Weekend Warrior: The Life-changing Habit

When I first started gamifying my personal goals in 2011, my first major success was something I’ve dubbed Weekend Warrior. This gamified system is designed to develop weekend work ethic. Since beginning use of this system in 2011, I’ve seen my work ethic improve dramatically. As a result, I’ve achieved a lot more than I ever thought I could in 2012 (and 2013 is off to a great start too).

Below is the most recent iteration, which I put into action soon after moving to San Francisco:


weekend warrior


The image above contains the entire system – it’s simple enough to fit on two post-it notes. All you need to do is turn on a timer (in your browser, on your phone, or on any device that allows you to see a running timer as you work). From there, work on any project that you feel is worth your time. In my case, examples of such projects include:

  • Blogging
  • Learning to code
  • Proactively reaching out to fading contacts
  • Cooking a new dish
  • Experimenting with new gamified goal systems

After each work session, take note of how long you worked for, and mark it on one post-it note (in the image above, it’s the one on the right). Each row on the post-it note should include the time spent on that session (i.e. 1.4 hours), and a running total of how many hours you’ve accumulated since beginning (i.e. 26.2 hours).

As your running total surpasses the 1st hour, 2nd hour, etc., circle off that respective hour on the other post-it note. Once you’ve circled off the last hour on the post-it (in the post-it note above my goal is 15 hours), you earn a reward (in the image above, listed on the bottom of the left-hand post-it note).

After about one month of tracking my weekend work ethic with this system, I noticed much less resistance when it was time to buckle down and get things done on the weekend. That urge to procrastinate slowly vanished. And at this point, two years later, it feels completely natural to spend a few hours in a coffee shop every Saturday working on personal projects.

Ready to get started? I recommend using post-it notes, but that’s a personal preference. If your work involves something you’d do on a computer, I recommend keeping Timer Tab pinned in your browser. It will even show you the time in the favicon area for quick reference.

Timer Tab

Happy gamifying!

About Jon Guerrera

I'm Jon Guerrera, a life hacker at heart and the man behind the scenes here at Living For Improvement. This blog documents all of my successes, failures, and lessons learned as I experiment with finding happiness and fulfillment. I also wrote an e-book. If you like what I write on the blog, you can grab a free copy by subscribing.
  • finneycanhelp

    Great post! Do me a favor, please. Double check where it says “image above, it’s the one on the left” Did you mean right? 

    Regardless, awesome post and thanks for sharing your system!

  • finneycanhelp

    I am glad you suggested in the google interview prep post the “flip two quarters after each hour sesssion” to see if you win a prize. 🙂  That has also helped!

  • Great catch! Should’ve said “on the right.” Updating now!

  • finneycanhelp

    Thanks! When I can contribute to something as awesome as this post, it makes me feel good. 🙂