Successful people around the world seem to jump at the chance to share their insane workday schedules. It may seem intrinsically helpful to know the inner workings of individuals who have acquired an insane amount of wealth in their lives, however, it can sometimes come off as condescending.
Boasting about how much an Olympic athlete eats for breakfast or how many continuing education courses a tech giant can watch before breakfast can become overwhelming. Not everyone has the luxury of trying out these different ideologies and productivity hacks, especially people with limited resources and time.
It is almost impossible to feel like you can measure up to complete the routine in the first place. However, when I was introduced to some weekend routines by the world’s wealthiest, I was a bit more incentivized to try it out.
Why? Because Amazon creator and billionaire bachelor Jeff Bezos tends to actually enjoy his weekends. With some research, I found a few of his key weekend rituals and decided to try them out myself.
Jeff Bezos is all about regulated sleep
First of all, Jeff Bezos makes sleep a regulated and necessary part of his schedule. He sleeps from 10 pm to 5 am every weeknight, and is known to lay around a little longer on the weekends. This is paramount, as having an irregular sleep schedule can wreak havoc on the human body.
Over the weekend, I was in bed by 10 pm every evening. My natural clock (with the help of my two large cats) tends to wake me around 6 am, so heading to sleep at a regulated time helped me to get 8 hours of sleep.
After the first night, I realized my geographic location (across the street from a block of bars) would probably require earplugs to properly enter REM sleep. (And that’s okay.) Adding soft surfaces to your home can help reduce reverb, and insulating windows with sealant, drapes or soundproof curtains can be especially helpful.
If you’re not getting your recommended amount of sleep — or you aren’t able to engage in the full REM cycle on a regular basis — then you may be in for much more than just overwhelm and under-preparedness.
Due to exhaustion, your bodily systems might not maintain productive and rhythmic function. Slower reaction times can lead to irritable behavior, aggression, and tense emotions. You may feel out of balance, and it could greatly affect the environment around you. What’s worse? About half of adult Americans aren’t getting the sleep they should.
Jeff Bezos doesn’t skip breakfast
Regardless of if it is a working weekday or the weekend, this man does not skip breakfast. Because he does not consider himself a morning person — even though he is awake by 5 am on weekdays — he tends to begin his days with a drawn-out breakfast with his family.
“I like to read the newspaper, I like to have coffee, I like to have breakfast with my kids before they go to school,” Bezos explains.
In addition to that, his breakfasts are always made from whole, unprocessed foods.
While I often try to hydrate and stick with protein in the mornings, especially around a workout routine, many days I simply forget breakfast. On weekends, a hectic schedule tends to detract from my time in the kitchen and at the table. I also tend to stray from cooking or preparing full meals when it is just me here to enjoy them.
This is the opposite of how it should be, and I recognize that. So during my Bezos-inspired weekend, I chose to make myself actual meals in the kitchen. While I had no interest in recreating Bezos’ now-legendary run-in with a breakfast octopus dish, I did source produce from a local farmer’s market, bake my own sourdough and breakfast pastries, and take time to make a decadent whole food fruit parfait.
Enjoying whole meals with no outside distractions (Screens don’t belong at the table, right?) allowed me to engage with my senses. The nutrients kept me full for much longer than usual, and I was able to fully enjoy other tasks and moments throughout the day without the added necessity of blood sugar regulation. I am a big fan of this particular ritual and will be keeping it as a staple in my weekend routine.
Jeff Bezos understands the need for mindless activities
While most of his week is filled with important meetings, travel, business deals, and the like, Bezos revels in mindless activities during the weekend, and even early on his weekdays.
While most of us value quiet and downtime, Bezos enjoys completing mindless tasks and chores on the weekends (and between meetings during the week). He has been quoted saying, “My puttering time is very important to me.”
In a study conducted by Jonathan Schooler, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California department of psychological and brain sciences, participants were asked to complete a test. Then, each member was given a task to complete. Some completed undemanding tasks, some asked to work on demanding tasks, and the third batch was allowed to rest for 12 minutes. The last part of the project involved completing a second test.
The study found that only subjects assigned the undemanding task were able to improve their score. Expands Schooler, “It seems if you have a non-demanding task, it sort of breaks things up and prevents you from getting immersed in one train of thought.”
And he’s not wrong. Though I try not to engage in too much structure on the weekends as it is, I allowed myself to complete more chores as I encountered issues, instead of trying to batch my work all into one or two hours.
Completing tasks such as organizing my bookshelf, putting various pairs of shoes away, doing dishes, watering my plants, and sweeping all became much more enjoyable. I allowed myself to be mindful during the “mindless” tasks, which often led to more inspiration for writing ideas, which I jotted down briefly to return to during the week.
Jeff Bezos believes in “work-life harmony”
While the man loves his breakfast and can usually be seen enjoying a slow meal with his four children most mornings, he tends to play host on the weekends. Celebrity friends — including Ciara and Russell Wilson, David Geffen, Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Scooter Braun —, family, and acquaintances have enjoyed his pancakes on the patio.
When he’s not in the boardroom or at headquarters, he actively works to keep the majority of his work from detracting from his social life. “I like the phrase ‘work-life harmony,’” Bezos says. “It makes me better at home. If I’m happy at home, it makes me a better employee, a better boss.”
As a writer alone, it can be difficult to block off an entire two days on the weekend to enjoy life. But I did what I could to engage in (safe) social interactions without the stress of impending work hanging over me. I made (and kept) coffee plans with friends, took myself on a walk outside, completed chores, worked out, and read a book.
All of these things are leisurely and allowed for me to feel like I was on a mini-vacation. But that was when I realized that that is what weekends were initially meant for. Not “to get ahead for next week” or to take on extra gig work or obligations. And while many of us do not have the privilege of the five-day workweek (or four or three), we can absolutely develop a routine that will benefit us across our days on and off in the workplace.
At the end of the day, it is up to us to create boundaries for our own work and to allow ourselves time to create, think, and grow. While productivity is important, it can lead to massive overwhelm and a lack of inspiration. Block off a couple of days a week to try out some of Bezos’ hacks.
And if you’re in for a long weekend, check out this list of activities successful people engage in during their “off time.”
Just remember: you can’t truly be productive without rest.