As some of you may know, 2019 has not been my best year. I’ve been very low on energy, lacked motivation and drive, questioned the direction of my career and overall felt pretty lost. It hasn’t been fun. And it’s resulted in a fairly unproductive nine months.
However, ever since I got back from Menorca it’s felt the confusion is slowly shifting. I finally have a bit more get-up-and-go, and I’ve been working hard to boost my productivity. I’m still not operating to my full overachiever-capacity, but things are improving. And here are a few of the things I’ve been doing to set myself up for a productive week.
Healthy Sundays & Mondays
In order to feel human, I need to get a solid eight or nine hours of sleep every night. Whenever I have a (rare) late night I always experience a “sleep hangover” the next day. And sometimes this dazed feeling can last two or three days.
Two weeks ago I invited a friend to stay over on a Monday night, and we were up until 2am chatting. Even though I attempted to make up for lost sleep by going to bed early on Tuesday and Wednesday, I still felt sluggish and exhausted for the remainder of the week. If you get Sunday and Monday wrong, you’re usually screwed for the whole week!
So, for this reason, I like to make sure I spend Sunday and Monday evenings at home. This allows me to unwind slowly, eat a healthy dinner, and get a really good night’s sleep.
Desk Day Mondays
There’s a lot of flexibility to my work week, because I’m my own boss. For the most part, I can work whenever I want, wherever I want. But, as my schedule has got busier and I’ve taken on other projects (like the podcast and book club), I’ve really started to value my desk days.
I find it so helpful to begin each new week with a full day at my desk, where I can commit to really focused work without any distractions. Every Monday is blocked out in my calendar, and I won’t schedule any meetings, work events or social appointments unless they’re absolutely essential.
Instead, I spend the entire day at home writing, planning upcoming content, taking phone calls and catching up on admin. I achieve a lot this way; and it helps me feel less stressed whenever the remainder of the week becomes quite chaotic.
Brain Dump Sundays
I’m the classic Type-A personality. So it should come as no surprise to hear that I get irritable, short-tempered and disproportionately stressed out whenever it feels like I don’t have a firm grip on my to-do list. Control freak, over here!
For those moments when I feel really overwhelmed by work and life admin, I turn to Brighton Keller’s brilliant Brain Dump formula. It’s simple and effective.
You dump every task that’s plaguing you – whether work-related, personal or for the home – onto a sheet of paper. Then, from that main list, you start grouping tasks into categories and break everything down into bitesized, manageable chunks.
Brain Dumps are a great way to start the week. But they’ll rescue you whenever you begin to feel frazzled. (If you find Brain Dumps helpful, you’ll probably also enjoy Power Hours.)
Although I’m an Aries, there is a lot of Virgo in my birth chart. And I match-up to every Virgo personality trait going (more so than my brother, who is an actual Virgo). I remember seeing a Virgo Bingo meme on Instagram Stories, last year, in which one of the boxes said “Google Calendar owns you”. That is 100% me.
I don’t just use Google Calendar to schedule appointments. It’s also the tool I use to set myself reminders and allocate time for small tasks. I’ll add things like pay council tax, book yoga classes for the week, make dentist appointment, send Daniella a congratulations card, return library book.
If I think I’m going to forget something, I make a note of it in Google Calendar whilst it’s still top of my mind. And, that way, I’ll be reminded to revisit it at a more convenient time.
What tips and tricks do you follow, in order to have a productive week? Comment below to share your productivity methods…
Photos by Lydia Collins