Lesson: When I first met my husband, he used to laugh at me when I would totally “checkout” on Sunday evenings to prepare myself for the upcoming week. I used to tell him if I don’t have a strong Monday it throws off my entire week’s productivity. Anyone in the field of education can attest to that! It’s like a ripple effect. Once he thought about it and reflected on his Mondays and the rest of his work week, he understood and saw the importance of what I was doing.
Below I will list 8 things to do in order to set yourself up for a successful week.
1. Start preparing Sunday night: This is an essential step! Being prepared has everything to do with being successful. One thing you can do is decide what you are going to wear the night before. If you really want to be proactive decide what you are going to wear for the week.When I was growing up my mother had a mini calendar hanging in her closet where she wrote out her outfits for the week. Any ironing she needed to do for the week, she did on Saturday before the next week started. Having five outfits ready for the week also gives you the safety net for those accidents that have happened to all of us a time a two, just before we walk out the door. You spill coffee on yourself or you drip something from breakfast on your shirt or blouse. These moments that we all encounter from time to time won’t derail your morning if have a back-up ready to go.
On Sunday evening, you can also pack and organize your bag for work, pack your lunch (if you take a lunch) or set your coffee maker. Try to think of anything you can take care of ahead of time and do it Sunday evening.
2.Empty out your email inbox: This is a step I always tried to do before I left the office on Friday, if possible. Walking into work on Monday morning with an inbox full of emails to answer would quickly drain my energy and waste valuable time. On Sunday evening, try to reply to your emails and make a “to-do list” of everything that needs to be done the following week as you check them.
3. Put everything you have to do on your calendar: All of the reminders, requests and “to-do’s” that you received when you checked your emails can now be added to your calendar. Putting everything on your calendar is key! I usually have 4-5 areas of responsibility for the week so I color-coordinated each area. I use the calendar on my phone but you can also use a paper calendar with different colored pencils or markers.
- Here is an example of my calendar flow: Urgent things that need to be taken care of right away are put in red, general weekly routine “to-do’s” are blue, anything for my non-profit organization is green, anything for my family is pink and when I was in school all of the coursework I needed to complete was in purple with a due date 2 days ahead of when it was actually due. Color-coordinating my calendar really helped me to prioritize what I needed to do and when I needed to do it.
4. Go to bed early: This is a simple step but difficult for most of us. Try to set the goal of getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Keep in mind, being well-rested positions you to be alert and high functioning throughout the day and not sluggish.
5. Get up early: Giving yourself some extra time in the morning allows you to have a calmer start to the day. It is helpful to place your alarm away from your bedside, somewhere else in your room where you will have to get up out of the bed to turn it off. Once your feet hit the ground, don’t get back in the bed!
6. Give yourself a moment of quiet time for prayer and meditation: This is another essential step for me! Spending the first early moments of my day with God in prayer and meditation really helps me focus on what’s important and gives me tremendous peace. One prayer that I say in the morning is “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” This time of the morning will be different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to spend this time. Just do it and watch how it positively affects your day.
7. Leave the house 10-15 minutes ahead of time: Being intentional about leaving ahead of time gives you a cushion for unforeseen events. You never know when there is going to be an accident or traffic jam on the way to your destination. I have had some of the hardest Mondays when I rushed in the door because I was caught in traffic and didn’t have time to get organized for the day. Arriving a few minutes early gives you an opportunity to get settled, get your desk or work space organized and get your mind ready to work.
8. “Eat the frogs” Monday morning: “Eating the frog” is a term that my Director used to say, meaning get the hardest and most challenging things out of the way, right away! That way you don’t have the most challenging things hanging over your head all day or all week. Make the hard phone call, have the uncomfortable meeting, complete the challenging project or whatever it may be so that you can focus on productivity the rest of the week.
Starting your week prepared, rested, organized and at peace positions you for success!
Action Step(s): Reflect on what steps would be most realistic and beneficial for you to apply right now. Come up with a plan to implement them next week and then assess if they helped your week be more successful.