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

Get the Most Out of Your Week by Starting it on Sunday
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    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 July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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