How do you start off each Sunday? Some wake up hungover from the night before, others take it easy and relax before the work week starts. What do I do? I know Sunday’s are the most productive day and use them to plan out my entire week.
Sunday is such a useful day of the week, and most take it for granted. Before you know it, you’re in bed dreading your upcoming week. Let me tell you, you can make the week significantly easier on yourself. How? Easy. Prepping your entire week.
I’m going to go ahead and break up this post into separate headings. They will be as generic as possible, and you will be able to tailor it directly to your work and schedule. And the benefit? Significantly more time for yourself, and a huge increase in productivity.
So first of all, how am I going to save you time and productivity? Well, you know how you buy in bulk from Costco and save a lot of money? We’re going to do our takes in bulk and save time. Sounds like a great trade-off to me. And every time you prepare things for yourself ahead of time, it is less things sitting inside your mind so you can focus on the things that really matter, which are the creative parts.
Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive right in.
Calendar Your Life
I had to, calendars are so boring, and you hear this over and over from so many people, but I need to hammer it in. Calendars are so useful, because you can completely forget about a meeting, task, or something you should be doing, but your calendar AUTOMATICALLY reminds you. See that? Automatically. You can’t remember everything, let’s free your brain from your busy week and have automation assist you.
The problem is that people don’t use their calendars properly. They use calendars for appointments and meetings, which are some of the most unproductive things you could be doing. Meetings are the devil’s work—they drain you, are a waste of time for most people, poorly managed… I could go on and on. This is why so many people dread calendars.
What I suggest is instead to use your calendar for EVERYTHING. Your calendar shouldn’t be planned in blocks of 30 minutes, it should be planned out minute-by-minute. Every minute is another part of your day that can be utilized. “But Erik, what if you only have a 5-10 minute gap between things to do?” Those can be extremely productive, getting slightly off-topic, I have a series of tasks in my ToDo list called “5-Minute Tasks” where they are all simple tasks that need to be done, but they are really easy. They can be done in that short period of time and then you can get onto the rest of your day. Getting back to it, you need to put everything on your calendar. Your wake up time, breakfast, meditation, commute, workout schedule, project 1, project 2, project N, lunch plans, and dinner plans; EVERYTHING must be listed on your calendar. The reason everything should be on your calendar is that you won’t have to decide what needs to be done when you have a block of free time. When you are trying to decide what to do, you’ve already wasted at least 30 minutes trying to switch your mind into your task, you’ll have to brief yourself on what you forgot, and by then you will probably have another dreaded meeting. See what I’m saying?
I plan out my calendar every Sunday for the entire week, every single minute is taken up, but it is not so set in stone that I can’t do something else. It is a roadmap for me, which I tend to stick to, but some is tentative and will be able to be moved around. Here’s another plus, if you work a corporate job, others will be able to see that you’re busy and won’t interrupt you.
Anyways, this has always been one of my favorite tips. Remember: Calendar Your Life.
I’m guessing you aren’t a body builder, don’t worry, neither am I. But, do you know how much time and money you can save with something this simple? A lot. Whenever I would cook dinner for myself, it would take about 5 minutes to decide what I wanted, 10 to figure out what I should pair it with, 15 to prepare it, 10 to cook it, 15 to eat it, 5 for clean-up. An hour for every single dinner is not worth it, which is why so many people end up eating out (though that usually takes longer when you add it up). What I have started doing instead is meal prepping everything for a week. I BBQ every Sunday and it lasts the entire week, sure this may be a lot of work up front, but it saves you hours throughout your week, and you can put in quality work now and enjoy it every single day of the week. It may be such a simple concept, but it takes you far. You can even take it to the next level by buying food containers directly off of Amazon and create meals that you can just pull straight out of the fridge, warm it up, and it is ready to eat! There are also so many bonuses to this such as, portion sizing, healthy eating (you actually know what you put into the food and where you got it), cost, and so much more.
Since I’m on meal prep, I’ll let you know a couple of the other things I make for my week.
If you’re anything like me, I take a lot of vitamins. I have to unscrew these caps each day and pull out the correct amount of vitamins. I got so sick of this, so instead I decided to buy seven little containers that screw together. Every Sunday, I fill every single one of these containers with all of my vitamins and then they’re ready for the week! Takes me about 3 minutes, saves 2 minutes each day. In case you’re curious, I take multivitamin, fish oil (2), BCAAs (3), and sometimes decide to mix in a couple of other vitamins every once and a while.
Very similar to my vitamins, I prepare smoothies for every single day of the week. I package them into baggies and all I have to do in the morning it put some almond milk into my blender along with the blend and click “on.” So easy, and it eliminates the need for me to choose what type of smoothie I want that morning when I’m half asleep. Instead of have a random assortment of smoothies I made on Sunday which I get to pick from!
Oatmeal is so healthy, but it takes so long to make in the morning (about 30 minutes), unless you decide to buy instant oatmeal, which is horrible for you. I like to make overnight oatmeal and plan them for the entire week. I combine rolled oats, protein powder, fruit, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and almond milk into a glass jar. The next morning they are all ready to go, pick one out and it’s ready to eat. The reason I use almond milk is because it is healthier and it doesn’t go bad within a week. There are hundreds of overnight oatmeal recipes online, but I suggest you start simple with oats and almond milk and then try new recipes for yourself.
- Protein Bars
This one is a little bonus. My brother and I recently started making our own protein bars because the cost of the bars can add up (about $3/bar). We make a huge batch of them one day and then have protein bars for the week! We’ve noticed that we can eliminate unhealthy ingredients and it has reduced our cost from $3.00 to $0.50 per bar.
What does clothing have to do with preparing your week? Odds are, you already have too many clothes; but that is a completely separate issue. What about choosing your clothes? Women know what I’m talking about, but this is true for men as well. It takes a lot of time to plan your outfit, and if you’re working out every day, you have to plan two. I’m sure most of you know who Mark Zuckerburg is, well he is known for wearing T-shirt and jeans every single day. Why? It clears his mind of anything frivolous.
I’m not telling you to wear the same thing every single day, that is nonsense to me, but you can do something similar. Instead, I found a shirt I really liked, and then I decided to buy every single color they had in it. I chose to do this for my T-Shirts, button downs, suits, jeans, shoes, socks, athletic shirts, and athletic shorts. It has made my life so much easier, because I have everything I need for my clothes and I can make hundreds of combinations with different colors.
Onto the next little tip I have. Maybe you already have a lot of clothes and it is too expensive to buy a whole new wardrobe. Not to worry, instead you can just plan out all of your outfits for the week. I would line up everything in my closet or push each set of outfits into a bag. Simply, pick a bag, and you’re ready to go.
For working out, I like to lay out my clothes the night before right next to my bedside and it forces me to go to the gym. Otherwise, I would have to put those clothes back into my closet and feel like a loser for skipping the gym. Little psychological habits such as these make it so much easier to get things done in your life without even thinking about it.
Look, I’m already too many words deep into this post, but I talked about three simple things: calendars, food, and clothing. You can apply some of these tips to anything in your life if you put a little thought into it. Where are you wasting your time? Sometimes it may be something as simple as meeting up with a friend due to indecisiveness. Instead you could just give a date, time, and place. Done. It is really that easy. Planning, though hard work, makes your life so much easier later on. Almost everything that forces you to front-load the work pays off in the end. You mind is jumping less from task-to-task and you are not frazzled. You are calm and you know what needs to get done.
I want you to start using these tips as soon as you can. They have been life changing for me, if you have anywhere in your life that you know you are wasting time and need help, feel free to comment below!