There's a subtle shift in the mood of every Sunday that signals the end of kicking back and the beginning of gearing up for the week ahead. Paying attention to this shift can mean the difference between a manic Monday and one that sets the tone for a smooth week ahead. Here are five ways to set yourself up to be on top of it as the week starts.
1. Meal plan for the week —with a list.
Whether it's a few notes on a piece of paper or a plan laid out on a family calendar whiteboard, get this done on Sundays and you'll be well on your way to a week without the dreaded "what's-for-dinners?" A complete meal plan includes a shopping list of what you'll need to buy (prepared after a scan for what you already have in the house). Bonus points if you also get your shopping done on Sunday so you don't have to scramble during the week.
2. Tidy up for a clean slate.
Pick up all your weekend detritus and then go through the house and tidy up everything that's just not quite where it belongs. If you have kids, you know how turned upside down the house can get just from having them home for a couple days. Enlist the help of every member of the household to get everything ship-shape so you can start fresh—and so no one's scrambling for lost shoes Monday morning.
3. Look over your budget.
Give your budget a once-over each Sunday. See if there's anything you need to update and make mental notes of what you have left to spend in various categories before your next paycheck. This will keep spontaneous spending in check—goodbye, impulse lunches!—and put you in the driver's seat when it comes to the week's finances.
4. Plan outfits.
If you tend to struggle every morning with what to wear, take a look at the weather forecast and put a few outfits together for the week. (This, of course, requires being relatively caught up with laundry.) Planning outfits will lessen the stress of the mornings. If your kids struggle with what to wear (or they come out of their rooms in outfits you just cannot let them go out in), put a few outfits together for them too. Tip: Let them help you.
5. Look over your calendar.
To mentally prepare for the week ahead and not get caught unawares by events that sneak up on you, make sure you look over your calendar on Sunday and make any necessary to-do lists. Plot out your errand runs for the week, too. I use both a Google calendar and a paper planner that I keep at home. Getting everything written down clears your mind, ensures that you aren't rushing around a the last minute, and allows you to get the household's separate schedules coordinated.