Set your week up for success! Do these 7 things on a Sunday evening and have your most productive week EVER!
Instead of blearily opening one eye on a Monday morning and groaning at the thought of that mammoth to do list, overflowing inbox and messy desk, imagine starting the week ready and raring to go!
It’s often said that failing to plan is planning to fail. And one of the big reasons why we dread the start of the week, and end up being a whole lot less productive than we’d hoped, is because we don’t create a fool proof game plan to set ourselves up right for the week.
But the good news is, this is something that is really easy to fix! By spending just a short amount of time on a Sunday evening prepping for the week ahead, you can totally transform your week: wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed on Monday morning, hit the ground running when you first sit down at your desk and have a much more productive week as a result.
Sound good? Here’s what to do on Sunday evening to make your week WAY more productive!
1. Clear your inbox
If there’s one thing that is guaranteed to set your week up for success and greater productivity it is getting on top of your emails. An overflowing, daunting inbox is a serious productivity zapper.
Better still, if you’ve dealt with your emails on a Sunday night, you are much less likely to be tempted to touch them on a Monday morning (NEVER EVER start the day by checking your emails – or you may never get anything else done that day!)
If you’ve got a really badly overflowing inbox, then I suggest the first course of action would be to read this post on how to sort out your overflowing inbox for good!
Once your inbox is basically under control, this Sunday evening slot is simply to ensure you keep on top of it and it never gets to that totally awful stage again. Here’s what to do:
First, whizz through your emails and delete anything that can be deleted without even reading it.
Second, file anything that can be filed without reading it. (Not got a great filing system? Read my post on how to sort out your overflowing inbox for good for tips on how to set one up.)
Now whizz through the remaining emails and decide what to do with them. Anything with an action that takes less than 3 minutes should be actioned then and there, then filed or deleted. Anything that has an action that will take longer than 3 minutes should be added to your to do list or calendar.
Anything that absolutely HAS to stay in your inbox should be clearly marked so you know why it’s there. I use a combination of colour coding and flags in my inbox. I colour code anything that needs reading (to read when I’ve got more time) blue, any videos to watch are colour coded yellow, and anything that can’t be actioned yet because I’m waiting for something is coloured orange. Anything that needs to be dealt with this week gets a flag (and also gets written on my to do list or calendar).
READ MORE >>> 10 good email habits for greater productivity
2. Check your calendar
Make a habit of checking your calendar every Sunday evening so you know what is coming up and there are no sudden surprises. This will also help you plan your week better. There is no point in planning 5 activities to do on your blog on Thursday if it turns out you’ll be helping out on a school trip all day!
3. Plan your week
Next it’s time to plan your week. The golden rule here is only plan as much as you can actually fit into one week. It’s time to get ruthless with your to do list!
If you are like most people, you will have a long and seemingly never-ending to do list. This is not a tool which is likely to help your productivity. In fact, it’s usually a document that increases your stress levels and makes you less productive!
When faced with a long list of scary tasks, most people’s default reaction is to do only the things that are either super urgent or most enjoyable. As a result, most of the activities that will genuinely move your business forward will be left languishing on the never-ending to do list, week in week out.
A much more effective way of working is to write weekly and daily to do lists…
Weekly to do list
Write your weekly to do list first. Look at that long never-ending list of tasks you have and choose only the tasks that absolutely have to be done this week (or the sky will fall in) and the tasks that will make the most impact on your blog/business.
Then decide when to do each task. Write next to each task MON, TUE, WED, THU or FRI. This is a great trick that really helps focus the mind. You can quickly see if you are expecting too much of yourself. Are you trying to plan too much into one week or one day? If so, what can you take out? What could be moved to next week?
By writing a weekly to do list, you will have a clear picture of what you plan to achieve in your week and what you don’t need to do this week. Better still, you will know what you have planned is achievable. Just doing this one small activity can, at a stoke, remove a great deal of stress AND guarantee a super productive week. But we can go one better…
Daily to do list
Now, using that weekly to do list, write a to do list for Monday. The important thing here is to only write what you’d like to achieve on Monday… and nothing more! Go through your list and make sure it’s achievable. If you have written down more activities than you have time for, allocate some activities to another day in the week. A daily to do list should always be SHORT and ACHIEVABLE.
But writing a short, achievable to do list is not enough, you should also write down in what order you plan to do each activity. This means you can hit the ground running on Monday. You won’t even have to think (and crucially, you won’t waste valuable time on Monday dithering and deliberating over what to do next). Just turn to your to do list and do whatever it says is number 1, then 2 and so on.
And when you number your to do list, decide on the order based on what is most important. Make number 1 your most important task, followed by number 2 as your second most important task and so on. That way even if you don’t complete everything on your to do list by the end of the day, you will still have achieved the most important things.
At the end of Monday, write your to do list for Tuesday and so on.
4. Do ONE TASK RIGHT NOW that will make a big difference
Want to get ahead of yourself BEFORE the week has even started? Look at your weekly to do list and pick one activity to do RIGHT NOW! Pick something you know will make a big difference. Maybe it’s something that has been niggling at you for ages, but you just haven’t got round to it. Maybe it’s something that you are likely to procrastinate about. Maybe it’s just the first task you planned to do on Monday morning. Whatever will make a BIG impact on your week, do it NOW!
5. Do life admin
One thing that always seems to derail our efforts to be more productive is LIFE ADMIN – be that doing the weekly online shop, ironing, filling in a school form or sorting out your insurance.
Make it a habit to get a few of these small but important life admin jobs out of the way on a Sunday evening and it will make a big difference to the week ahead.
Make sure that any life admin jobs that can’t be done on Sunday evening are added to one of your to do lists – either your weekly to do list (if it needs to be done this week – and make sure you allocate it to a specific day too) or your general to do list (if it doesn’t need to be done yet).
6. Tidy your work area
Whether you have a dedicated office, a desk in the corner of your bedroom or you work on the kitchen table… left unchecked your work area will start to get messy. And the messier your desk, the less organised and productive you will be. Spend a few minutes each Sunday evening tidying up a bit.
Treat it a little like your emails: throw away anything that is no longer needed, file anything that needs to be kept and action anything that will take 3 minutes or less to do. Make sure everything else is added to one of your to do lists.
And just like email, you may find the first time you do this, it takes a little longer as you have A LOT of clutter to get through, but once you are in the habit of doing this every week, it should be a 5 minute job.
7. Go to bed early
An oldie but a goodie! Getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday night will make you massively more productive on Monday morning.
And by doing the previous 6 habits you should actually sleep BETTER! Imagine how well you’d sleep on Sunday night, knowing your inbox was clean and tidy, you had a bullet proof plan for the next week, you were on top of your life admin and you had a clean and tidy desk!
7 things to do on Sunday evening to make your week way more productive
I think you can appreciate that – doing these 7 things on a Sunday evening, will make a dramatic impact to the rest of your week. The trick is to get into a regular habit of always doing those things… which is easier said than done! But hopefully, after you have experienced the incredible effect of getting on top of things on a Sunday evening, that will be motivation enough!
If you do struggle to motivate yourself to do this (I appreciate SEVEN things can seem a bit daunting), try instead to do at least one. Tell yourself you are just going to do one of these activities and see what happens. The most likely scenario is once you are at your desk and you’ve done one of these activities, you’ll be able to convince yourself to do a second one… maybe even a third. And hey, even if you only do one of these things on a Sunday evening, it’s still going to make a BIG difference to your week!
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a Sunday evening if that doesn’t fit into your schedule. It could be Friday evening, Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon – whatever works for you (well, apart from going to bed early – that really only works well if it’s done on Sunday evening!).
Over to you!
I’d love to know how you get on if you try this… how much of an impact did it have on your week?
Or are you already doing this… do you have any extra tips? I’d love to hear them.
Let me know in the comments below!
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