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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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    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 8, 2020

    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

    What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

    When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

    In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

    While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

    As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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      Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

      The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

      But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

      However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

      This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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      Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

      We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

      Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

      Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

      The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

      When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

      When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

      How to Make Decision Effectively

      Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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      1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

      You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

      Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

      Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

      2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

      You don’t have to choose all the time.

      Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

      Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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      3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

      You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

      The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

      Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

      Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

      So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

      More Tips About Decision Making

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

      Reference

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