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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
    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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    Last Updated on October 17, 2018

    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

    How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

    If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

    Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

    So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

    1. Meditate

    We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

    Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

    Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

    Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

    Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

    If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

    And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

    2. Get plenty of sleep

    If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

    If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

    How much sleep should you be getting?

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    Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

    Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

    Yes, there are.

    Try these three things:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

    3. Challenge your brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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    4. Take more breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

    However, I was wrong.

    Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Let me explain.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

    What’s the answer?

    Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

    5. Learn a new skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

    6. Start working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

    Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

    Not a problem.

    A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

    Interested in getting started?

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    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat healthier foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – improves memory
    • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
    • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Final thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

    You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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