Here are seven simple things to do every Sunday to ensure you have 52 productive weeks in 2020!
Life can be frenetic and overwhelming. Weekends come and go so quickly that before you know it, it’s Monday again and you haven’t ticked anything off your to-do list. ‘It feels as if you’re perpetuating a never-ending cycle, like the proverbial hamster running on a wheel,’ says executive business and life coach Janice Hanly. ‘For moms with school-going children, doing school runs, preparing meals and lunchboxes and helping with homework can become chaotic, especially if you work full-time.’
However, you can view Sundays as a chance to start a fresh, new week that you can use to turn things around. Making certain activities part of your Sunday (and weekday) ritual can help you become more organised and productive. Don’t worry if you don’t stick to the plan of action religiously throughout the year – you’re allowed to take a break, or have moments where you slack here and there. Just make sure you get back on track again.
‘Sundays are for relaxation and while you should definitely make time for self-care, such as taking a long bubble bath or doing your nails, there are things you should also do to prepare for the week ahead,’ says Janice.
She offers this advice:
1. Be specific with your plans
At the beginning of each week, plan everything you need to attend to, including gym classes, appointments and extramural activities. This will give you direction, put your thoughts into perspective and help you feel less stressed, more organised and ready to face the week head-on. ‘I believe in having a daily planner, preferably an A5-size notebook. Take 10 minutes out of your schedule, either in the morning or evening, to write up your daily to-do list,’ says Janice.
Divide your list into three groups:
- ‘A’ list (urgent): On a clean page, write all the urgent tasks – both business and personal – which must be done the next day, such as meeting a work deadline, attending your daughter’s softball game, or shopping for your mom’s birthday present.
- ‘B’ list (not so urgent): On a new page, write all the important tasks that can wait until the ‘A’ list is complete, like doing your monthly archiving of important work documents, or making a reservation for a Valentine’s Day date.
- ‘C’ list (to get to): Write all the tasks you hope to do when you can find the time, like going to the theatre, or helping your son with his art portfolio for the end of the year.
‘As you go through your day, tick off each task as it gets done, which will give you a sense of achievement. If an opportunity to tick something off the “C” list comes along, that’s great! If an unexpected new task arises, you can prioritise and decide which list it goes onto. Again, this is about ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. Every morning or evening, repeat the same exercise, leaving out tasks you’ve completed and adding new ones, if need be. Following this method will help you gain a steady “flow” in your life where you know everything’s taken care of and there’s no chance of forgetting anything.’
2. Think of your home as a company
‘Start thinking of yourself as an executive because, in essence, running a home is akin to managing a micro-business. This is where delegating comes in handy. Involve your children and assign each of them minor age-appropriate responsibilities. Draw up a simple “contract” for them with a list of small daily chores which they’ll sign and put up on the fridge as a reminder. Give them pocket money, or any incentive you think is appropriate, as part of the agreement,’ advises Janice.
For example, get the kids involved in making their own lunchboxes. ‘From a young age, children are more than capable of preparing their own food (under supervision at first). This will teach them independence and they’ll be more likely to eat a lunch they’ve prepared themselves. It’s important for them to take ownership and become contributing members of the household. If you make preparing lunchboxes and doing chores together fun, they’ll feel valued, while learning important
3. Organise the school calendar
Trying to remember everyone’s schedules, school plays, sports matches, piano recitals and movie dates can’t work. Some things may slip your mind, much to your kids’ dismay. Download an app that will make it easier to keep track of everyone’s schedules, as you always have your phone on you.
Both the following ones are available on Android and Apple:
Cozi Family Organizer helps co-ordinate and communicate everyone’s schedules and activities, track grocery lists, manage to-do lists, plan ahead for dinner and keep the whole family on the same page.
Family Organizer helps you manage busy schedules, save memories and get more done by keeping all your family matters in one easy app. Use it as a daily planner to create a family calendar and assign everyone their tasks. It also allows you to sync your schedule across devices and keep your family up to date.
4. Plan your outfits for the week
Do you try on a shirt and a pair of pants, decide the combination doesn’t work and take it off to look for something else? Deciding what you’re wearing each day beforehand saves you a considerable amount of time. ‘Plan your outfits for the week and group the items of clothing together in your wardrobe. This will reduce the stress of wondering what to wear every morning and even afford you a few extra minutes of snoozing time,’ says Janice.
5. Get your beauty sleep
It may not always be possible, but getting a good night’s rest (at least seven to nine hours) is essential for proper recuperation. ‘Limit your use of digital devices for at least two hours before you go to bed. They’re a huge distraction and we get sucked in and bombarded with information overload,’ warns Janice. Studies show that the blue light emitted by LED
screens suppresses melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) and disrupts circadian rhythms (your sleep/wake cycle), resulting in less quality sleep. Finish the day by going to bed early and reading a good book instead.
6. Do your weekly meal planning
‘Think about meal planning and what groceries you need so you can avoid that after-work rush to the shops at the end of a hectic day. You can also prepare meals for the week in advance. Cooking and freezing food on Sundays will save you a lot of time and stress during the week,’ says Janice.
7. Keep track of your progress
Lastly, make a habit of regular introspection. Keeping track of your achievements motivates you to keep going and do even better next time. If you haven’t ticked off everything on your weekly to-do list, you’ll be able to identify where you went
wrong, whether this was caused by factors beyond your control and how to rectify this moving forward. ‘We seldom pause to
acknowledge our own accomplishments, but it’s very important to do so, as this will push you to go even further,’ says Janice.
Janice Hanly is an executive business and life coach. Visit: Janicehanly.co.za
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