Ever get halfway through the week and find yourself looking down at your to-do list to see that you still have way too many tasks left unchecked?
I certainly have, and I strongly dislike that feeling.
Despite having set out on Monday morning with a long list of things I want to get done for the week, and a whole lot of determination and excitement to boot, I somehow make it to Wednesday wondering where all my time has gone—and why I feel extremely busy but not all that productive.
I figured this was just a result of juggling too much, so, for a while, I wrote it off as how things were. But I had to admit that, at the end of the day, this reality meant I wasn’t making meaningful progress on projects that actually mattered to me.
And that had to change.
So, instead of allowing myself to continue feeling like I had no control over my time or schedule, I decided to create a more intentional ritual at the beginning of the week that would help set me up for success.
And that’s how this Sunday Morning Ritual came to be.
I’ve come to really love and appreciate Sundays because they mark a new week, which always feels like a fresh start. And with the right planning and intention, that feeling of possibility and excitement can journey along beside you all week long.
This Sunday Morning Ritual can help set you up for success by determining your priorities and a week-by-week schedule that works for you—not some routine that someone somewhere has said will make you feel “productive.”
Because here’s the truth: Our weeks don’t look the same, nor do we all feel productive at the same time or in the same place. Our lives have various demands— some involve kids, other include non-flexible work schedules— so we need to figure out a weekly approach that’s as unique as we are. So, this ritual is about about exploring what works best for you so that you can schedule and check off to-dos with intention.
Here’s how to incorporate this ritual into your Sunday so you can create a more intentional and productive work week.
To begin, get out a journal. (I’m a huge believer in the power of working through our thoughts through the written word, so I really do mean a physical journal.) Open it up to a new page and get ready to respond to these three prompts:
1️. What worked well for me during the past week and where could I have done better?
Now, before I go any further, let me say that this is NOT about feeling bad for past failures. Instead, it’s a structured time to reflect on how things actually went so you can respond more intentionally the next week.
As a business owner, I believe figuring out your own best practice is crucial, which only happens by trying different approaches and seeing what works for you. So reflect on what worked well the last week, how much you realistically accomplished (and how long certain tasks took), what kinds of routines and habits best set you for success (or got in the way of you being productive), and how the days felt overall.
Take some time, maybe a page or two, to reflect on and capture specific details, such as what time of day you worked on a project, what your environment was like, what specific approaches you tried (and liked or didn’t like)
For instance, maybe you had been trying to force exercise to fit into your morning routine, but this past week, you decided to try it after work instead. You could write down and reflect on how that went, what insights arose, and whether you’d like to continue that the next week or try a different time or approach.
Reflecting every Sunday on the past week creates a record over time that can serve as data for future scheduling decisions.
2. What are my top three priorities for the week and how can I organize my schedule around them?
This second step is about determining what’s most important and organizing your upcoming schedule so you know what to work on each day.
Think of these three priorities as the bigger tasks you need to accomplish or do during the week. This could be a project (or a piece of a larger project), a presentation, a family commitment, or anything that’s important and requires a significant amount of time and attention. These should also be priorities that move the needle, honor your values, and get you closer to your vision and goals.
By identifying your top three priorities upfront, you can start Monday morning knowing what’s MOST important and, therefore, what you actually need to accomplish.
Too often, we pile our list of to-dos with all of the things we’ve said yes to (either to ourselves or others) but we don’t ever actually prioritize these and ask what’s actually important. By working through this step, you have a clearer picture of where you need to spend your limited time and attention and what can wait until the following week— or what you need to drop and remove from your plate altogether.
3. Based on my top three priorities for the week, what do I need to work on each day to make them a reality?
This step is about taking the priorities you identified in Step 2 and breaking those top priorities into smaller tasks.
By chunking your bigger projects into daily tasks, you will be able to sit down at your desk each day knowing exactly what you should be working on so you can get to the end of the week having accomplished what you set out to do.
Use the insights you gained from Step 1 to help you figure out where, when, and how you might approach these daily tasks.
And there you have it, my Sunday Routine!
By working through these three activities each Sunday, you can enter a new work week feeling more organized, better prepared, and crystal clear on where you should spending your time and energy.
Now, let’s be clear: Working through these steps doesn’t mean the week will go perfectly. Sometimes, life just happens or emergencies arise, and you might not accomplish all you set out to do.
But the following Sunday, you’ll get the chance to sit down and reflect, once again, on different ways you could have approached the week.
Did you schedule too many things for the week? Did you underestimate how long something would take you? Or was there an emergency and you need to simply give yourself some grace and carry over a task to the next week?
Working through these steps each week allows you to continually reflect on how you best handle your projects and responsibilities so that you can actually learn from your experiences.
Doing this each week also allows you to create a log of the systems, processes, and working habits that best serve you. So, through trial and error, you’ll be able to learn where, when, and how you work best.
And knowing that can powerful.
Now it’s time to put these steps into action! Grab a pen and paper and work through these 3 prompts above.
But before you go, comment below and tell me what you’re most excited to work through and discover. Your commitment to trying this practice will help inspire others to do the same.
Cheering you on!