6 Things To Do On Sunday For a Less-Stress Week

6 things to do on sunday

The weekly review of Getting Things Done is a way to set your week on track. It focuses on the things you need to do to make the start of your work week smooth. And, like the rest of GTD, the focus is on your work week. But what about the rest of your life? Today we will look at 6 things to do on Sunday to make the rest of your life’s week run smoothly.

Work Is Just A Fraction Of Our Lives

Work is only a fraction of the totality of our lives. Unfortunately, most productivity systems focus on that fraction, rather than everything else we have to do. And unless we have minions or staff, we cannot afford to ignore the non-work parts of our lives. If our work lives are organized, and our personal lives are chaos, the overall life is going to be chaotic. So it is important that we spend time making our personal lives run smoothly too.

I used to use the weekend as a total break – I would relax, go shopping, maybe do a little house cleaning, watch movies and generally just fritter away my time. This extended into Sunday evenings. I felt I needed this time because I was so stressed out from the week I just had. Little did I know it was self-inflicted.

Stress Straight Through To the Weekend

Every week I would hit the ground stumbling, realizing home life was chaotic, and maybe, if I was lucky, hit my stride by Thursday. Just to have one calm day before it started all over again. Most weeks didn’t have that oasis…it was stress straight through to the weekend.

The problem with this was that although my work life was organized and running smoothly, all the undone tasks and disorganization in my non-work life was bleeding over and adding to the stress. As a result, I was constantly frantic, unable to relax in the evenings and generally stressed out. This is not a good recipe for mental health.

I found that if I took a bit of time on Sunday evenings and did a little bit of planning, the week started smoothly on all fronts. Not only did my days flow well, but my evenings did as well. I got more done, I was more relaxed, and I didn’t need the weekend to completely unwind from the self-induced stress.

The Sunday Tasks for a Better Week All Around

I have found that if you take a little bit of time on Sunday and consider the non-work areas of your life, your non-work life runs smoother, which contributes to a less stressful week all the way around. Here are the areas you can review to make that happen:

1. Check the Calendar

I used to miss appointments all the time if they were on Mondays, because I didn’t see them coming and didn’t plan accordingly. It got to the point where I wouldn’t even schedule things on Monday because I was tired of having to reschedule.

By considering my week’s calendar on Sundays, I can see what is coming during non-work hours and adjust things accordingly. At the very least, I am not caught off guard by Monday appointments or forget them altoghether.

2. Check the Evening Load

My schedule used to be jam-packed with non-work activities. I was a member of several committees at church, part of the music program, and a Girl Scout leader and service unit officer. Sometimes I had no free evenings in a week.

I know now that looking at the schedule allows me to determine if I am over-extended for the week ahead. This gives me time to cancel meetings or ask someone else to go in my place.

Looking ahead also allowed me to see that week after week I was over-extended and allowed me to step away from those commitments that have very little return on my time investments.

3. Load-Balance the Tasks

I have always had a problem with thinking I can do more things than I actually have time for. My eyes, as the saying goes, were too big for my metaphorical time stomach. I would try to cram four hours worth of tasks into an hour’s space, and get frustrated when I couldn’t get things done.

Looking at my schedule and meeting loads allows me to right-size my task list. I can more realistically figure out what is possible during the free time I have.

4. Plan the Food

Food preparation had long been a mystery to me. Raised by a stay-at-home mother with extensive pantries and a prodigious memory for what was in her fridge and freezer, I never learned how to meal plan. Once on my own, far too often we would end up eating sandwiches, breakfast or takeout for dinner because I didn’t have a plan or the groceries on hand.

By preparing a basic meal plan on Sundays with a matching grocery list, I can easily have a week’s worth of meals ready to go without thinking. By matching this with my schedule, I can make sure that I have selected easy-to-prepare foods for the days when time is tight.

It also means that we are eating healthier, and lunches are not snatched fast food eaten at my desk. This is important to my work productivity in the afternoon, as there is a direct correspondence between what I eat at lunch and my afternoon energy levels.

5. Wardrobe Check

Clothing can sometimes baffle me. I often find myself wasting precious time in the morning figuring out what I am going to wear, only to find that what I was in the mood for is dirty, needing repair or otherwise unavailable. This was not a skill I learned as a child, having spent up to eighth grade in a school with uniforms; no choice, no decisions to make.

Even when I am working at home, I still have to decide what to wear based on my schedule. If I have meetings, I have to be dressed professionally (from the waist up, at least).

By looking at the general weather forecast, my schedule and my meetings, I can make sure I have enough appropriate and wearable outfits on hand so that I am not rushed in the mornings.

6. Make A Maintenance Block

The worst part of my previous weeks was the end of the week rush. I was always scrambling to get caught up on household tasks, which often got pushed into the weekend. I was often carrying bills and correspondence to work to get to them on my lunch hour because I hadn’t set aside time during the evenings to get to them.

By planning a single half hour at home to deal with the desk things meant that they were all taken care of in a timely way. And by planning in small chunks of maintenance time, like 15 minutes a day, the housework didn’t pile up and take away my weekend.

A Little Time On Sunday = A Better Week

If you spend a little bit of time on Sunday reviewing some basic life areas, your whole life, work included, will run smoother. By taking a little bit of time to review your schedule, task list, food, and clothing you will find that the non-work parts of your life run smoother. It’s just a bit more time on top of a weekly review, and the return on investment of the time is much lower stress.