I often find myself looking for ways to improve my productivity and get organised with writing projects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty organised person. My living space is tidy and minimal, and my desk at work is neat and streamlined.
But when it comes to creative work, I find that I seem to work best in a more unstructured and haphazard way. I don’t know why this is.
In an effort to tame my unruly note keeping, I have tried many different systems, read many different books and blog posts, most specifically on building better habits into my days and weeks. The issue I often have with this is that as soon as I make a plan, let’s say to write a specific blog post on Tuesday afternoon, I suddenly have a spark of inspiration for a more pressing and immediately interesting idea. It could be something that I’ve read about the day before, or a podcast I’ve listened to. Whatever it is, if I try to ignore it and stick to my original plan, my mind just won’t be on it. And so I’m back to square one, hunting down more ‘advice’ on how to be more productive…
Recently, I came across an idea that has served me as a sort of compromise.
Introducing the Sunday Reset!
The idea behind the Sunday reset is that it allows you to start the new week off with at least an idea of where you want to be heading. I like this, because it allows me to plan ahead, whilst still allowing for changes when inspiration arises, or life events get in the way of best laid plans.
I originally came across this concept on Colin Wright’s blog Exile Lifestyle when I was pursuing a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle. I felt calmer just reading his post about resetting, suggesting deleting unwanted emails and tidying away both physical and mental clutter in readiness of welcoming a fresh new week.
Since then, I’ve read and seen lots of variations on this theme, including Sunday resets, monthly resets, and even ‘Life Admin Days’. It’s probably the nerd in me, but I do love a good excuse to declutter and dust off projects and priorities! (Even if I then struggle to maintain them…)
Here is my take on the Sunday reset and how it works for me.
Declutter the non-essential
For any reset to work for me, I first need to deal with what I don’t need to do. I often get caught up in tasks during the week that are unnecessary if I’m not careful, realising at the end of the week that I’ve not really achieved anything I wanted to get done. So on Sunday afternoons, I like to spend around half an hour deleting emails, getting rid of listened to podcasts on Spotify and tidying up my mobile phone. As part of this, I also like to go through my paper diary, which I use for planning out blog posts and creative ideas, and cross out or tick off anything that either has already been done, or I no longer want to do.
I also update the to-do app on my ‘phone, which is a catch-all for tasks and appointments during the coming week that I would otherwise forget!
Planning out the coming week
Next, I like to write on Monday’s blank page a list of things I would ‘ideally’ like to work on or finish in the coming week. I’ve found this much more useful than writing tasks to do on each page of the week, as sometimes, as I said before, I feel inspired to work on one thing on a given day, rather than what I’d got planned out. By writing an ‘ideal’ list, I am able to see what my priorities for the week are, allowing me to then work on what is the best fit given the time available on any given day.
For example, this coming week, I’d like to finish an essay for submission the following week; plan out and write a Tuesday blog post; and work on some blog admin. These are my three writing priorities, which are obviously in addition to work, family and exercise I’d like to fit in.
I’ve found that planning my week out in this way allows me much more space to work on what interests me, whilst still ensuring that I complete the most important tasks, meaning I feel more satisfied at the end of the week with what I’ve achieved.
Switch off early
Once I have decluttered tasks and physical spaces, got rid of the non-essentials, and planned out the essential tasks for the coming weeks, I like to switch off (physically and mentally). Putting away devices and spending Sunday evening relaxing, usually watching a good series on Netflix and reading, is an ideal evening for me before starting a fresh week.
Hopefully the idea of the Sunday reset might help if you too struggle to be as productive during the week as you’d like. I find it provides me with just enough structure to keep me motivated to face a fresh week, whilst allowing plenty of room for those often unexpected happenings!
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