Sundays are a blessing and a curse.
They usually start out relaxed—until you remember that new report your boss assigned you and your best friend’s birthday dinner and that dreaded dentist appointment. Sunday Scaries are a real problem, and most of us deal with them by ignoring the upcoming week until we roll out of bed Monday morning.
But with a bit of planning, you can both vanquish your Sunday-related anxiety and set yourself up for a productive week. We’ve rounded up five must-do tasks that will help you on your way.
1. Dedicate an hour (or more) to planning.
Preemptive planning will empower you to stop feeling anxious about the tasks you will encounter during the upcoming week—and give you a head start Monday morning. During the hour or two you set aside, there are three primary items you’ll want to focus on.
Set your weekly goals and to-dos. You probably create a to-do list in your notebook each day, but you should have one that encompasses the week, too. On it, you’ll list tasks that you need to tackle by the end of the week or items you want to focus on every day, like exercise or positive thinking.
Schedule out appointments and events. In your calendar or handy planner, write the doctor’s appointments or big meetings that are set in stone. Record any personal events you want to attend as well, like trivia night or dinner with your friends. By scheduling them out in advance, you’ll be more likely to make time for them.
Complete your time blocking for Monday. If you are a fan of time blocking, one of the most effective ways to manage your time, use Sunday evening to schedule out Monday in your productivity planner. When you time block the night before, you’ll be able to hit the ground running as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning.
2. Start habits you want to keep up during the week.
Sunday is the best day to implement habits you want to continue during the week. Without the added pressure of work, it’s far easier to set intentions and follow through.
For example, if you want your home to remain clean throughout the week, focus on straightening your space. Complete as much in-depth cleaning as you can, and you might feel inspired to tidy up when you return home from a long day.
Another classic example is diet: if you want to eat healthier, Sunday is the day to start—not Monday evening, when your favorite take-out food is calling your name. Cook and eat the types of meals you want to eat throughout the week.
Whether your goal is to read more throughout the week or get more exercise, by starting on Sunday, you’ll find it much easier to continue the trend throughout the week.
3. Seize the day.
Sunday Scaries are worst when you realize that you haven’t done much all weekend—unless playing video games or Tweeting for six hours straight counts.
To avoid leaving the weekend with regret, do at least one meaningful activity on Sunday. It’s a scientific fact that people appreciate experiences far more than material items, so don’t think a shopping trip will cut it. Try:
- Hiking in a local park
- Volunteering at your local animal shelter
- Painting pottery at a local art cafe
- Eating brunch with friends or family
After doing something meaningful, you’ll feel like your weekend was well-spent. With no regrets behind you, you’ll be able to jump headfirst into your upcoming week.
4. Reflect and think forward.
Mindfulness, a practice that has recently experienced a surge in popularity, has helped people realize that we blast through life without thinking much about what we do or feel. When we don’t reflect on our actions and feelings, how can we improve them? That’s where self-reflection comes in.
Each Sunday, take a few minutes to write down your thoughts about the previous week in your favorite journal. Analyze how you felt and what caused those feelings. Then, you can start to think ahead to the upcoming week. Is there a way you can feel less tired after work? A way to harness the same energy?
If long-form journaling isn’t for you, a simple gratitude journal may be more useful. In any small notebook, list the items that brought you joy the past week. This activity not only encourages you to reflect, but also focuses your attention on the positive things in your life.
Self-reflection sessions on Sundays will enable you to plan for even better weeks in the future.
5. Get some quality shuteye.
You can’t control what happens at work. A project deadline might appear at the last minute or your boss might want to host celebratory drinks Monday night. In those cases, you can kiss eight hours of sleep goodbye.
On most Sundays, however, you can control your bedtime. While scrolling through Instagram or watching that final episode on Netflix may seem tempting, prioritizing sleep is a better idea. After all, a good night’s rest can improve your memory, boost your mood, increase your heart function, and reduce the chances of certain conditions, like Type 2 diabetes. There are many ways to set yourself up for sleep success, but here are some of our favorites:
- Eat your biggest meal around mid-afternoon and enjoy a lighter meal during dinner. Bedtime snacks are allowed (and even encouraged), but eating a lot of food later in the day can keep you up at night.
- Climb in bed an hour or two before you need to be asleep. Being comfortable as you read or do your favorite nighttime activity will encourage you to doze off.
- Leave your phone or tablet plugged in across the room and bring your notebook or novel to bed instead. (This is a great time to complete your weekly reflection or gratitude journal.)
After a night of good rest, you’ll wake up Monday morning ready to take on the week.
Interested in more tips about productivity and organization? Check out our blog.