Spencer Rascoff is only 37. Yet, the Harvard grad and father of three has already accomplished so much.
He co-founded Hotwire.com and served as a VP for Expedia EXPE +0.46%; he held the roles of CFO, vice president of marketing and COO at Zillow; and in 2008, Rascoff was promoted to chief executive of the popular real estate information site.
Wondering how the Zillow CEO has achieved and maintained his success? His weekend routine has something to do with it.
“My weekends are an important time to unplug from the day-to-day and get a chance to think more deeply about my company and my industry,” Rascoff says. “Even when I’m technically not working, I’m always processing in the background and thinking about the company. Weekends are a great chance to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.”
He says he always spends weekends with his family. “Even if I’m on the road on a Friday and have to be back in that same city the following week, I always come home no matter what.”
So who are “successful people,” and what exactly are they doing on weekends?
Sometimes success is defined by an internal compass, says Marsha Egan, a board certified professional coach.
“A successful person is usually one who has achieved a measure of happiness and fulfillment in their work, family, and spiritual life (however that is defined for the individual),” Kurow adds. “Most successful people need to feel a sense of accomplishment and are self-motivated to tackle the next challenge.”
Here are 14 things successful people do (or should be doing) on weekends:
1. Make time for family and friends. This is especially important for those who don’t spend much time with their loved ones during the week.
2. Exercise. Everyone needs to do it, and if you can’t work out 4 to 5 days during the workweek, you need to be active on weekends to make up for some of that time, Vanderkam says. It’s the perfect opportunity to clear your mind and create fresh ideas.
“I know an owner of a PR firm who takes walks in the park with his dog to spark ideas about how to pitch a new client, or what angle to take with the press for a story,” Kurow says.
Cohen suggests spin classes and outdoor cycling in the warmer months. “Both are energizing and can be organized among people with shared interests. For example, it is not uncommon for hedge fund folks and Wall Street professionals to ride together on weekends. It is a great way to establish and cultivate relationships based on membership in this elite professional community.”
3. Pursue a passion. “There’s a creative director of a greeting card company who went back to school to pursue an MFA because of her love of art,” Kurow says. “Pursuing this passion turned into a love of poetry that she now writes on weekends.”
“Successful people make time for what is important or fun,” Egan adds. “They make space for activities that add to their life balance.”
4. Vacation. Getting away for the weekend provides a great respite from the grind of an intense week at work, Cohen says.
5. Disconnect. The most successful people avoid e-mail for a period of time, Vanderkam says. “I’m not saying the whole weekend, but even just a walk without the phone can feel liberating. I advocate taking a ‘tech Sabbath.’ If you don’t have a specific religious obligation of no-work time, taking Saturday night to mid-day Sunday off is a nice, ecumenical time that works for many people.”
6. Volunteer. “I know a commercial real estate broker who volunteers to help with cook-off events whose proceeds are donated to the Food Bank,” Kurow says. “The volunteer work provides a balance to the heavy analytical work she does all week and fulfills her need to be creative — she designs the promotional material for the non-profit.”
Cohen says a lot of successful people participate in fundraising events. “This is a great way to network and to meet others with similar interests,” he says. “The visibility also helps in branding a successful person as philanthropic.”
7. Avoid chores. Every weekend has a few have-to-dos, but you want these to take the minimum amount of time possible, Vanderkam explains. Create a small window for chores and errands, and then banish them from your mind the rest of the time.