Let’s face it, if you don’t take time to rest and reflect on Sunday, you never will. Many people see Sunday as the end of the week, but the calendar shows it as the beginning. I like to think of it as both. It’s that sweet spot where one week is ending and a new week is beginning. Sunday habits are very important.
On Sundays, avoid activities that are purely hard work. You’ve got six other days for that. If you’re constantly doing, with little to no planning or preparing, it’s easy to end up like a ship without a sail. Goals must be reviewed regularly in order to stay on track. If you adopt the Sunday habits listed below you’re sure to increase your productivity, effectiveness, and peace of mind throughout the week.
Look For Spiritual Guidance
If you regularly attend church, you most likely already do this. I say most likely because not all people utilize church as a spiritual guidance mechanism. For some people, church is more of a social event where they can connect with others. There is nothing wrong with this and connectedness is massively important as well.
Looking for spiritual guidance, however, takes forethought and intention. If you’re a churchgoer, consider thinking of the things in your life that you need more clarity or direction on. Really focus on this and build a strong desire to find the answers. Listen deeply to the pastor’s sermon for messages that apply to your situation. Write down anything that strikes a chord with you. The answers might not come while you’re sitting there, but they will eventually.
You don’t go to church? That’s okay, you don’t need to in order to look for spiritual guidance.
It’s a misconception that you must go to church or follow a specific religion to be spiritual. That simply isn’t true. Every human being is spiritual by nature and we all came from the same source. Some of us choose to make an intentional effort to connect with that source and some of us don’t. Regardless, the source was, is, and always will be there.
Prayer and meditation are two great ways to connect with the source. This can be done on your own or with others.
If you dedicate 20-30 minutes each Sunday to one of these practices, you will notice the benefits throughout the week.
Write A Must-Do List For The Week
Take note that this says MUST do list and not TO do list. Minor difference in verbiage, huge difference in meaning.
If you ever just sit down and do a brain dump of everything you want to accomplish, the list gets pretty long. I actually encourage this exercise because it really helps to clear the mind. However, the list itself isn’t an effective method of getting important things done if the items on the list aren’t prioritized. Best selling author Patrick Lencioni says:
If everything is important, nothing is
I’ve found this to be very true in my personal experience. I’ll sit down and put everything on my to do list for the day as if everything is equal. Consequently, I spend the day choosing the easiest or quickest things to do and avoiding more difficult tasks.
Any other free time is spent responding to the never ending stream of demands in my email inbox. Those things can seem urgent as well, but in the moment it doesn’t cross my mind to think about whether they are important.
A remedy for this can be sitting down on Sunday and writing down everything that you want to accomplish during the week.
When you’re done, you’ll probably have much more on your list than you can reasonably complete. That’s when you narrow the list down to the most important things.
It can be tempting to still keep a list of 15-20 things. It’s easy to overestimate how many things you can accomplish because a week seems like a long time. Be careful with this and take into consideration how much time each item might take. You also want to remember that distractions and unexpected things will almost always occur.
I usually select about 5 tasks that absolutely must be completed. You can have more or less but 5-10 is a pretty good range to keep in mind.
Once you’ve figured out your priorities, you can schedule them. It just so happens, that’s the next habit on this list.
Schedule Things In Your Planner
Writing down things that you absolutely must do is great. Scheduling exactly when you are going to do them is far better.
Scheduling when you are going to do things immediately paints a clearer picture of your week. You can instantly see that some things can only be done on certain days, and it forces you to make time for them.
For example, suppose you vow to finally clean out the garage. The job must be done because it has been put off for too long. Looking at the week ahead, you work Monday – Friday from 8-5 and have to take the kids to sports or events each evening. You won’t be home any earlier than 8:30pm.
Looking at the entire week, you immediately see that this might have to be a weekend activity. Or perhaps you’d rather get up really early or do it late at night. I sure wouldn’t.
You decide to schedule this activity for Saturday, 9am – noon. By doing this, you have removed the guesswork and unpredictability. It will more likely get done. You can also tell others in your life about your plans to avoid conflicts.
Do this exercise with all of your most important matters and your week will seem noticeably smoother.
Plan Your Outfits
Planning my outfits for the week did wonders for my mornings. It took away the decision making process and freed my mind up to think about more important matters.
It’s not that I don’t consider my wardrobe important. It’s just that it can be planned in advance and I don’t have to waste useful time every single morning deciding what to wear. If you don’t currently plan your outfits ahead, chances are you’ve had at least a few stressful experiences trying to decide what to wear in the morning.
The story is all too familiar. You wake up with plenty of time to get ready. It seems like there’s nothing to wear and you’re just looking through the same things over and over again.
When outfits are planned for the entire week, there is little to no chance of something being ‘unwearable’ when you need it. How many times have you wanted to wear something and realized it was dirty? Or picked out something to wear but it needed to be ironed? Planning ahead allows you to avoid these pitfalls.
Another benefit is that you can review the weather for the week and what events you have going on. If you have an important presentation or a meeting with a potential client, chances are you’ll dress a bit differently than just a regular day at the office.
It takes more time up front, but the benefits throughout the week are amazing.
Plan Your Meals
I’m not a huge fan of cooking a ton of food and then separating it into plastic containers to eat throughout the week. If that’s your thing, do your thing. I have no doubt that it saves a ton of time and mental energy. It’s just not what I’m talking about here.
When I say plan your meals, I simply mean to plan out what you will eat throughout the week. If you also grocery shop on Sundays, this is even better because you can plan your shopping list around it. Planning your shopping list around specific meals can really help to reduce wasted food.
It can also help reduce unhealthy snacking because eating junk food is frequently a matter of convenience and not planning ahead. You know the scene. It’s about two hours after lunch and the dreaded crash feeling creeps up. You really want to eat a healthy snack but there are none around. Sure, you might be able to find one if you go far enough away, but who has time for that? The vending machine is right down the hall and it’s really the only option. Now you’ve got a bag of potato chips and a fair amount of guilt.
Unfortunately this doesn’t just apply to snacks. The same holds true for every meal throughout the day. When we don’t plan on what to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner it’s easy to hit the drive thru or some fast-casual spot. And once you get to one of these places the chances of getting something healthy are slim to none.
Besides making it easier to eat healthy, planning ahead saves you mental energy throughout the week. The more decisions you can make ahead of time, the better. Meals and snacks are no exception.
Review The Past Week
It’s important to have goals both big and small but it is equally important to measure your progress. Reviewing the past week is a great way to do this.
Looking at the previous week allows you to see how you performed on things that truly matter to you. Did you follow through on the priorities that you previously scheduled or did you let distractions get in the way? If distractions did get in the way, you can think about how to mitigate them the next time around.
There are many questions you could ask yourself as you review the week. The point is to take that time for reflection to make sure you’re still on the right track. Sometimes, taking time to reflect will shed a light on what is truly important to you.
Additionally, what is truly most important to you may change over time and it’s critical to maintain clarity in that area.
Review Your Budget
Some might say that there’s no point to having a budget if you aren’t going to frequently review it. That isn’t necessarily true if part of your budget is tracking your expenses. If you consistently track, then at least you can go back at some point and see where your money went. A lot of people can’t even do that.
Reviewing your budget frequently, however, has additional benefits that tracking your expenses alone doesn’t have.
When reviewing your budget, you can see exactly where you’re ahead and where you’re behind. Once a week should be sufficient for this exercise. Since some expenses (even regular bills) can fluctuate from time to time, it’s nice to be able to make adjustments on the fly.
For instance, suppose I budgeted for the following one month:
- $100 for the electric bill
- $100 for gasoline in the car
- $400 for groceries.
It’s nearing the end of the month and I’ve already spent $460 on groceries. The electric bill is $80 and I’ve spent $60 on gasoline. When I do a review, I can see that although I’ve exceeded the amount for groceries, I’m under for the gasoline and the electric bill. Doing the quick math, it’s easy to see that I’m still breaking even with my total budget.
In reality, I have a lot more expenses than this and you probably do as well. The point is that a review lets you see how you’re doing at any given point in time and make adjustments as necessary.
Personally, I review my budget every two days. That might seem a little excessive but I can say that I have few surprises when it comes to income and expenses.
Spend Quality Time With Loved Ones
I know the title of this post is 7 Sunday Habits, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the need to spend quality time with loved ones. Consider this a bonus. This might be a no brainer for some people, but it can’t be overstated or mentioned too much.
The world we live in is making it more and more difficult to spend quality time with the ones that we love. Digital distractions are rampant and there is always something or someone to respond to. There is always more work to be done and since we can work from any of our devices, it’s easy to stay attached to them.
Force yourself to disconnect. Have that time where phones, laptops, and other electronics devices are off limits. Make this a habit and make it one of your top priorities. This obviously isn’t breaking news but I believe we need as many reminders as possible.
It also isn’t complex. Disconnecting might not be easy, but it certainly isn’t complex. Just do it. Future you will thank you.
Are you willing to try a few of these? A couple of these? Even one of these? You landed on this page and read (or skimmed, I’m not judging) all the way down here. It’s clear that you want to change. In order to change, though, we have to change the things we do. Our circumstances don’t change until we change.
I used to read a TON of self help and personal development books and they always fired me up. I would feel great about the possibilities of change, but I wouldn’t execute anything. Or I would start to execute, but wouldn’t stay consistent and never formed a habit. Consequently, I always ended up where I began.
Scroll back up through this list and find one thing that you aren’t currently doing. Start doing it every single Sunday for a month or so. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Force yourself to be disciplined enough to do it and immense benefits will be achieved.
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