It’s no secret that I hate Mondays with a passion. But it also is no secret that I always intend to kick butt on Monday too. The biggest problem I have with Mondays is that I’m still in my weekend rhythm and as a night person the switch between weekend and workdays usually means I’m not tired by the time I go to bed on Sunday. I solved this partly by starting work late, which helps to alleviate some of the “pain”.
Kick-starting the week
I already shared my daily morning routine with you some time ago. So when I get up, I take some time to meditate, take a shower, have breakfast and do some reading, as well as journaling in my 6-minute diary. By this time it’s become a habit to start my workdays like this. In the weekend I usually take a more casual approach and take it easy in general. Despite my troubled relationship with Mondays, I always use this day to plan my week, but also to reflect on the previous.
Self reflection to keep an eye on your progress
Before I start creating my To-Do for the week, I check a few things. First I check my calendar to see what this week’s upcoming appointments are, so that I know how to plan my other activities accordingly. Then I check my previous To-Do and see what I finished, but most importantly the things I didn’t finish. Some of them might need moving over to the current week and sometimes items on the list may have lost priority. Whichever is the case doesn’t really matter, because what does matter is that I did not finish some items on my list for a reason and I always try to determine what the reason was. Did I lose interest? Was it simply not that important? Or were there other factors that prevented me from completing them? It’s very important to ask yourself those questions, because they’ll tell you a lot about yourself and you can use that information to create a better To-Do and be more productive.
For instance; last week I wanted to write three blog articles on my blog, but I only managed to get two done. Why was this? Well, my weekend was very busy and I barely had time to read, so I couldn’t finish the book I was planning to write a review for. I’m still okay with the fact that I didn’t make it, but next time, maybe I shouldn’t push for three articles if I know my weekend is all booked. Simple reflection. 🙂
Planning ahead and tracking goals
If you want to create a new habit, it will take some time before it becomes one. Repetition is key and by devoting some time every day to train yourself to create a new habit, you will eventually grow accustomed to it. One way to do this, is by using a habit tracker. The idea is simple, for instance, one of mine is to write a minimum of 500 words daily. Every day at around the same time, I sit down and write, then put a check in the box for that day on my habit tracker. If you keep doing that, you should get a tracker that is filled with ticks, but on days you didn’t, you have to put a cross. If, for some reason you didn’t make it, always try to be honest with yourself and ask why you didn’t do it that day. Only by being honest with ourselves can we gain insights.
The rest of your weekly To-Do should be one that you can manage. The best way for me to ensure that I’m not overexerting myself is to keep it doable. So don’t ask impossible things of yourself. One way to do this is by making a To-Do with a limited amount of items on it that you definitely want to get done. That’s why I love using small notebooks that have at most 15 lines. It’s always a good idea to split larger tasks into multiple smaller ones, so you can tick off every step. This will help you feel that things are much more manageable.
Another thing that might help, if you feel there’s nothing you can remove from your To-Do list, but it feels too big, is to number every item on your list from most to least important. That way you can tell where your priorities lie and you can then feel good if you have at least done the things that had the highest priority.
Putting it all in practice
So, here’s a quick recap for how I handle my weekly To-Do:
- Check my previous To-Do
- Reflect on my old To-Do and check what items I didn’t complete
- Check my calendar for appointments
- Write down the appointments as a To-Do item
- Move any items from my old To-Do to the one for this week
- Add new items that require my attention
- Add priority numbers to each item
- Kick ass
I hope this article was of some help to you! Do you make To-Do lists too? What is your approach to them? Please let me know in the comment section!
Jeffrey, Impressive, certainly organized, realistic, & flexible you are! –My compliments! We are at different ages/stages of life, obviously. As a retiree, my hard-copy calendar book is my template with previous entrees to follow or move to another day. I simply make Mondays my day to scan the week’s entrees & make adjustments. Then, each day I go to my calendar & write out my marching orders on a piece of note paper for my pocket & follow it. Where I fall short is evenings & never having sufficient reading time. –Another excellent piece you have offered readers here to improve their lives!!! Phil
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Evenings do have a tendency to fill up quickly if you allow them to. I always try to keep at least three of them free during weekdays. And lately I’ve found that I’d like to have some weekends free of appointments as well. That means saying “No” quite a lot to people inviting us over. But sometimes you have to choose for yourself, especially if you’ve been in a stressful time. Knowing you are allowed to say “No” is good too. 🙂
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