It’s 9am on Sunday morning. The kids & Mr are still sleeping. I’ve been out for a quick walk, had a cup of coffee, answered some insta story questions, and now it’s time to tackle the Sunday scaries. You know those feelings of dread and anxiety about the upcoming week? Mine aren’t usually that bad, but some weeks (like today) they are overwhelming. I know that next week is going to be packed with family and work commitments, and at the moment, it feels impossible to fit everything in.
Here’s what I know from experience, when you are facing a busy week ahead, the worst thing you can do is skip planning and prepping. I’m really tempted to just start doing some work right now to “get ahead”, but I also know, without a road map you are more likely to go in circles than get ahead. Over the years I’ve figured out a few things that I can do on Sunday that I know are going to make my week more productive and less stressful.
Treat Sunday like a Sunday.
Yes, we are going to make to-do lists, meal prep, and try to get our whole life organized in 30 minutes, but it is also Sunday. The worst thing you can do is work late on a Sunday night, or skip your Sunday all together. I have a personal rule that all my “get ready for the week” stuff has to be done by 6pm, and then I’ll watch TV, read a book, or go out for a drink with a friend. Sunday evenings are for relaxing.
Plan your outfits for the week.
This one might seem a bit strange, but trust me on this. Your outfits don’t have to be Vogue-worthy, and you can even chose to repeat the same look each day, but you have to pick them out. There are two reasons why this is important. First of all, it forces you to look at your calendar for the week. When I plan my outfits for the week it gives me a quick snapshot of how many out of office/meetings days I have, what personal commitments I have etc, because I pick outfits appropriate for my activities on those days. That way I’m not surprised when I open my calendar on Tuesday and it says – meeting with “x” client.
The second benefit of outfit planning on Sunday is one less decision to make every morning. Did you know everyone has a limit for how many decisions we can make in a day, and when I have a busy week ahead, I don’t want to waste any decisions!
Get serious about your work to-do list.
There is no point in making a lengthy to-do list and then saying, there is no way that I can get all this done this week. An impossible task list is of no use to you. Here’s what we are going to do.
- Look at your calendar and total how many hours in your work week are already committed to meetings and other tasks that take you away from your desk/workspace. Do the math and figure out how many hours you have left for tasks.
- If it is an incredibly busy week, make a conscious decision about how many evening or weekend hours you will work this week. (Making the decision ahead of time makes me feel less bitter. I know that this week I will work late two evenings, and I’m going to put that on my calendar right now.) Add the “extra” hours to your total from step 1. These are all the hours you have. That’s it.
- Let’s say you figure you now have 28 hours to work with and your to-do list has 40 tasks, the probability of you doing all those things is impossible. Don’t set yourself up for failure, pick 10-12 key tasks for the week. The rest have to be postponed, delegated, or deleted. Work to the hours you have, and always put estimated time for completion next to a to-do list item.
Figure out your food plan.
This isn’t Sunday meal prep, this is triage. There is no way that I can make my lunch for work everyday this week, and make dinner. This might be a week where I have to accept that I’ll be eating out a couple of times. By thinking of it ahead of time, I can chose which two days I’ll eat out. Being prepared in this way takes away the guilt. I won’t be saying to myself, “I should have packed my lunch”, because eating out on that day was part of my weekly plan.
Some weeks I do have time on Sunday to prep lunches and dinners, and I will do that, but other weeks I don’t make a single thing. For me it’s most important that my food plan by intentional than accidental.
Schedule fun/family time.
You know it’s going to be a busy stressful week, put something fun on the calendar mid-week. For me it’s most important to schedule kid-time when I’m really busy, but I also try to do some solo dates, or happy hour with a girlfriend when possible. Make sure you have something to look forward to in the calendar.
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