My Favorite Schedule Hacks-No Meeting Mondays & More!
Have you ever thought about your upcoming weekly schedule and found yourself starting to tense up with anxiety? Your palms start sweating and you start having a serious case of the Sunday blues? Don't be afraid to raise your hand, because believe me, I've been there so many times. Just when I think that I've finally allowed myself to truly ease into the weekend and reached a state of relaxation, thoughts about what I have going on the week ahead throws all of that peace & relaxation out the window. In my 4+ years of living the work -life hustle, I've found a few tips & tricks that have helped to curb this Sunday anxiety:
Create A Sunday Ritual - While it may seem counter-intuitive at first, creating a Sunday ritual that allows you to map out the week ahead, is the best thing to keep your sanity & allow you to feel like you've got a good grip on the upcoming week. Every Sunday evening, I take 30-45 minutes to look at my calendar for the next week to see what big meetings I have coming up for both work-related projects & personal commitments. By taking a few minutes to look over my schedule, I'm able to plan out which days I'll be home for dinner allowing me to plan out my meals, schedule in my workouts & write down any extra things I'd like to accomplishment (like taking 15 minutes over my lunch break to schedule a doctors appointment). Why this works - By taking a small amount of time to really look at what's ahead, you instantly feel more in control of what's to come. I've found that by intentionally sitting down to look at what I've planned for myself also gives me the opportunity to rearrange my days if I seem to have over-scheduled myself for the week.
No Meeting Mondays - A few years ago, I realized that Mondays had become a hell hole like none other. Just when I thought I'd found my groove by consistently practicing my Sunday ritual, all of my strategic planning would go right out the window Monday morning when I'd sit in meeting after meeting, while emails piled up, the work I actually needed to get done was placed on the backburner and my emotional state could be described in one word - frazzled! After experiencing this week after week, I decided to take back my Mondays! Now I try my hardest to not schedule any internal or external meetings for Monday, allowing me to truly ease into the week. While not having any meetings at all on Mondays isn't always 100% doable, I do take great effort in making sure that at the very least I leave a few hours open Monday mornings to get myself on the right track for the rest of the day and the rest of the week. And wouldn't you know, Mondays have now become my favorite day!
Schedule Free Evenings - Have you ever booked yourself so full that you have something going on every single week night after work? If you're anything like me, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Before I took the conscience effort to take back control of my schedule, I'd find myself in that exact scenario. There I was, doing something every night after work from volunteering at one of my favorite non-profits to meeting up with a friend to chat over coffee. While all of these activities were things that I really wanted to be doing, I found myself so drained by the end of the week that I'd spend the majority of the weekend just trying to recover. I knew that I could still do all of the things that were important to me without over scheduling myself. My solution has been to have one "schedule free evening" per week". This means that at least one time per week I don't put anything on my calendar to do that night. I take these "schedule free evenings" very seriously and make sure that they are a constant in my life.
Schedule Personal Calls & Texts - Some people might be offended by this life hack but I promise you that it works! In the past, I'd find that I'd go through what I call "Black-Out Weeks" where I'd be so busy that I'd forget to respond to all of the calls, emails & texts from the most important people in my life - my friends & family! I'd have so much guilt when this would happen and many times I'd end up hurting the feelings of those that I really cared about. I have to be honest, during the time in my life when these "Black-Out Weeks" were my norms I lost a few friendships that I'd like to have kept. In the end, I decided that I couldn't stay on this path of not responding, my answer was scheduling small pockets of time throughout the week completely dedicated to calling, emailing & messaging my friends & family. While this may seem a little odd, it actually really worked. Of course, I still respond in live time when I can but on days where the time just seems to be getting away from me I can stay calm knowing that I've scheduled my small window of time to make sure to stay connected in my relationships.
The most important thing to remember is that YOUare in control of how you spend your time, even if it doesn’t always feel like it! You have the power to intentionally make each week work in your favor when it comes to both work and your personal commitments. I know you can get back in the driver seat of your schedule!
If you're still working on finding your weekly rhythm, that's okay too! These practices took time to build and whole lot of trial & error. Know that you are doing the best you can at this very moment and that's enough.
I'd love to know in the comments below your favorite schedule hacks that keep you connected & on track!
Lots of love,