The Perfect Day (According to Science)

|September 10, 2022
Stay at Home

A Note From Amanda Heckman, Editorial Director: As you read this, the Manward team is about to start Day 2 of our Great Liberty Revival Retreat. So we’re revisiting an old essay from Andy (from Manward’s early days). It’s a perfect fit for today considering that we’re enjoying this Saturday with nearly 100 like-minded Manward subscribers.


On a Saturday, I’m likely in the barn, with the lights on, tackling my latest project – right now, that’s restoring an old Ford pickup with my son.

It makes us feel good.

For as long as I can remember, Saturday has been my sacred day. I’ve always felt better, more productive and simply happier on Saturday. Almost everybody I talk to feels the same way.

Now there’s science that tells us why.

When I was in grade school, Saturday was the day my grandfather would come to the house. Just after the morning news, he’d roll down the street, walk in the front door and settle in the kitchen for a dark cup of coffee. After that, we’d tackle a project, tinker with something in the garage, or just stay in the kitchen and talk about the sorts of things men talk about.

I cherished those days.

Decades later, I still do. My routine now isn’t all that different. In fact, it’s clear the tradition has been passed on to the next generation. My son often tells me that he, too, can’t wait for Saturday.

But why? What is it about that single day of the week that makes so many of us happier?

As always, science thinks it has an answer. And this answer falls squarely in Manward territory.

Freedom = Happiness

A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology proved that the vast majority of folks are happier, feel better and have more energy from Friday evening to Sunday morning.

The researchers dubbed it the “weekend effect.”

“Workers, even those with interesting, high-status jobs, really are happier on the weekend,” said Richard Ryan, the study’s author and a University of Rochester professor. “Our findings highlight just how important free time is to an individual’s well-being.

“Far from frivolous, the relatively unfettered time on weekends provides critical opportunities for bonding with others, exploring interests and relaxing – basic psychological needs that people should be careful not to crowd out with overwork.”

And while the study didn’t touch too much on the area of knowledge, our own anecdotal research shows it, too, plays a large role in the phenomenon. After all, my Saturday mornings with my father and grandfather were all about learning. Those mornings, I learned to fix or build just about anything – which undoubtedly has led to increased happiness and fulfillment.

A Clear Connection

What’s most interesting about Ryan’s study is how he did it.

In the most crucial part of the work, he simply asked the study’s participants how they felt. He did it three times a day every day of the week, having folks note whether they felt controlled or autonomous.

Of course, folks felt much freer on the weekends.

The study also asked whether participants felt close to those around them. And, as expected, they had the strongest connections on Saturday and Sunday.

Combine those ideas with survey results that clearly showed folks felt more joy and pleasure and less depression and anxiety on weekends, and the conclusion is obvious.

We’re happier on weekends.

But it has nothing to do with the day of the week. Instead, it’s all about having the liberty to do what we want… having the knowledge to accomplish what we want… and having connections to the folks we love. All this leads us to a happier and more fulfilled life.

It’s simple.

Cherish your weekends. And if you really want to be happy, turn every day into a Saturday. But that’s a subject for another day.

Right now, we’ve got things to do.

Andy Snyder
Andy Snyder

Andy Snyder is an American author, investor and serial entrepreneur. He cut his teeth at an esteemed financial firm with nearly $100 billion in assets under management. Andy and his ideas have been featured on Fox News, on countless radio stations, and in numerous print and online outlets. He’s been a keynote speaker and panelist at events all over the world, from four-star ballrooms to Capitol hearing rooms.