Time has a habit of getting away from us. Before you know it, the week is over, and nothing we’ve planned to accomplish got done. Sure, a bunch of last-minute emergencies got pushed up to the front of the line, but the plans, projects, and personal time you hoped for always seem to get shoved over to the wayside.
The real secret to a productive work week isn’t planning: it’s preparing.
Sure, you can plan to tackle an entire week’s worth of tasks. But have you PREPARED for those tasks? If not, you’re defeated before you even start.
Prepare Yourself For A Productive Workweek
Plan your weekly self-care routine:
- Moments for mindfulness.
- Making to-do lists.
- Honoring your space
It’s easy to think you’re “making extra time” for your daily tasks, but if you don’t take care of yourself first, how will you put your best into your projects? The truth is you’re not, and skipping your morning self-care is a great way to sabotage your projects before you even start!
Prepare Your Meals For A Productive Work Week
Last-minute meals when you’re starving devolve into air-fryer chicken fingers and fries. If you prepare a greek salad at the top of the day, you can sneak some at-the-ready vegetables into your last-minute meal, and you’ll feel a whole lot more refreshed and ready to tackle your self-care routine the following day!
A good tip is to take some time right after you’ve stocked your fridge to break down some of your favorite food items into ready-to-go snack packs in containers you can grab and go throughout the week: veggie sticks with hummus and dip, along with fresh pita is a PERFECT quick snack. Toss some cheese cubes and a cut-up summer sausage, and you’ve got a picnic on the go! But you’re never going to do that for yourself if you’re tired and already hungry; you’ll eat whatever’s quickest and easiest to prepare. Trust me when I tell you you’ll feel brighter and more energetic if you enjoy prepared meals more often, and those rewards pay actual world dividends on your productivity!
Prepare Moments Of Mindfulness For A Productive Work Week
Moments of mindfulness are times throughout your day when no one can reach you, ignore your cell phone notifications, and you can decompress for a moment to catch your breath and reassess the day. You can plan these moments into your routine, or you can cultivate awareness with your family and colleagues that sometimes you’ll take moments to yourself and will be available shortly.
It sounds like a waste of time. Just like self-care, giving your mind everyday moments to relax and decompress sets you up to be more fortified and resilient when you return to the task. Everyone, no matter how focused or determined, has an upper limit for stress and energy. When you let yourself reset and recoup with a moment’s peace to yourself, you often return with new solutions or compassion that may not have otherwise been possible when you power through with no breaks.
Moments of mindfulness look different for everyone, but the common goal is to let your mind rest for a few minutes every few hours (at least) without absorbing new information or experiencing sensory overload. No phones, no distractions. A walk around the block, a quiet snack and some fresh air, or even a dedicated silent prayer and meditation can all be excellent examples of a moment of mindfulness. Taking space for yourself is one conscious way to avert over-exerting yourself and create boundaries that people worth respecting will respect. It turns out this is also a great way to discover who among your family, friends, and colleagues are used to draining your energy, as they are the ones who will be immediately put off and opposed to your request for a moment’s peace.
Preparing To-Do Lists For A Productive Work Week
Most of us are quick to scoff at the value of a to-do list as though they’re only for people who have trouble keeping track of their lives. The truth is, it’s completely natural and human to be derailed by new ideas, distractions, and even crises throughout the day. To-do lists let you plan and prioritize, they help you quickly return to tasks when you’ve found yourself distracted, and you even get a little dopamine hit whenever you check off a completed job! To-do lists offer clarity and peace of mind at the start of a task-heavy day and take the stress of remembering a dozen or so tasks at a time for hours on end. Studies have shown that we can only keep track of between 4 to 9 unique ideas in our short-term memory at any given time! The truth is that leaving the fate of your plans up to chance by relying on your memory to keep track of everything you’re supposed to do in a day is a great way to sabotage your efforts right from the start. Make regular to-do lists for an entire week and see how much more you can accomplish!