To Work on Weekends, or Not to Work? That is the Question…

Business advice Workplace wellness
Estimated read time: 4 mins
Published: 08/04/2016

When you go freelance, weekends can become a tricky issue. Should you be working, should you be resting? With no clear guideline on working hours, here are a few things to consider…

Weekend working, the drawbacks and risks:

Even if you’re happy to work long hours, having no break can leave you unmotivated and a lot less happy, which will generally result in less inspired work. Too much of a good thing can make it very dull and lifeless for you, so even if you started freelancer to pursue your passion, without some breaks your passion will quickly turn into a dysfunctional relationship. You can start liking it so much that it is all you want to do, but if you follow your passion down the rabbit-hole at the cost of other interests and pursuits, you can find yourself struggling to climb out very shortly after! When thinking about working weekends, there are a few significant drawbacks to consider:

  • Children and family members. As well as being more likely to disturb you if you’re working from home, family members do deserve (and will demand!) some amount of your time. If not on weekends, when will you plan this in?
  • Social functions. With the majority of the working landscape in the UK still existing on broadly 9-5hrs, five days a week, a lot of social functions and plans will remain to be weekend-central. If you’re looking at working weekends, can you do this in a way which wouldn’t miss out on seeing friends and remaining social?
  • Too much work can make Jack a dull boy! You still need to make time to have a break, you can’t work solidly forever more, it will break you down. For a lot of people weekends are the time to relax and to explore other interests, and making this time is important! Working all the time can make you tired of what you previously loved doing.


So, no working on weekends?

Well no, actually. Nothing said above goes against working on weekends per sé. Part of the ‘fun’ of being a freelancer is that you can work any time: evenings, holidays or weekends. It only makes sense that you can also take your break at any time (as long as it’s not towards the end of a project as deadlines quickly approach). This means you can take a Wednesday off and work on Sunday if it suits you. How about working a half day on Friday and working Saturday morning? (Or Sunday evening if you expect to have a heavy head on Saturday morning!)

There are several benefits to working at the weekend:

  • There can be fewer work disruptions, such as telephone calls or emails from clients, so you can make significant progress on your current projects.
  • The weekend delivers extra hours in which you can get stuff done. Getting some work done on the weekend can make it feel like new life is being breathed into your working week, and approaching it with a more relaxed ‘weekend-vibe’ can even make you more productive.
  • Blitzing the admin. With the extra time and fewer distractions, working on the weekend can allow you to burn through that to-do list, completing lots of small administrative tasks which you normally put off (accounting, backups, etc.)

Personally, I quite enjoy putting in a few extra hours on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning, but ultimately what you do with your weekend can depend on a few further considerations.

Your working style:

Can you sit down and work for hours on end, or do you prefer working for a couple hours and then taking regular breaks? Is it more important to you to have a work-life balance with two days off in a row, or more of a work-life blend with a day off here and there or working almost every day but with a couple hours to yourself on each?

Everyone has little idiosyncrasies which dictate what works best for them, being true to yourself can help you decide which is for you. Would you feel offended by the idea of working on weekends, or liberated by the added flexibility it gives you? I know which works for me, a couple of hours working on a Saturday and Sunday morning (like writing this post!) really frees up the working week to come and makes the whole process much more enjoyable!

Your work:

What you do can dictate when you can work and when you can/can’t take a few days to yourself. We wouldn’t be very happy if every waiter and bar worker took the weekend off would we? Now there aren’t many (or any?!) freelance bar workers, but the point is a general one. If you’re doing social media management, or if you’re a journalist covering breaking news, it’s rare that you can decide to take 24hrs to yourself without a lot of prior warning and notice. There are plenty of jobs that can allow this flexibility through. If you are primary doing web-design, or if you are working in something creative like illustration, then you will usually have complete freedom to work when it suits you. Of course, you will need to satisfy your clients and deadlines, but within those boundaries it’s down to you to dictate your work/breaks.

Your life:

How do you enjoy spending your spare time? Do you have those pesky partners or small children that you need to spend time with? Answers to these questions can determine how much you can/can’t work on weekends. Being young, free, and single (although not necessarily all of these) can give you a lot of flexibility; any further responsibilities you have could pull your time and attention in different directions. Non of this need speak against working on weekends, but just make sure you make time to take a break and do the other important things in life as well!

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