Make Sunday Relaxing and Productive

This is a piece of advice that I’ve seen echoed in many places, but it works. Make Sunday relaxing and productive, and the rest of the week will go much more smoothly. While that sounds like a contradiction, it’s not. You can chill out and get things done at the same time. You just have to pick the right kinds of tasks.

Sunday is the one day of the week that I allow myself to sleep late. I let my body decide. Sometimes I’m tired and I don’t wake up until 9 or 10, which I realize is still ridiculously early to some people. Other times my pain issues still force me up at 5 or 6, but I just take a nap later on in the day to compensate. If I did nothing else relaxing, that would be enough.

It’s also cheat day. I’m not on a diet, but I do try to feed Katie and I healthy food most of the time. On Sunday morning I make pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Everything in moderation. If you deprive yourself of the good stuff entirely, what’s the point of living? Katie likes her pancakes with jam, Nordic-style. One of my few indulgences is real maple syrup.

Cooking is something that I find relaxing, so making a big breakfast feels like an indulgence. I’m not waking up and diving into work. The leisurely pace of Sunday morning is something I look forward to the rest of the week.

On Sunday mornings Katie and I usually watch a documentary. If there’s something related to the arts, we go for that. Biography and history, so long as they’re not about war, terrorism, or atrocity, are good picks. When there’s nothing that grabs us, we default to home and garden shows. They’re still about creativity and positive energy. For the most part, we steer clear of documentaries about politics, because it’s supposed to be a day of rest.

I usually engage in some spa time. Skin care, foot care, nail care, and the like. I trim my beard. Part of this includes climbing back into bed for a couple of hours and reading a book. I read the rest of the week, but not in bed. It feels slightly more decadent.

In the afternoon I cook Sunday dinner. Yes, I cook the rest of the week, too. We rarely go out to eat, and never order anything in. I despise most pre-packaged food, with the exception of the occasional frozen pizza. On Sunday, though, I make things that are more complex and time-consuming. As I said before, I love to cook. It’s nice to try some new recipes. It’s fantastic to not feel rushed, as I often do during the week, because I have to get back to work.

All of that covers the relaxing part, but what about the productive part? Well, Sunday is when I┬áplan out the coming week. I sit down with my bullet journals and the family calendar and update things. The previous week gets reviewed, so open loops and follow-up tasks get captured. I set up new weekly spreads, and if it’s the end of the month I set up a new monthly spread as well.

Then I do some brainstorming and make some to-do lists. These go on the appropriate project pages, collections, or spreads. This is also where the GTD two minute rules comes into play for me. If there are some little things that I can do, I bang them out and get them over with. That way I can focus on the big things during the week.

The significance of planning things on Sunday is huge, as is the impact. On Monday morning I’m not floundering around trying to get my bearings. I know what needs to be done, and what my priorities are. What I also avoid by making lists in Sunday is a false sense of accomplishment. We all get a sense of satisfaction from making lists and organizing things. Making a plan is not doing the work. On Sunday, I plan. On Monday, I need to gain that sense of accomplishment by, you know, accomplishing something.

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