On Monday mornings, you vow that this week is going to be super productive. You make a long to-do list for the week, and feel ready to crush it. But by Monday afternoon you feel a stress headache coming on and lose motivation. Now you’re thinking that maybe this week won’t be perfectly productive (womp womp). If you’re caught in that vicious cycle, it’s time to change up your morning routine. We talked to Jeff Sanders, author of The 5 AM Miracle and all-around productivity guru, to get the lowdown on how to make that Monday morning burst of energy last all week. Scroll through for his six best tips!
How to Plan for a Productive Week
1. Get up early and establish a pre-work routine. If you’re not a morning person, you’re definitely rolling your eyes right now, but hear us out! Rolling out of bed 15 minutes before you need to start working, rushing out the door or to your desk and immediately jumping into tasks isn’t exactly conducive to doing your best work. “Prioritizing pre-work is the best strategy if you want to be ready for your day. Pre-work could include anything from an early morning run to drinking a healthy smoothie for breakfast or any other healthy habit that prepares your mind and body for the high-energy work you will likely be doing,” Jeff tells us.
2. Plan on Sunday night for smooth Monday sailing. A great way to feel extra-prepared for any day is to take some time the night before to think through your goals for the following day. “Plan tomorrow on paper, tonight. The greatest way to begin each day is with intentionality and purpose. If you think through tomorrow and write down a well thought-out plan, you will give yourself the best chance to avoid distractions and get to your most important work right away,” Jeff advises. When you’re planning, think through your priorities and determine the things that can wait until later in the week.
3. Plan out every detail. “Small, specific steps are always easier to take action on than distant, grandiose fantasies,” Jeff says. “Break everything down into tiny pieces. I like to call this hyper-planning. Take a current project or big goal and break it down into several small segments and give yourself deadlines on the first few action steps. This process alone will provide so much clarity that you will know exactly where to begin.”
4. Do a weekly review of projects and goals. When you’re working on a bunch of different projects, it’s easy for your brain to feel a bit scattered and overwhelmed, causing a productivity block. But when you have a clear idea of everything you have going on, what stage each project is in and the work you need to put into each one, you’re definitely going to feel way more on the ball. “Take some time at least once a week to do a thorough review of your current projects and priorities. Then, each night, plan the next day to ensure you’re still on track for your plan,” Jeff says.
5. Don’t run away from structure just because you’re creative. “Many creatives believe that structure will inhibit their workflow, but the reality is that boundaries serve to focus your thoughts and give your creativity real direction. My work requires an enormous amount of creativity and I know that the more I plan my artistic inspiration, the more likely it is to happen.” An important part of developing structure for your time is planning to take mental breaks from work. “My most creative inspiration strikes me when I walk away from a tough project after working hard on it. In other words, plan to dive into your work with intense focus and then take a planned break to let your subconscious put together the missing pieces,” Jeff advises.
6. Plan for self-care first. We all know that a healthy body means a healthy mind, which leads to higher productivity. But sometimes it can be hard to actually put that knowledge into practice. Jeff recommends training yourself to think in that order: health before work. “I schedule my health and fitness priorities on my calendar before my work projects. Most healthy habits don’t require a lot of time — they simply require planning. Do the necessary work to plan your own self-care and you’ll easily find free time you previously thought was unavailable.”
Are you struggling with productivity? Tweet us at @BritandCo with which one of Jeff’s tips you’re most excited to try!
(Photos via Getty and Jeff Sanders)