- Complete your weekly strategy session. As our brains are meant for thinking, not remembering, it's imperative to document a clear, meaningful path for achieving your priority goals, specifying how to address tasks, team communications, time commitments and opportunities for development. Using both your calendar and running data dump of tasks needing your attention, create a game plan that can be used as a protective barrier, warding off time stealers and others' priorities like your own suit of armor.
- Create in your space a blank slate for addressing your priorities. Take away what physical distractions or hurdles will prevent progress. Return to their homes the items atop your desk that you have been using for work. Put away the papers and objects in your "to file" stack. Move into folders the random selection of documents downloaded to your computer's desktop. Return your email to the desired "inbox zero" status (or as close as possible). Give homes to what has come into your entryway. Move back to their homes what might have shifted throughout your home or automobile. Clear your clutter!
- Get a head start on what you can for the week ahead. Often, a good place to start is with marketing efforts... Can you draft, edit or add photos to what blog posts will go live? Can you schedule some of the content to be posted on your social media channels? If you have networking events to attend, can you check out the registration lists to see with whom you need to connect? Have you or your team placed what advertising buys are needed? Yet, don't stop with marketing efforts alone; consider what other projects or tasks could benefit from a head-start. Take action now to double-check what's up so you don't worry later about what might've fallen through the cracks.
- Plan from where your meals will come. We each need to eat regularly to stay alive, but waiting until we're hungry to figure out what we'll eat can be a recipe for eating unhealthy meals. Instead, take time to plan your meals, including options for using a slow-cooker or Instant Pot®, cooking mass amounts over the weekend for meals throughout the week, ways in which the same elements can be reused in different ways, pre-packing lunches and preparing breakfast the night before. Assuming you eat 3 meals each day, there are 21 opportunities for creatively streamlining, but you don't have to pre-assign each meal; you could create a list of options for the week and pick from the list in preparation for each next day.
- Lay out each day's outfit for the week ahead. Check the forecast, incorporate what you have planned and pick out the details for what will be necessary so you aren't scrambling in the morning. This should include what purse or bag to carry, what jewelry to wear and what undergarments are needed. It's an excellent opportunity to make sure everything in the your closet is hung or wherever it is supposed to be; an organized closet makes it so much easier to find what's needed for that perfect outfit you'll need at this week's big event.
- Connect with those who matter most. Outreach on social media to share content that might be of value to a friend, congratulate someone for a big accomplishment from the week ending or say hey to a contact you've been missing. Better yet, get together in-person or via video chat with someone who is special to you; spending time with people who know and love you will fuel your soul and re-enforce your identity. Then, talk through logistics with your team; since we all wear many hats, working through commitments with your spouse, kids or roommates will make sure folks get where they need to go with what is needed while managing how much stress is experienced. We don't want pre-school calling in a panic because someone got left behind, right?
- Wash and change your bed sheets as well as bath towel. There's a true joy felt when jumping into bed on Sunday night with clean sheets, even more so than another night of the week. It's such a quality way to create that desired foundation for the week ahead, signifying a clean slate and fresh start.
What steps do you take each Sunday to prepare for the week ahead? By when will you implement which of these steps into your weekly routine? Will this checklist help you be more proactive and, thereby, more successful?