I can’t tell you how much I used to dread Mondays.
Perhaps you feel the same way?
With a full on week ahead, you can feel buried under the pressure of it all before you even get out of bed! Fortunately, life doesn’t have to be all scatterbrain and chaos – even if you have a million and one things to juggle. That’s because there are powerful strategies you can use TODAY to get more done in less time.
Here are FIVE of our favorites.
- Start your week on Sunday
I hear you! Sundays are for chilling, not working. I used to think that too. But the problem with starting your week on a Monday morning is you’ll always be playing catch-up.
Without a plan of action to kick-start your week from the word GO, you’ll waste a ton of time getting in the flow. Once you’ve got the school run done, sorted stuff at home, and made your plan for the day, it’s almost lunchtime!
You can claw back a ton of time if you take 30 minutes on a Sunday to plan your week ahead. It’s actually the best time to get your head into planning mode because you won’t have the usual daily distractions to contend with.
Start by making your to-do list. Write down EVERYTHING (even the boring errands like buying that birthday gift or picking up your dress from the dry cleaners). When it’s all out of your head and on paper, you won’t have to waste headspace remembering (mini win!)
But don’t stop there! For best results, turn your to-do list into a weekly action plan. I love my Weekly Action Pad for this task.
First, I list out all my tasks by project and then pencil in due dates. Instead of a list of tasks, I now have a big picture overview of what’s coming up. Even better, I can think strategically about my week by plotting the best day and times to do each task so there’s less last-minute panic and much more calm.
Planning on Sunday also gives my brain a big advantage. It means I’m never starting cold on a Monday morning. Instead, I’ve already done some processing and am therefore ready to hit the ground running.
- Use a planner to plan ahead
It’s a cliche, but time is our most precious resource. Without good plans, it’s so easy to waste valuable minutes and that means you’re always playing catch up or piling on the overwhelm.
It’s why I wouldn’t be without my daily planner. It’s a lifesaver!
I love the SELF Journal, but there are plenty of others to choose from so it’s worth taking the time to figure out which is the perfect planner for you.
With your planner sorted, take the time to figure out your day so you always know what you need to do and where you need to be. Planning frees up headspace too. With it all written down you don’t have to remember (and you won’t worry you’ve forgotten something). It’s a simple shift that frees up valuable creative energy you can use elsewhere.
When planning your day, don’t make a to-do list alone. Instead, create a timeline and schedule in timeslots when you’ll get each task done (in the same way you block out time for appointments). Pin yourself down to a deadline for each task and you’re more likely to finish everything in a reasonable timespan.
It’s a game changer! There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of the day with a chunky to-do list barely dented because you were way too ambitious about what was practical and possible.
- Prioritize your to-do list
When your to-do list is as long as your arm and you’re buried under a pile of work it’s tempting to focus on the quick wins. And why not? This shortens your to-do list and makes you feel better.
But beware! Focus too much on quantity and you’ll store up problems for the rest of the week!
Your willpower comes in a finite supply. Once it’s spent, it’s much harder to motivate yourself to do a task efficiently and well. So when juggling your to-do list, get the most important stuff done first.
Differentiate between the essentials and get rid of the nice-to-dos by delegating or even ditching completely.
Your to-do list may still feel scary, but you’ll feel far less overwhelmed knowing you’ve got all the big stuff out of the way. It’s a little practice that can give you some much-needed breathing space.
- Declutter and organize
I always know when I’m feeling the pressure because my desk and office end up looking like a burglar’s rifled through everything! You know how it is… when you’re up against it, things can get untidy, but a cluttered environment creates a cluttered brain.
So get in the habit of keeping things organized and orderly. There are simple ways you can get rid of visual clutter.
Another timesaver is to keep everyday objects in the same place. It means you won’t waste time frantically looking for your keys when you’re rushing out the door to an important meeting.
This principle applies to your workplace too.
You’ll always feel better about yourself and the task ahead when the space around you is calm and clear. So if you’re struggling, take note of how your surroundings make you feel. Do you need a quick tidy up?
There is one caveat though… Double-check you’re not using an urgent need to tidy NOW as an excuse to procrastinate! The windows can definitely wait until that high priority task is done and dusted!
- Work productively
Work productively they say! Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but the truth is the best-laid plans mean nothing unless you actually get the work ticked off. And that can be an uphill battle.
Thanks to digital notifications and endless distractions and disruptions it’s so easy for a simple task to eat away big chunks of your day. Time to be honest with yourself. Do you struggle to get stuff done because you lack time, or because you struggle to stay focused on the task at hand!
With temptations everywhere and procrastination just a click away, we have to get strict with ourselves – if we want to have a wildly productive week. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to get an edge:
- Plan a power hour – this blog gives the lowdown on HOW.
- Work in Pomodoros – short bursts of focus followed by breaks keep you fresh and ensure your concentration lasts for longer
- Don’t check your email! – resist the temptation to jump on a message as soon as it pings in. Instead, schedule time in your day to batch your email and do it all at once
- Remove distractions – it’s so frustrating when you’re in deep focus mode only to get pulled away by a ringtone or a knock on the door. Give yourself the space to work without interruptions and you’ll get more done in less time
- Set yourself goals – have clear intentions of what you want to achieve in any given focus session. When you know what you’ve got to get done, you’re more inclined to do it!
- Don’t procrastinate – resist the temptation to put off for tomorrow what you can do today. You may have an easier ride in that moment, but you’ll only store up more pressure for later
Life shouldn’t be about running around like a headless chicken. Your neverending to-do list doesn’t need to make you a scatterbrain or take over your life.
With some simple tweaks to the way you set up your day, you can boost your efficiency, feel in control, and feel on top of it all when you hit the weekend.
Put these tips into your life and you need never dread Mondays again!
How do you guarantee a wildly productive week?
Share your top tips in the comments.