Sunday nights may hold the key to your work-week productivity. No, we’re not suggesting you head to the office and try to get a jump on things.
Instead, this potent time block can be best used planning ahead, connecting and relaxing.
Engage in these ten activities, before the craziness of Monday morning sets in, and supercharge your week.
1. Make a Task List
Setting the week’s goals, and then making a task list, is a good Sunday night activity because it allows you to shape your week with an objective mindset.
“It is important to know exactly what needs to be achieved and to set deadlines to achieve it,” says David James, the founder of Business Growth Digital Marketing. “Working on a whim or going with the flow will negatively impact your productivity.”
2. Set Priorities
Developing a task list is a great place to start when it comes to planning your week on Sunday night, but you’re not finished unless you take a little extra time to prioritize.
“I prioritize tasks based on the value impact it will have for the business.” James says. “For example, will this task contribute to more business income? Or will it improve the business profile to win more customers in the future?”
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3. Cook Ahead
Dozens of business owners we talked to spoke of the importance of cooking ahead and meal planning on Sundays. It’s a great way to make sure your health doesn’t fall by the wayside as you build your career or your business.
“Eating well is a priority, along with hitting my business goals,” says Halona Black, the Orlando, Florida-based founder of Digital Well Publisher, a publishing boutique. “I make sure to cook at least two large pots of food on Sundays that can be eaten throughout the week.”
Chili, minestrone soup, or an Indian spiced eggplant, tomato, and okra stew are Black’s favorites.
4. Plan Ahead With the Right App
Lisa Chu is the Los Angeles-based owner of BlackNBianco, a children’s formalwear company. She’s a big advocate of using technology to make life a little easier and likes the app Wunderlist for helping to manage team projects.
“It's vital I use Wunderlist on Sunday night because I have to set the responsibilities for each member of my team before the week starts,” she says.
The other business app Chu suggests is called Daylite. It helps her manage her schedules and provides a well-integrated calendar that contains all of her important meetings for the week.
“As I get older my memory become less refined, and having a weekly reminder of all my to-do's list reviewed on Sunday evening helps get me ready for the week,” Chu says. “Without spending time every Sunday evening using these two apps I would be lost for the week.”
Social media can be a huge time-suck during the work week, which is why a little friendly outreach on the weekend makes sense. Share a relevant article or two and take a few minutes to congratulate those who have changed jobs or launched new ventures recently.
“Sunday night is an excellent time to network with colleagues on LinkedIn,” says Joni Holderman, professional resume writer and founder of Thrive! Resumes. “The best time to nurture your professional network is before you're in a job search.”
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6. Talk Logistics
It’s true that thinking through rides, lunches and permission slips isn’t the most fun activity in the world, but it’ll make your work week a lot less hectic.
“As a wife, mother, and productivity psychologist, my must-do Sunday evening activity is a family business meeting with my husband and kids,” says Dr. Melissa Gratias.
“We discuss all appointments and the logistics for the week to ensure that teleportation will not be required to get anyone from one place to another. The result is that we all have a more productive week with a managed amount of stress.”
7. Read a Book
Sure, it’s tempting to spend your evening glued to your phone, particularly if there are interesting news events unfolding in your area. But a better option might be to go old-school and pick up a book.
“I used to make final read-throughs on my phone, and I noticed that while it did assist me in falling asleep, I would wake up more tired than normal,” writes George Gracin, a sales and marketing associate for neoRhino IT Solutions in Houston, Texas, in an email.
“Ever since I started reading a book instead when I go to sleep, I have a more solid and less interrupted night of sleep,” Gracin adds. “Trying this on a Sunday night before the work week could help even further.”
8. Dream Big
It can be difficult to think about the larger picture when you’re mired in the day-to-day activities of your job or your business. That’s why Sunday night is a great time to dream big and make sure you’re moving toward goals.
“The weekend brings a fresh perspective on my business,” says Holderman. “That's why Sunday night is the perfect time to refine strategic goals for the business and set overarching objectives for the week.
Otherwise, there's a danger of checking off each day's activity list and appointments, but missing the big picture.”
Setting a calm and mindful tone for the week is part of the plan for many business owners.
“Meditating is a great way to relax and clear the mind,” says Max Cron, a consultant for Point Above and a mindfulness, leadership and business coach based out of New Orleans. “Proven to rebuild gray matter inside the brain, meditation is a great way to practice focusing and build mental energy.”
There are so many meditation versions, one is bound to fit your lifestyle. Try breathing meditations, walking meditations, or chanting meditations until you find a comfortable routine and the extra calm and clarity that comes with it.
“Meditation on Sunday nights gives you a chance to process and let go of what happened last week,” says Cron. “It allows the mind to forget the to-do list and clear itself for a productive week.”
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10. Go to Bed Early
Rebecca Lee is a registered nurse from New York City and founder of the natural health resource, RemediesForMe.com. She wakes up at 3:45 A.M. every day to go to work at the hospital, and then works on her business until bedtime.
“If I don't get to bed on time on Sunday night, I'll be tired for the rest of the week,” she says. “Eventually your body will demand that the debt be repaid for the lack of sleep.”
Lee explains that the body gets the most restful sleep from 10:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. We sleep in 90 minute cycles, from deep, to non-REM, to REM sleep, so the later you get into the night, the deeper your REM sleep gets.
The earlier you sleep, the more time you give your brain to fully recharge for the next day, and the next week.