Advertising
Advertising

Get the Most Out of Your Week by Starting it on Sunday

Get the Most Out of Your Week by Starting it on Sunday
    Make Sunday number one in your book.

    As we head into the weekend, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to do my part in shortening it for you.

    Okay, that’s not really my intent.

    But look at a calendar. You know, a paper-based one. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the first day of the week isn’t Monday. It’s Sunday.

    So why is Monday considered the “beginning of the week” then?

    Advertising

    One of the more obvious reasons is that many of us start our “work week” on Mondays. Sunday seems to roll into the weekend as a result. So Mondays often bear the brunt of being the worst day of the week because there’s so much to do, so much to get back to doing — and sleeping in usually isn’t an option, either.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. What if you could go into Monday with less of a sense of burden and in a more relaxed and open state of mind? What if you could have already accomplished some of the things that were really important to you by the time Monday arrived?

    Well, you can. Just start treating Sunday as the first day of the week and it will not only improve your Mondays, but it will improve your week as a whole.

    So, how do you get started?

    Advertising

    Sundays Come First

    While paper-based calendars generally start on Sundays, calendar options like Google Calendar and native apps such as iCal allow you to make Mondays the first day of the week. You’ve likely enabled this.

    Well, now you have to go back into each application and change it back. It’ll take some time if you’ve got a lot calendaring apps (both online and off) on the go, but doing the work now will go a long way to shifting your mindset going forward. Whether your actual workweek starts on a Mondar or not, I strongly encourage you to make Sundays the first day in your calendar apps.

    Shift Your Workflow

    Now that you’ve shaken up things in your calendars, shake them up in your workflow. Most people will see that Sundays are quite open when it comes to work, so start to move some of the items that are set aside for Monday to Sunday. If you work from home, this is going to be a fairly painless process. If you don’t, you may have to do some further tweaking.

    You may want to go so far as to ask your superiors if you can start working Sunday through Thursday rather than the usual Monday through Friday routine. In some cases, this won’t be possible based on your role at the office, the type of business you’re in or the like. But if none of those obstacles stand in your way, give it a shot. There’s plenty of avenues to take when pitching the idea.

    Advertising

    You can pitch that Sundays would be very productive for you because of the lack of distractions in the workplace. Your flow won’t get interrupted – and that’s going to boost your productivity significantly just on its own. You can also mention that Mondays will be more productive for you by virtue of handling some of the usual Monday tasks on Sunday. This could serve to make you a huge asset to have in the workplace on Mondays; while others are struggling to get going, you’ve already put a day’s worth of work in. Ask if you can try it for a month and see where it leads.

    That said, don’t mention how Fridays tend to be unproductive in general and because you’ll be off on that day and working Thursday you won’t fall prey to that practice. It could backfire on you in that your boss will assume that Thursdays will become your Fridays. Use positive wording; it goes much further with an ask such as this.

    Fringe Benefits

    Cost: While your employer could see some real benefits from letting you start your workweek on Sunday, you could see some as well. For example, if you have kids you could end up saving on daycare costs if you have Friday off instead of Sunday.

    More Free Time: Don’t think that you “lose a day” of the weekend with your family, friends or significant other because you’re working Sunday. If you work from home you can curate your work schedule so that you’re spending the time you need on your work rather than work for a set amount of hours in a row. If you don’t work from home, you can arrange to work a schedule that allows to maintain some social time with family and friends on Sunday because the time you arrive and leave isn’t as important as the time you spend at work. There’s more flexibility because you’re not going to have to be present when others are – in fact, you’ll probably be working solo.

    Advertising

    Clarity: A shift like this allows you to really get clear on what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and – most notably – when you’re doing it. By starting your workweek on Sunday you’re going to notice other things that you can fine-tune about your work. The focus generated by Sunday will carry over throughout much of the week, and impact the quantity and quality of your output — for the better.

    Manic Mondays No More

    I used to hate Mondays. Not anymore. Starting on Sundays has freed me from that trap – and, yes, it is a trap. The negativity that Monday brings along with it can really be detrimental to your productivity over the long haul. It’s hard to believe that one day can do that, but it can – and it does.

    Shift the start of your week to Sunday and you’ll have more sunny days ahead. And everyone could use a little more sunshine in their lives, right?

    More by this author

    Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space Christmas Lifehacks: Essentials for a 21st Century Santa Claus The Ultimate Holiday Gift (and How to Give and Receive It)

    Trending in Productivity

    1The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? 210 Best Time Management Books Recommended By Entrepreneurs 3What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating) 46 Simple Steps to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals 5Secrets to Organizing Thoughts and Ideas (So You’ll Never Lose Ideas!)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

    Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

    “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

    In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

    New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

    Advertising

    So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

    What is the productivity paradox?

    There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

    In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

    He wrote in his conclusion:

    “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

    Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

    How do we measure productivity anyway?

    And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

    In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

    But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

    In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

    But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

    Possible causes of the productivity paradox

    Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

    Advertising

    • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
    • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
    • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
    • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

    There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

    According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

    Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

    The paradox and the recession

    The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

    “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

    This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

    Advertising

    According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

    Looking forward

    A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

    “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

    Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

    “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

    On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

    Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    Read Next