Once again The Productive Woman community came through with ideas for how to spend time on Sunday (or whatever day you choose) setting yourself up for a great week.
Getting Ready for Monday on Sunday
We all have a lot to do. We are often juggling either a career, a household, or a family along with church, volunteer, and community commitments, not to mention our own personal care or development. We want to make sure we are using our time the best we can. It can be easy to hit Monday morning and feel like you are behind before the week even starts.
In a follow-up to episode 136, when we shared some wisdom from The Productive Woman community inspired by a conversation in the Facebook group, Arianna asked the community members to share if and how they spend time on Sundays preparing for the upcoming week.
Arianna’s question sparked another great conversation in the group, and inspired this episode.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
We’ve talked about routines in the past. For example, in episode 27 we talked about how developing routines can help you make the best use of your time, energy, and attention, and focusing on what matters most to you. One routine or habit to develop is to set aside time to get a “big-picture” look at your week, and prepare for what you need and want to do.
Having a routine in place to prepare is a great way to set yourself up for success. The trick is to get out in front of it by thinking ahead.
For me, it always starts with looking at my calendar to see what my appointments are. I have to see what days I have conference calls, or which days I need to drive to my office to meet with clients.
Once we have a handle on what the week looks like, the next step is to ask ourselves questions to determine what we need to do to prepare.
Do I have the materials (clothes, etc.) I need?
Are there days I need to make arrangements for dinner or child care?
Do I need to fill up my gas tank so I’m ready for a road trip?
We can set ourselves up for a more peaceful week by being prepared for the events and activities we have scheduled. That helps avoid the stressful last-minute scrambling to pull things together.
The concept is to get out in front of what is coming up. Look at both the commitments you've made and what you want to accomplish, and do a little upfront prep to set yourself up for success.
Wisdom from The Productive Woman Community
In response to Arianna's question in the Facebook group, several women shared how they do just that.
Angie said, “I have been working on using a Sunday basket. Mail and bills go in our throughout the week, papers the grandkids bring home from school etc., plus I have a notebook for meal ideas. So Sunday evening I can go through the mail, pay bills, and trash the junk mail. I Make sure anything important for kids is signed, checks made out, or date put on the calendar. Same with any invitations I have received throughout the week. Beyond that… Sunday is laundry and groceries.”
Angie is just the first of several women who mentioned the Sunday Basket. This is a unique and useful organization tool championed by past TPW guest Lisa Woodruff (episode 122), on her Organize 365 website. Check out this post on her site for more information about the Sunday basket.
Betsy said, “I set up my Bullet Journal for the week. I plan my to do list for the week and write down any unusual appointments. I also make my plan for Monday. Laundry. I organize my medications for the week. Sunday Basket. Clean out my purse.”
Lisa likes to get a jump on the week's important chores, to buy herself some time to relax after work during the week: “I do a good deep cleaning of the house so I don’t have to worry about major chores during the week. Finally, I run any errands that need done… grocery store, drug store, anything that needs picked up or dropped off gets done on Sunday. The last thing I want to do after work during the week is run an errand.”
Pat yourself on the back
A great way to start your Sunday routine is by taking a look back and acknowledging your accomplishments from the past week.
That's what Elizabeth does: “I review my previous week, and write down what I accomplished.” After giving herself credit for what she accomplished in the past week, she then spends time planning for the week to come: “I write in my planner my tasks for each day of the upcoming week. Based on my activities for the upcoming week, I plan my menu, and make a grocery list. I have certain tasks that I do on certain days, and it helps to order my week.”
Get the big picture, and prepare accordingly
Spending a little time on Sunday thinking about what you'll wear for the week's activities can make it easier during the week–you know everything's clean, pressed, and ready, and you don't have to use any precious weekday morning time deciding what to wear.
For several members of the community, like Melanie, it starts by checking the weather forecast: “I look at the weather forecast for the week, pick out clothes for work, and iron everything at once. That way I only have to set up the ironing board and iron once a week, and I don’t have to do it every night when I will most likely be too tired to want to do another chore.”
Rebecca agreed: “I review weather and plan outfits, clean shoes as needed, prep the kids' lunches, plan my lunches and snacks, go through my work bag, and hang up all laundry from the weekend.”
Cheryl shared some tips from her former working life. During that phase of her life, on Sundays she:
- Checked weather/picked out outfits down to the jewelry, hung together on commercial laundry/basket hanger thing.
- Ordered anything from Amazon needed for house (like new filter for refrigerator water dispenser).
- Made sure all the laundry was done.
- Did some meal prep for the week.
- Made sure the house was clean.
- Filled medication dispensers.
- Talk to her husband about plans for week.
- Spend some time thinking about issues to be addressed at work in the upcoming week.
- Wrote anything she needed to do/think about in her planner.
No need to do it all yourself
Kate makes it a family project. She said, “My husband and I meal plan and put together a grocery list. I usually grocery shop. The kids unload the car and put away the groceries. Then we assembly-line putting together all the snacks and lunch components for the week, making it easy to grab and go on weekday mornings. Then I refill the medication bins and go through my Sunday basket. I do all the laundry washing/drying and the kids put it all away. Then I write down the week’s events on a big calendar in the kitchen and make sure any uniforms/swimsuits/special items are clean and in the appropriate “go” bags (including my gym bag). I then clean out/organize my purse, coat pockets, and laptop bag. A home weekly review with my husband is next; we go over the schedule, meal plan, finances and house projects/errands for the week. Finally, I plan my work projects/to do list/meeting stuff for the week (using Omnifocus), and then do something fun/relaxing with the family before dinner (usually take out/delivery on Sunday).”
Make time to rest and restore
Preparing for the week needn't be all about chores and errands. Part of setting yourself up for a successful week is making sure you've prepared your mind and soul.
Wendy mentioned, “I wish I had a better Sunday routine. I just clean house, do laundry, grocery shop. Not very motivating at all. I’d love to do something more energizing and productive but not sure what.”
One idea for Wendy (and the rest of us) would be to set aside time on Sundays to work on a special project that's important to her personally.
Other people, like Jessica, make rest a priority on Sundays. “I definitely try to get in a nap after church and catch up on housework that afternoon to make the week easier. I write “to dos” in my planner, and review the week.” Jessica gets a jump on chores and errands to leave free time on the weekends: “I try to do grocery shopping and errands Friday after work, so that I can enjoy my weekends a little more, as well.”
Chrissie said, “My Sunday consists of relaxing, meal prep for the week, grocery shopping, cooking, family time at dinner, a glass of wine, and then, before bed I check my calendar for the week and coordinate schedules with my husband.”
It doesn't have to be Sunday
Not everybody wants to spend time on Sundays doing the prep work for the coming week. For instance, Barb said, “I really struggle with making a time to prep for the week on a Sunday. I used to think the evening would work, but by the time I’m done with dinner and said goodnight to my son, it's much the same as any other night, and I’m exhausted and don't want to think too much. I thought about switching to making a weekly review/planning session my ‘first thing in the morning’ task after I get back from my walk, but I often sleep in later on Sundays, so by the time I get back from my walk, it’s breakfast time and my day with my son is starting, so I put it off and never do it!”
A lot of us feel the way Barb does. And it's perfectly okay to move the “Sunday planning routine” to a different day that works for you. The point isn’t what day you do it, just that you set aside a regular time to look ahead to the week, and batch the work that needs to be done to prepare. It doesn't have to be Sunday.
Similar to Jessica's approach, Dinah suggested that Barb try doing her planning for the next week on Friday afternoon before she winds down her week. That's what Emma does, and she highly recommends it. She said, “I prep for the weekend and upcoming week Friday afternoon, and run the plan by my husband Saturday morning before our daughter wakes up, which is when he does the meal plan. Then the rest of the weekend is free!”
Carol said, “I do nothing on Sunday to get ready for next week. It’s ‘me’ day, with friends and the things I love. Makes Monday a little more stressful, but I need a day for me and not the world’s needs.”
That's mostly what I try to do, too. I do some planning and sometimes a little podcast-related work, but try not to do many chores or errands. It’s my day to breathe a little and relax before the work week starts.
Kelly said, “Me too, although I try to do at least one thing to make the week easier. But often we take an unofficial family nap on Sunday afternoon, and it’s lovely.”
It's not about filling the weekend up with work – time off is important
We shouldn’t just be filling up the day or the weekend with more work. It is important to take time away from work. One writer said, “Weekends are the time to remind yourself of the forgotten little things — to keep your work-life harmony (the new ‘balance’) in check, and reset if needed. Spending time with your friends, children, or partner might not directly increase profits that day or propel you into the limelight, but that doesn’t make it any less important.”
This is hard, because sometimes things get shoved off during the week, and we feel the pressure on the weekends to get caught up.
We should learn from the past; prepare for the future. The same article reads, “Reflection should be a daily practice, but the weekends are a perfect opportunity to step back and reflect on the lessons of the previous week and to make improvements for the next.”
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and host of a popular podcast called Happier, suggests starting a “one-sentence journal” to encourage daily reflection. Make Saturday or Sunday your day to flick back through the week’s entries!”
The point isn’t so much what day you pick as it is establishing a routine that works for you, a habit of giving a little time to preparing for the week, so things are in place and can go more smoothly. However you do it, though, leave some space in your weekend to relax, recreate, and refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
What do you think?
Do you spend time on Sunday preparing for the coming week, or do you use another approach? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman community Facebook group, or email me.
Resources and Links:
- Lisa Woodruff's Organize 365 website and podcast
- “Sunday Night Routines from our Team” (Work Better website)
- “What Successful People Do on Sunday to be Productive All Week” (Forbes)
- “12 Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People” (Lifehack)
- “Sunday Routines that Lead to a Successful Week” (Sparkles of Sunshine)
- “The Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs and How to Design Your Own Master Routine” (Buffer App site)
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