Highly productive people do things differently than most people. They have specific habits, routines and systems in place that enable them to be highly effective and efficient.
In fact, they even spend their Sundays differently compared to most people.
After studying hundreds of high-performers across any field (whether business, entertainment, art or sports) I discovered that most of them have a Sunday ritual in which they do five specific things that help them perform at peak productivity levels during the following week.
These five habits only have to take about 30 to 60 minutes, so you can spend the rest of your day relaxing and doing other fun stuff. Yet, the pay-off will be more than worth it.
Habit #1: Setting Goals
One of the things that highly productive people do every Sunday is setting new goals for the week ahead. It may only take a few minutes to do, but it will make you a lot more productive and, ultimately, successful.
Most people already do some form of goal-setting. Often, they set long-term goals for themselves, such as one-year or three-year goals. Unfortunately, however, most people fail to achieve these bigger goals because they don’t take consistent action upon their goals on a daily or weekly basis.
The antidote to this is to break your bigger goals down into smaller goals (such as quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals) so that you have multiple checkpoints on your road to achievement.
When you only have goals that have their deadlines somewhere far into the future, you won’t feel the pressure or motivation to work hard on them in the short-term. However, by setting 1–3 weekly goals for yourself every Sunday, you’re building a goal-achievement system around you that ensures you take consistent action on the short-term, which helps you in achieving your long-term goals.
Therefore, every Sunday, take a few minutes to set 1–3 weekly goals that will help you get significantly closer to your monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. Make sure that you set very precise and specific goals so that you can clearly measure your progress and define when you’ve achieved them.
Habit #2: Planning The Upcoming Week
Besides setting goals, highly productive people also take a few minutes to plan their upcoming week. This one thing alone can provide so much clarity and structure to your work, as you know exactly what and when you need to work on certain tasks.
Planning your week removes a lot of ambiguity, which is key in working without friction and keeping procrastination on the low. Furthermore, you can make sure that you actually achieve your weekly goals as you protect the time for it beforehand.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Personally, I like to schedule my week both in Google calendar and a physical calendar so that I can be confronted with it multiple times during the day. This helps me to stay focused and work with clarity.
I clearly notice that when I don’t schedule my days and weeks, I waste much more time working on lower priority tasks, I experience more friction and I tend to procrastinate much more. However, as soon as I have full clarity about what to do and when to do it, the provided structure helps me to be much more effective.
Bonus Tip: Protect the mornings to work (distraction-free) on your most important tasks. The rest of the day will feel like a breeze. Furthermore, you’ll consistently make progress on your most important projects as you prevent yourself from procrastinating on your important tasks when using this rule (which I call, ‘eating your veggies first’).
Habit #3: Reviewing The Previous Week
Another key habit that most highly productive people do on a Sunday is taking the time to review the previous week. By reflecting on what went well and what didn’t go well, you can gather valuable insights that will help you work even more effectively next week.
In fact, I’ve experienced that by merely reflecting on your progress and achievements for a few minutes each Sunday, you can save yourself days, weeks or even months of hard work. When you step back from your work and reflect on what’s going well and what can be done better, you slowly but surely remove the productivity sabotaging blindspots out of your life.
This will save you a lot of time, frustration and energy in the future.
Personally, I like to ask myself the following questions during my reflection session:
- Did I achieve my weekly goal(s)? If no, why not? If yes, what went well?
- What activities/products/people/actions have contributed to the biggest majority of my results over the past week?
- What efforts/activities/products/people have consumed my time and energy but didn’t lead to a lot of results (if any at all)?
- What could I have done better in order to be more productive and focussed?
- What habits have been essential to my happiness, productivity, focus and energy?
- What were the blind spots and unforeseen events that happened, that I should learn from?
By asking yourself these questions, you gain more clarity on both your priorities and on the time and energy consuming activities that don’t lead to a lot of results. Essentially, you identify what you should do more and less of — and that’s a powerful productivity booster.
Therefore, every Sunday, take a few minutes to review your previous week.
It will pay off.
Habit #4: Journaling
Journaling is another common Sunday habit of highly productive people. Journaling is incredibly powerful for gaining mental clarity as you’re getting thoughts and ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Especially when you find yourself worrying about a few things, your internal chatter can hinder you a lot in staying focused and productive. By getting them out of your head and onto paper, you’ll find that the inner chatter calms down a lot. This frees up your mental energy and headspace to think clearly, solve problems and generate new creative ideas.
Furthermore, I like to write out the ideas that I’ve gained during the days so that I can determine the next action steps and work them out with more structure. If the idea turns out to be valuable, I can then schedule some time for it in the upcoming week or even set a weekly goal based on it.
Therefore, I encourage you to sit down with a pen and journal for at least 15 minutes (without distractions) and see what comes up. You might just be surprised by what you’ll find.
Habit #5: Reading
Through reading, you can learn from the people who have walked the path before you. You can learn from their mistakes without having to make them yourself and shortcut the process towards achieving your goals. This makes you more productive and better equipped to achieve your most ambitious goals.
That’s why people like Mark Cuban insist on reading 3 hours per day, Bill Gates reads for at least 1 hour as part of his bedtime routine and Warren Buffett spends a large part of his day reading.
“I read more than three hours almost every day, Most people won’t put in the time to get a knowledge advantage. To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the net making it so readily available, I can get an advantage in any technology business.”
— Mark Cuban
Personally, I can say that reading self-development and business books is the number one reason why I am where I am today. It’s how I’m able to earn my money online and live a more fulfilling life than I used to. Without books, I honestly wouldn’t know where I would be.
“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
— Warren Buffett
Since reading is so powerful, I actually encourage you to do it every single day. However, in the busyness of life, it can sometimes be hard to actually make that happen. Therefore, schedule some time to read during the weekends, when you (probably) have less on your plate.
Now Do It
If you want to become more productive and, ultimately, more successful, I highly encourage you to take action upon these 5 habits for this upcoming Sunday.
All Rights reserved foe Jari Roomer