8 Things I Do Every Sunday To Set Myself Up For A Good Week
I just returned home after spending ten days in California with my family and, while I love being in that beautiful weather, I'm happy to be home and in my routine again! I feel very lucky to have the ability to work from wherever I am - all I really need is a good cell phone connection and I'm able to get in touch with my clients from virtually anywhere. That doesn't mean, however, that I particularly enjoy being away from my desk and little home office here in DC. I still very much crave routine even though it's been a couple of years since I've had a traditional "desk" job.
I have found, particularly since I started working for myself, that if I have a successful Sunday routine, my week ahead is significantly more productive and enjoyable. Most of the time, I like to treat Saturdays like a true "day off" by spending time exploring my city, trying a new coffee shop or restaurant, hanging out with my husband and friends, and trying to disconnect from work and responsibilities as best as I can. Sundays, however, are my day to "nest" at home and get prepared for the week ahead.
I have my ideal Sunday down to a science at this point - I know what I need to do to have a good week ahead and I know what is worth my time and effort, even if it does mean I skip out on the typical Sunday brunch so many of my friends and peers enjoy. Being self-employed, my day to day schedule is never really the same so it's hard for me to maintain a morning or evening schedule most days. Some evenings I don't get home until 10pm, some days I don't have anything on my schedule until noon, and other days I'm bouncing around town without a moment to breathe. Instead of trying to manipulate my ever-changing schedule and then drive myself crazy in doing so, I spend one day a week getting my act together and prepping for the week ahead. It works for me and I always encourage my clients to find
1. Meal Plan + Grocery Shop For The Week Ahead
This one is a no-brainer for me and I have come to thoroughly enjoy our Sunday morning ritual visit to the grocery store. The first thing I do on Sunday mornings (or even on Saturdays if I have the time), is take note of what we currently have in the refrigerator or pantry. Then, I look at the week ahead - do we have dinner plans or obligations that will keep us out of the house for the night? Once I have a good idea of what we're working with and what the week ahead consists of, I start to meal plan for the week. I try and utilize any ingredients that are leftover or remain in our kitchen (a bag of lentils, cans of tomatoes, some uncooked chicken breast in the freezer, etc.) so that I don't have to purchase anything twice or throw anything away and then spend a solid 15-30 minutes going through cookbooks or Pinterest for recipes that use those ingredients. I also like to challenge myself to at least one or two new recipes per week. (I have plenty of recipe ideas in my 'Recipe Roundup' blog posts that you can reference if you want ideas).
Once I've made my meal plan, I write out my grocery list and make sure to include some options for breakfast (lunch is usually leftovers or Vegetable & Butcher meals that we get delivered) and snacks. I've found that by being very specific about what I need to get at the grocery store and then staying on track (i.e. avoiding buying something that looks good once I get there), I spend way less money than I would have in the past and we rarely throw away extra food!
2. Do The Laundry + Wash Your Sheets
I am the laundry do-er in our household and really don't mind the task at all because I only do laundry one day a week. Since most of the day is spent at home, particularly the evenings when we are making dinner and relaxing before the week ahead, I try and knock it all out in one day. I also use Sundays as the day to wash our sheets and make the bed so that I'm more inclined to go to bed early and set myself off on the right foot come Monday morning.
3. Spend Some Extra Time on Self-Care
I rarely get the urge (or have the energy) to do a face mask, pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs, read a book for leisure, meditate for 30 minutes or do all of the "things" on my proverbial self-care list during the week. Since I rarely have anything booked on Sundays, however, I like to spend a little extra time on myself. Usually that consists of a longer-than-normal shower, a face mask, and reading a good book or a nice walk around the neighborhood sans technology. If we had a bathtub in our home, it would absolutely include a weekly bubble bath, but alas! I do what I can. Treating some of these practices like a special occasion gives me more appreciation for my time off and helps me to feel refreshed and ready to tackle a new week.
4. Book and Schedule Your Workouts for the Week
If you are a planner like me but also have a hard time squeezing in a workout unless it's on your calendar, this one is for you! Every Sunday, I look at the week ahead and then schedule my workouts accordingly. An empty evening? Yoga it is. A two hour break in the middle of my day (remember, I work for myself!)? Head to the gym and get in a tough workout. I don't like to do the same thing every day or week for that matter, so it's fun to sit down and plan things out according to my schedule and level of busy-ness. I also always give myself at least two rest days (usually on my busy workdays where I know I just won't have the time to squeeze something in).
5. Write Out Your Weekly Goals + To-Do List
I always seem to have an endless to-do list both for my personal projects as well as for work. I chalk it up to having more goals than I have time for, but I've learned that I'll probably never get through my entire list and that's okay. Instead, I take a look at my "master" list that I keep in the Notes section of my phone (this is filled with both big and small tasks I want to achieve over the short and long term) and then pick and choose what I want to set my sights on during the week ahead. I keep a large notebook on my desk and write out each week's schedule on the left (appointments, calls, meetings, workouts, etc.) and then on the right I add extra to-do's I want to squeeze in. I usually spend about 15 minutes making this list and writing down some goals every Sunday evening - it helps me to sleep a little more soundly and wake up motivated.
6. Tidy Up!
After we go grocery shopping, we always come home, unload the groceries, tidy up the kitchen, and then turn on some music and clean the house. Our house is always pretty neat and tidy, but I like to make sure that everything is hung in the closets, there are no packages sitting in the entryway, and that the floors are vacuumed and swept. I also do some of the other not-so-fun tasks like clean the toilets, clean mirrors, and spray down surfaces I don't get to every day.
7. Lay Out Tomorrow's Clothes
Maybe it's a product of going to private school my entire life and always wearing uniforms, but my least favorite activity in the mornings is figuring out what I'm going to wear that day. On days where I'm not working from home or heading to the yoga studio, I like to double check the weather forecast and plan out my outfit for the next day. It's one less thing to think about and I always thank myself in the morning!
8. Eat Clean + Avoid Alcohol
I know that most people like to use Monday as the day to "start fresh" and begin anew after a weekend of eating more than normal or getting off track, but I actually like to do this on Sundays instead. I rarely drink alcohol as it is, but I especially avoid it on Sundays so that I have a good night's sleep and clear head and I like to eat particularly clean to set myself up for success come Monday.
I hope some of those tips help or, in the least bit, resonate with you! I have found them to be instrumental in setting myself and my weeks up for success both personally and professionally.