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

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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?

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    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?

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    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.

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    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.

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    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?

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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