick’s Day parade revelry going on, and I was out at a geezer-ish hour.
Between the sleep and the singing, I didn’t do much weekend work. That’s a good thing, but here’s a more intriguing question: When is smart to work weekends?
That’s what I asked over at BNET last Tuesday. Checking email randomly is a recipe for having work stress take over your whole week. But I think there are four circumstances when working on your off days has some merits. First is if you’re starting a sideline — particularly a creative one. If you sell ads during the week, I see nothing wrong with making pottery to sell on Etsy on Saturdays. If anything, this creative outlet will spark some more interesting thinking for your regular job. Second, we all need strategic thinking time to plan our weeks. If you can’t get quiet time alone at your office, seize it on the weekends. Third, sometimes we’re aiming for something big. A career making project might be worth a sacrifice of some free time. And finally, occasionally we have to scale back our work-week hours for family reasons. That’s fine, but if you don’t want to scale back your career progression at the same time, then weekends are a good time to make the hours up.
I also posted on How Daydreams Improve Productivity. It’s always wise to think through what can go wrong with our projects. Indeed, I’m sure we can all identify a few product launches or military campaigns which would have benefited from such strategic pessimism. The problem is when we fail to spend an equal number of our 168 hours pondering what can go right. I offered a few questions for glass half empty types to ask themselves to get the daydreams going. One: If the CEO of your company called you into her office and said she was so impressed with your work that she wanted to put you in charge of your dream project, what would you ask for?
No, this scenario will probably never happen. But it’s still a productive question to ask, because it helps clarify in which direction you’d like to send your career. That sounds like time well spent to me.
When are you willing to work weekends? And what is your most “productive” daydream?