Sunday – so often we think of it as being the last day of a long week, a day of rest, relaxation and quiet contemplation. A lazy Sunday absolutely can’t be beaten. That’s not to say there aren’t steps you can take to optimize your week so the good feelings roll across all seven days. Here are ten things you should do before you start the week.
1. Meal Prep
Two words that, when placed together, can strike fear and uncertainty into the heart of even the most steely go-getter. The effort of prepping meals for the week might seem overwhelming at first, but meal prep will save you time and money. Wouldn’t it be nice to come home after work and not have to worry about what/when/how you’re going to eat? If you’re willing to jump headfirst into the meal prep deep end, here are some tips.
Picture this: It’s Wednesday, you’re crunching, you’ve stayed late at the office the past few nights. You’ve got a big meeting tomorrow and you need to go over your notes well into the evening hours just to make sure everything is perfect. When you finally decide to go to bed, you walk to the dresser to lay out your outfit for the next day – only to find that you are totally out of clean clothes to wear and totally out of time to do anything about it! It’s a total nightmare!
3. Set and Prioritize Goals
It’s like acclaimed screenwriting guru Syd Fields says in his various writings and seminars: “Know Your Ending.” If you don’t have goals set, what are you working towards? It’s easy to spin out, so to speak, or feel aimless. Goals help to orient us like a metaphorical compass. They give us something to focus on in the middle distance. There’s also nothing like the feeling of achieving a goal you set yourself. So take a pen to your to-do list and get those goals out!
The number one enemy of productivity is disorganization. So often we get sidetracked looking for something or despairing at the obstacle of disorganization. Try and set aside some time on Sunday to clear your work areas, tidy up the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. If you’re having difficulty getting started, or you feel overwhelmed, follow the “if it takes two minutes, do it now” rule.
Most of the tasks that you procrastinate on aren’t actually difficult to do; you have the talent and skills to accomplish them, but you just avoid starting them for one reason or another. The 2–Minute Rule overcomes procrastination and laziness by making it so easy to start taking action that you can’t say no.
Essentially, the rule dictates that if you’re faced with a task that’ll take two minutes or less (returning a text, washing a plate, paying a bill, etc), you should just do it that second so you don’t end up adding it to the pile of things you have to get done later. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
5. Deal With Your Emails
There’s nothing like staring at an inbox with 20,000 emails in it, is there? Whether or not you may be conscious of it, the mere presence of those thousands of junk emails in your inbox is causing you strain and stress. So purge! If you’re not already marking important conversations and spam, get to it. Here’s a decent guide on how to delete everything in your inbox. Another nifty trick you can use to sort through your inbox is through prioritization. You can set up filters through your various email accounts to catch any and all spam/unnecessary clutter before it even gets in front of your eyes.
6. Pack Your Gear For The Week Ahead
This one follows in the general vein of advice we’ve been espousing. If there’s a laptop you take to work, pack it into your backpack the night before. Make sure your wallet and keys have a home base somewhere so you always know where they are. Set your shoes by the front door so you don’t spend time searching for them. These are all common sense tips, but every once in a while we need a gentle reminder. Optimization will save you time and stress.
7. Batch Tasks
Batching tasks isn’t revolutionary. Cavemen did it. Geniuses do it. We both know that statistically, you must rate somewhere between caveman and genius. Batching tasks here doesn’t necessarily only apply to work. Try and get all of your important phone calls out of the way at once, set aside an hour to read, to collectively complete all the small tasks you’ve been meaning to get to. Here are some handy tips about batching tasks.
8. Reflect on the Week Prior
What do you really have, at the end of the day? What’s important? Memories are, but what good are they if you don’t take the opportunity to appreciate them? The passage of time is a stubborn, beautiful, heartbreaking phenomenon. All too often, we let the days slip off into the universe. We don’t take the time to reflect on the past, to remember the good times, to learn from our mistakes. It’s easy to lose touch with who you’ve been if you don’t take the necessary time to contemplate the past. Science agrees! According to The Huffington Post:
Researchers said that while “outward attention” — like what a person might learn and put into practice in a classroom — is important, we also need a healthy balance of reflection and daydreaming time.
You can draw a bath, light a candle, plop down and do some maintenance-thinking. Slowing down like this will really help you approach the week to come.
9. Plan Your Outfits
You have to be kind to yourself, what way to be kinder than to save yourself precious morning minutes with outfit prep? And we’re not talking about hastily slapping together some socks and underwear the night before. No, we’re talking full blown outfit control, one for each day. Make sure to check weather conditions for the week to come – if it’s going to rain halfway through, you obviously want to set aside an umbrella and raincoat. A few minutes saved each morning may not seem like much, but it all adds up.
10. Make Plans With the People Who Matter
Everyone gets busy, but ‘being busy’ is no excuse for losing touch with the people who really matter. Take a quiet moment before the week starts, analyze your schedule for free periods and reach out to friends and family to schedule hangout time. The further ahead you plan, the less likely it is someone will flake out. You’re never too busy for human connection – and the benefits of seeing those you love are innumerable.
With these tips in tow, you’ll be a weekly warrior! Good luck!