What Do You Do On The Weekends?

Chris Dixon has a good short post up titled What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten yearsHe wrote it on Saturday so it’s got a delightful self-referential twist to it now that he’s a partner at A16Z.

I’ve always thought this was a great interview question. I’ve used it with founders of companies I’m looking at investing in, TechStars founders, and execs for early stage companies. Basically, anyone who I’m trying to understand what they are thinking about long term. The variety of answers is fascinating, often deeply personal, and occasionally very confusing to me. But they are always enlightening.

My answer for a long time has been “write, read, spend time with Amy, run long distances, catch up on what just happened the previous week, and recharge myself to go back into the fray on Monday morning.” Amy likes to look at me on Sunday night and assess whether I’m patched up and ready to go again for another week. Unfortunately, there have recently been too many Sunday’s where her assessment is that I’m not and need another day, which I rarely have.

The idea, and execution, for all of the Startup Revolution stuff came out of what I do on the weekend. A lot of thinking about it rolled around in the back of my brain during long runs. While I wrote Startup Communities during two months last summer, most of my work on Startup Life was done between 5am and 9am during the weekend and over the weekends during September and October. And Startup Boards seems to be following the same pattern for me.

  • For my brain, I read, write + code. For my body, I work out.

    In good weather, I’ll bike + walk.

    • …and by bike, I hope you mean the motorized version in your pic – I’ve got an ’86 xl600 I love to get out on when its running 🙂

      • actually mean bicycle, tho I’ll ride whenever I can

  • The “what smart folks do others will in 10 years” is interesting and not easy for me to get my brain around. Headed over for the read.

    On the weekends, I strike out into nature for a hike, bike ride, snowboard, surf. Social time is pretty typical as well and in France, that’s a meal and wine. Love it. Also local markets.

    Past two weekends I’ve done very, very little and just “hung out” with my wife. First time we’ve had two weekends like that in over a year and I feel “fully charged”. Good to mix it up.

  • reminds me of the realization I had with April many moons ago re: a career path in software. after years of graphic design work/training/school, and on the verge of moving overseas to continue this vector, I turned to April and said “you know, when I’m drawing, all I can think about is writing software. I think it’s time to make that my life instead of this other thing that feels like work.”

    • Awesome Jud, didn’t know you we’re an artist 🙂

      • not sure if I am (or was) actually. the dichotomy/duality between the subjectivity and objectivity of design/art and software is what has occupied my mind for 25 years. it’s a tension I can’t release myself from. the bliss of a test passing in code (objective) vs. the abyss of thought around whether a visual aesthetic “looks good” (subjective) is my torture :). I leave you with Steve Martin in LA Story – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh23gVksliQ

        • Wow – I know what I am going to be enjoying for the first time tonight – Brilliant – as my daughter runs a Gallery and this will make the occasional ‘openings’ we attend so much more fun !

          • it’s one of the best films ever. enjoy.

            “he looked at me with deeply stoned eyes and said… ‘let your mind go and your body will follow'”

    • Great story. It take guts to switch gears like that. Good for you!

  • Clear out the backlog in my Readability and Google Reader “reading files” + think while I ride my bike long distances = writing five new “commitments” for the upcoming week against which I will measure my progress each Sunday night

  • My weekends are about nourishing my mind and body: guitar, yoga, reading books, meditating without any interruptions, hanging out with Michelle and our dog, generally recharging for another week. Without unstructured time like this, I would go insane — or at least find myself emotionally exhausted during the week.

    I’ve hit rock bottom before, but now I know that recharging is the key to sustainability.

  • Morey Bean

    Like most of the folks commenting I unwind, breathe, hike and find myself “looking around” if you will, noticing the world particularly on quiet Sunday mornings in our neighborhood. It’s so peaceful. Sometimes a really busy Saturday or Sunday is something that just feels so good. It’s like getting an extra day at no extra charge. On other weekends one of my measures of whether I’ve chilled out enough is if I find myself feeling bored. All of a sudden my “witness” reminds me that that’s probably a sign that I’m rested and ready to get re-engaged for the week!

  • DaveJ

    An interesting question is whether it would be good or bad if those people could spend their time on it during the week (i.e., do it for pay). On the one hand, they would likely make progress faster. On the other, because it would be positioned as “work” they might be less creative about it, or find less joy in it.

  • Hi Brad – Your use of the phrase – “it’s got a delightful self-referential twist ”
    tells me either that you have read Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Hofstadter

    or that you will wish you had read it earlier – but just don’t know how much yet.

    So I wish you joy in reflecting on its’ beauty or joy in baptising yourself in its’ wealth of playful brilliance.

  • Breathe. Really breathe.
    Nothing beats the exercisin’ endorphins drug stirred up better than usual on the weekend (since more time/can’t blow it off) ! And as a result, inspirations, reflections, insights, and increased mental grit to kick the next week even harder!

  • Most engineers, artists, designers I know have always had side projects — it’s the special stuff they “want” to do away from the normal stuff they “need” to do. Sometimes the special is an off-shoot from the normal, often not. If the special becomes normal then maybe it becomes a “thing” whose fundamental bits are mostly immutable. Maybe it’s a needy thing. It needs to impress, it needs validation, it needs to generate value, it needs to function beyond the sparky neocortextual passion that first formed it. Once normalized, the full expression of the original vector is lost, or hard to compute. So on to the next project.

  • I catch up and spend time with the family. Sometimes it’s a lot of reading, sometimes catching up on messages, sometimes writing some code – always a lot of planning and reviewing. I find that even a little “work” on the weekend is good for me so I’m not falling behind on Monday. BUT just hanging out some is very important to me. I was 30 before I learned that lesson – I need time to just relax.

    I read Chris’ post yesterday, and he is spot on, but the days of the week are not the point. What hackers do when someone else is not telling them what to do is what will change people’s future habits.

  • As someone with a family who works from home. The weekends look very much like the rest of the week, only the work-life balance is flipped for 48 hours.

  • Rob Ryan

    As they say, first time poster…long time reader, Brad…
    The weekend is a great time to feel calm and less competitive (which you can feel when everyone is go-go-go during the week). In that calmness, you can review, refocus and renew. I like to take out a blank tablet (paper…I know…gasp) and a blue sharpie and write in big letters what I’m doing, want to do this week and then I take another clean sheet and distill it into a 3-5 things for that week. That’s this week’s major outcomes I want. Once I’ve dumped all that out, there is so much more brain power that opens up for other stuff – better ways to do something, a problem I’ve had for weeks gets the simple solution, a friend I have not connected with in a while pops top of mind, etc. Sometimes, it can be a little annoying because I will get other ideas for small little “fun” businesses I’d love to do on the side. I put them in my iphone notes under “Other Biz” and try to forget them. It’s torture sometimes. But I manage to do it. 😉

  • friday night and saturdays – family activities time, dedicate coffee with wife sat morning.

    late sat night + sunday = project time
    – low tech DIY house renovation and kid’s playhouse, homebrewing.
    – high tech DIY – various software and electronics and official side projects.

    weeknights – read shit loads and go to the occasional tech meetup to meet new people.

  • Tough to stay at home over the weekend when you live in Boulder with two young kids…
    It’s mostly outdoors, away from keyboard, recharge or me. Winters are easier though, been experimenting with 3D printing lately together with my 5YR old

  • Steve

    When I hear the 60 Minutes clock ticking on the TV in the next room, the Sunday night fright starts. Weekend over.

  • That’s kind of a good idea for a short video series, what entrepreneurs do on their weekends…

  • rudy

    Really?!? Doesn’t anyone have responsibilities, or do you have people for all that? In no order:

    1) Clean the house

    2) Groceries

    3) Laundry

    4) Pay bills

    5) Manage finances

    6) Process mail

    7) House projects and repairs

    8) Running kids to lessons and activities

    9) Scheduling in-home services (plumbers, etc.

    10) Car maintenance, washing

    11) Recycling and returnables

    12) Pick up dry cleaning

    13) Volunteer

    14) Help take care of aging parents

    15) Cut the grass and other yard work

    When do YOU do all this stuff???

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