It’s Sunday night, you’ve finally turned off the TV and shut down your computer, and the feelings you’ve been avoiding kick in…
You’re DREADING Monday.
You’re regretting Sunday.
You feel helpless.
That’s no way to start your week. Here are 3 things to STOP doing if you want to start out on the right track.
1. Stop Letting Monday Happen To You
More than having a perfect daily routine or a flawless planner, what determines whether you are organized is your attitude – whether you're reactive to what's happening or proactive about preparing for what's to come.
If you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed, prioritize. Think about what you've still got to do on Sunday and what's coming up Monday morning. Eliminate everything that's not critical, and focus on time-sensitive tasks first. You can use a priority matrix – a list that sorts tasks by urgency (how time sensitive they are) and importance (how much they matter long-term) – to help you accomplish this.
Everything else that needs done, you should block out on your calendar to make sure it actually will be. Make notes on anything you need to have or do to be prepared to accomplish it all. Once it's on paper you'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy your Sunday.
One more thing…
Give yourself 50% more time than you think you need – we underestimate how long things will take us.
A study at MIT in 1994 documented the “planning fallacy” – students estimated they'd need 33 days to finish their theses, but actually took 55. The same holds true across different types of project planning.
2. Stop Procrastinating
Weekends come with their own common planning fallacy: you tend to assume you'll get more done on your days off because you forget why weekends actually exist.
The fact is, even the most productive people in the world need a break after working hard all week.
Rest is not a luxury – it's a physical and mental requirement for being at the top of your game.
If you don't relax deliberately, chances are your brain will force it on you and you'll be unproductive when you try to get things done.
The way you spend Sunday should set you up to have the best possible Monday. If you wake up and realize there's no way you can finish everything you set out to do, prioritize the things that have the biggest impact on your week – laundry, meal prep, whatever you can do to streamline your schedule.
This will buy you time during the week to get other stuff done, and maybe even take some time for yourself.
3. Stop Neglecting Your Most Important Asset
Remember that bit at the beginning about weekends existing for a reason? There's simply no way to be productive long term if you're not regularly maintaining your physical and mental health.
Even if you're at the top of your game, you'll perform better if you take care of your most important asset: yourself.
Make sure your Sunday includes some deliberate, chosen rest and play time (procrastination doesn’t count – it’s not relaxing).
Get a little exercise. You don't have to go pump iron at the gym – a walk in the park is fine. Connect with friends and family too, even if it's just a quick phone call.
Finally, wind down and get to sleep at a reasonable time. If you paid attention to point 2, you should be able to do so without worry.
Bonus: Stop Sleeping Until Lunchtime On Sunday
Yes, it's the weekend, and yes, it won't hurt to hit snooze a few times. But if you're going to have an epically lazy morning, the time to do it is on Saturday.
Why? When you sleep late, you push your body's internal clock forward. Three extra hours' sleep on Sunday morning could mean three extra hours awake on Sunday night – and starting your week on four or five hours' sleep.
And remember – once you get up you need to do these three things:
- Plan your Monday
- Prioritize so the important things get done
- Take care of your physical and mental health
Make these a habit and you'll own your Sunday – and be well on the way to owning your week.