Everyone has felt the Sunday scaries before, where anxiety rises thinking about the week ahead and all that you have yet to complete on your to-do list. The anxiety that many of us feel on Sundays can be exacerbated by particularly busy weekends that don’t allow the proper downtime to rest. A Sunday routine for a productive week can be the perfect solution to combat the Sunday scaries with more self care, time for yourself, meal planning, time for errands, family time, and most importantly, rest. Creating a Sunday routine will help you feel more organized and at ease so you feel prepared for a productive week. This article covers everything you need to know about creating the best Sunday routine for a productive week and a more restful weekend. 

The benefits of a Sunday routine

There are many benefits to a Sunday routine, but the most beneficial of all is that you’ll feel more at ease and less anxious. While the Sunday scaries are notoriously linked to a big night out and a less than ideal hangover the next day, a lot of us still feel anxious about the week ahead, even without the aftermath of a few drinks. Whether you’re going out or staying in, a Sunday routine can help you feel more settled for the week to come because you’ll have planned ahead to ensure you can take your Sunday to rest and take care of yourself. Whether that means getting your meal prep done for the week or putting on a face mask, everyone should have a Sunday routine to enjoy their weekend that much more and to dread the week ahead a whole lot less. 

Foster a productive week

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How to create a Sunday routine

1Look ahead at your schedule for the week 

A lot of people avoid looking at their calendar for the week ahead over the weekend because they want to intentionally not participate in anything work related. Often though, this is the opposite of productive. When you take the time to look at your schedule for the week ahead, including both your personal and your work calendar, you prime and prepare yourself for what’s to come. This way, nothing is a surprise and you have a good understanding of how demanding your week is and what you need to do to make it productive and successful, in whichever way you define success. While you look at your schedule for the week ahead, it may even be helpful to start creating a to-do list then and there. 

2Clean your workspace 

If you work remotely, take a few minutes to clean your workspace. This is something that isn’t time-consuming at all and can make a significant difference. Starting your week in a clean and decluttered environment will leave you feeling calm and prepared to get to work. When our environment is clutter free, our minds often also feel less busy and we’re able to think more clearly. Having your space organized and aesthetically pleasing will allow you to have a more productive week. 

3Schedule regular breaks 

One way of truly tuning in and taking care of yourself is by scheduling regular breaks in your calendar throughout the week. Everyone needs breaks to be productive and effective at work, and by setting this time aside in your calendar you may actually get some peace of mind for the week ahead as you visualize the breaks you’ll be taking. As a result, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more at ease, even when your week is looking extremely busy. Since your co-workers need breaks too, it’s a great idea to send a calendar invite to another team member so you both have something to look forward to. 

4Have a family meeting

It’s a great idea to hold a family meeting so your Sundays are that much less chaotic. Family meetings provide you and your family with a great opportunity to talk openly about family or personal issues and future plans. Ultimately, a family meeting is a time for your family to gather in a distraction-free environment to give everyone your full attention. Whether someone is excited about something, needs advice, is facing a challenge, or celebrating an accomplishment, a family meeting is a great opportunity to hold a safe space for the whole family to come together and support one another. 

5Tackle your email inbox 

Not much can cause more anxiety than seeing over 1,000 unread emails, whether it be in your personal or professional email inbox. Choose a Sunday to tackle your cluttered inbox so you can start the week off with a clearer mind. You can start by deleting things that are irrelevant, which requires less brain power. Then, if you feel up to it, create some folders and start organizing the unread emails into categories. Flag emails with which you need to follow up and add anything urgent to your to-do list. You’re genuinely going to feel so much better having taken the time to clean up your email inbox, because the anxiety of not knowing what’s in there will be eliminated. 

6Write down your weekly tasks 

Writing a to-do list or your weekly task list on a Sunday will help you feel so much more prepared for the week ahead. This is something that takes no more than ten minutes and that will make such a huge difference for your state of mind come Monday. With Fellow, you can keep track of your priorities using our Streams or our action Items tool. With Streams, you can plan your week so you can organize your workload and get clarity on what needs to be done next, in order of priority. You can also track your action items by assigning, visualizing, and prioritizing all of your meeting to-dos in one place, all while syncing them with Jira, Asana, and Zapier.

7Use the E/N/D system 

Use something called the E/N/D system, which is an acronym for Energizing / Neutral / Draining. This system can be implemented to help you prioritize your time for the week ahead and manage your energy in the most effective way. When you’re scheduling your tasks for the week ahead, categorize them as E, N, or D. Typically, tasks that you enjoy doing are energizing, meaning you would aim to schedule them when you need an energy boost. Tasks that you tend to dread and put off are draining tasks and are also often quite challenging for you. Because of the nature of these tasks, they should be scheduled when you are high energy, like in the morning. Your neutral tasks can then be completed in the spaces between your energizing and draining tasks. 

8Reflect on your previous week 

Another part of your Sunday routine for a productive week can include reflecting on your previous week. It’s really important to take the time to celebrate accomplishments because doing so is likely to motivate you for the week ahead, as you consider what you would like to work on and achieve. This reflection time is also a great opportunity to think about how you can make improvements for the week ahead or shift things around so you’re more productive and effective. If you have a work journal, this is the perfect place to track your work-related reflections so you can re-visit them at a later time. 

9Be ruthless

Part of looking after your mental health is saying no. While this can be difficult, especially for those of us who can’t resist “people pleasing,” it’s important to be ruthless with your calendar and to look at anything that is not an absolute priority and remove it. When you’re looking at a calendar for the week ahead that is completely hectic, it’s going to cause stress and anxiety. Don’t take on more than you should. There’s nothing wrong with having some extra space in your calendar. In fact, it’s usually more productive to have some spare space for those inevitable responsibilities and last-minute meetings that will pop up as the week unfolds. Learn to say no as an act of self-care. 

10Make time for things you enjoy 

Your Sunday should be more play than anything else, so it’s important for your Sunday routine to be largely made up of things you enjoy. Whether this means resting all day and keeping it super lowkey, going for a long walk, baking, cooking, reading, or catching up with friends or family, this is the ultimate you day. It’s important to set aside time for the things that you love so you’re able to re-fill your cup to have a productive week ahead. Because you work hard all week, you need to ensure that you’re doing things for yourself—whatever it is that makes you the happiest. Don’t forget to take a break from technology and get outside into nature to boost endorphins and let go of stress and anxiety. 

Parting advice 

Taking care of yourself is essential to be effective and present at work. Creating a Sunday routine for a productive week could be the first important step for you to start your week feeling more calm, collected, and confident. Whichever form of self care resonates with you should be consistently practiced so you’re taking the time to participate in whatever leaves you feeling your best. Items in your Sunday routine don’t need to be time-consuming. Setting a few minutes aside to be intentional about the week ahead will leave you feeling well rested and ready to conquer whatever comes your way.