My secret for a productive week?

Sunday prep.

Sundays are not my day of rest. Sundays are for getting things done in an effort to smooth out the week as best as I can.

When I start the week off organized, thoughtfully, and with a plan, I feel much more relaxed and under control during the week.

So, what do I do on Sundays to plan for the week ahead? Here’s my Sunday plan of action:

1. Laundry. Sunday is my major laundry day. I wash all the sheets and towels and any other outstanding dirty clothes. I start my process Sunday morning, and by Sunday evening, my goal is to have an empty hamper and all the wash put away. That way, everyone starts off the week with clean sheets, towels, and more than enough underwear to make it to whenever I do wash during the week.

2. Clean out the fridge. This is so major. Taking the time Sunday to dump out old leftovers and anything expired leaves me with an organized fridge for the week. Also, it gives me a chance to see what I need to buy (and more importantly, what I don’t – hello, three tubs of sour cream) at my weekly shopping trip. Plus, I am less likely to find smelly, molded over food during the week. (Don’t act like you don’t know what I mean. I am sure each of you has found something growing in your cream cheese before.

3. Major cleaning chores. I tackle vacuuming and floor washing on Sunday. Why? Dan entertains Kate, so I can quickly move through the house. Kate is not the biggest fan of the vacuum. So with Dan on Kate duty, I can get my floors squeaky clean in minimal time and with far less screaming. Since I can move quickly through the floors, I usually have time to wipe down the bathrooms, too.

4. Plan out my week – online and on paper. I use a combination of Google Calendar and Evernote and my Erin Condren planner to organize my weeks. On Sunday, I sit down with my Google Calendar open, my work Outlook calendar, and my paper planner. I see what’s going on and make sure all my calendar’s sync. Once I know what meetings, events, activities, etc…I have going on, I type up all the things I need to get done on the task list in Google calendar. Sometimes I have to scale back once I see the list. There is only one Sarah. Once I see my week and what I want/need to accomplish, I work all my To Dos and errands into the mix.

5. Make a meal plan and grocery list. Since I’ve cleaned out the fridge, I know what I’ve got and what I need. So I make a grocery list and accompanying meal plan and schedule a time for me to hit the grocery. Plotting out my meals saves me so much time and effort. That way, I know when I need to pull chicken out of the freezer to defrost, what I can prep ahead, what I can’t. I schedule the easy stuff on challenging days and the more complex stuff for days when I know I have an easier day.

6. Answer emails/send emails. I like to start my weeks off fresh, which includes a fresh inbox. Sundays I go through all my starred emails and either 1) reply or 2) do what I need to do so I can reply. My goal is always to start off the week at no starred emails. That doesn’t always work. But I can significantly reduce email clutter taking care of those emails requiring just a quick response from me.

7. Put things away. I take time Sunday to put back things that seemed to have migrated during the week. Cups of water on desks, finished magazines on bedside tables, stuff Kate tosses into the hamper. I also go through the house and do things like fill up the coffee bean canister, soap dispensers, flour container, etc… I also take a few minutes to clean out my purse. It never fails to amaze me how much junk I manage to collect within a week. It seems insignificant, but these small measures eliminate one more thing I need to do during the week. Putting everything back in it’s place is another way I create clean surfaces and fresh starts to my week.

8. Schedule me time. If I don’t take a minute to think about myself, I won’t. I’ll spend the entire week taking care of everyone but me. And my Friday night, I’m completely wiped and end up slogging through the weekend. I make time to meet up with friends, schedule a time for me to go to CVS to browse beauty products solo, find time each evening after Kate goes to bed for some reading or blogging. Me time, it’s crucial and a half. Make the time.

Working through these items doesn’t always make for the most relaxing Sunday, but I find I can cross off these things pretty quickly and have late Sunday afternoon/evening to relax. And with practice, I’ve found I can move through these chores fast. I am just the type of person who likes things organized, so, for me, it’s so worth it to take a portion of my day and dedicate myself to plotting out my week and putting small measures into place that take some of the stress off of my Monday through Fridays.

How about you? Do you plot our your weeks Sundays? How do you prepare for the week ahead?


Sarah is a thiry-something wife to an engineer and mother of three. She loves teaching aerobic and cycling classes, learning to shoot with her DSLR in manual mode, and drinking coffee.