Everyone’s had a bad Monday. Whether it's a missed alarm or traffic on the commute or a coffee stain on your new shirt, a bad Monday can throw you off the whole week and prevent productivity. But what if I told you Mondays don’t have to suck? It’s all in how you do your Sunday. Today, I’m sharing my six-step Sunday routine that sets me up for a productive week.
What do you struggle with the most during the work week? Cooking dinner instead of ordering takeout? Battling anxiety from job stress? Hate coming home to a messy house? Find the tips you need in the six categories below:
In Today’s Blog:
Step 1: Nourish Your Spirit
Every Sunday, I nourish my spirit in Christ and community at my local church. Nothing beats a good worship session If I can’t make it to church, I replace the time with a devotional. I love waking up early to a quiet home, opening the shades to let the sunlight in, and breaking open God’s Word. Journaling, I get all my thoughts out from yesterday and during the night. I release all of my worries and start the day at peace.
Don’t go to church? You can still nourish your soul with quiet time. Try writing morning pages, Or empty your busy mind with the Calm app that guides you through 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation.
TIP: Start your mornings phone-free
As soon as you wake up, turn off your alarm, leave your phone in your bedroom, and start your routine in another room.
Step 2: Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet. Buying groceries ahead of time on Saturday or Sunday allows you to cook and/or meal prep in advance. The more food you have ready in advance, the less you will need to buy food during the week. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t know how to cook. It’s too complicated!” or “Groceries are too expensive!”
- Learning how cook is trial and sometimes error. There’s no shame. When I started cooking I had to google what boiling water looked like. And don’t start cooking with a five course steak dinner. Start with something easy like pasta or salad.
- Buying groceries may seem expensive buying so much food at once, but your grocery total is far less than if you buy takeout everyday during the week. Especially if you live in a city where a sandwich can cost $10+. (I’m not salty about it...) I know the feeling of coming home after a long day at work and being too pulling out a freezer meal or ordering pizza. Starting the week with food in the fridge makes you more inclined to eat home cooked meals instead of eating out.
Here’s my step-by-step guide for grocery shopping on a budget, in less than an hour, without buying what you DON’T need:
- Plan your meals for the week. What do you want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? (Don’t forget snacks) Find new recipes to try. I find all of my recipes on Youtube. Not only do you have a recipe to follow, but you see the techniques, like how to cut an onion. Start with one of my favorite Youtuber chefs, the Domestic Geek!
- Go through your kitchen and pantry to see what ingredients you already have. Write down the ingredients you don’t have to make your grocery list.
- Eat before you go to the grocery store. If you go hungry, you will buy the food your stomach wants, which might be more than you budgeted for.
- At the grocery store, only walk down the aisle that have things you need. Avoid the cookie, soda, and ice cream aisle. Just don’t do it.
TIP: If your schedule allows, go grocery shopping during the week when the food is well stocked and crowds are minimal
Step 3: Be a Budgeting Boss
As a twenty-something college grad, this is the part of adulting I never want to do. What’s my motivation? To honor God with my finances. I started this journey last summer, when I read what felt like every finance article, watched personal finance videos, and tried different budgeting tactics to see what works. So far, the best advice I’ve received on budgeting came from a pastor living on a tight support-raising budget: Plan out everything you spend.
The best advice I’ve received on budgeting: Plan out everything you spend.
Every Sunday, I go through last week’s receipts and write everything down I spent in a list including the date, the expense and the amount. (To make less work for me, I write expenses down gradually throughout the week and normally finish with Saturday’s expenses on Sunday) Then, I group the week’s expenses into categories, such groceries, takeout, metro, etc. Adding up individual expense amounts into groups, I can see how much I spent in each category and how it compares to my budget. In creating your budget, write how much you want to spend in each category per week. For example, I might spend $40 on takeout when I only budgeted for $30. So I know to pull back on takeout next week.
Next, I start this week’s list with Sunday’s expenses of grocery shopping and metro fares. I write in any inevitable expenses coming in the week like rent, and then continue to track my expenses throughout the week.
I tried another new budgeting tip this week from Haley Cairo. Before I got home, I went to the bank, took out cash in small bills, and sectioned it out with paper clips and post-it notes. This is how you can budget, but still leave room to treat yourself--by planning it. For example, I gave myself $5 of treat money to spend how I pleased like Starbuck’s drink.
Unexpected expenses are inevitable. don't beat yourself up. give yourself grace.
This method isn’t foolproof. Unexpected expenses are inevitable. For example, my friends and I planned a spontaneous beach trip, so I bought a swimsuit, towel and flip flops. I did not expect to spend that money, but it was worth it to enjoy a beautiful beach day. Spending extra money when you're investing in something enjoy, remember, and use in the long run. And sometimes you're just really craving chocolate, so you buy a box of donuts. Either way, when you buy something outside of your budget, don't beat yourself up. Give yourself grace.
Step 4: Meal Prep
Besides church, this is my favorite part of Sunday. I love to put on a show or podcast and cook up a storm! As mentioned before, the more food you prepare in advance, the less food you need to buy during the week when you have less time. Last summer, I challenged myself to go five weekdays without takeout. If I hadn’t cooked food in advance, I would not have eaten. Like many people, I had a busy work schedule didn’t allow me to cook food during the week. In other words, meal prep saved my life that week.
- Meal prepping comes in many different forms. I’m sure you’ve seen it on Instagram. You don’t have to hoard Tupperware. You don’t have to eat the same meal every week. Here’s my three favorite ways to meal prep:
- Cut up all your ingredients and section into meals to cook each weekday. For example, chop stir fry veggies the night before to decrease cooking time the next day.
- Buy packaged food, and section it out into plastic containers or bags. For example, sectioning popcorn into individual bags for daily snacks.
- Cooking all of one meal for the week and keeping each stored in individual containers in the fridge.
- Prepare meals that don’t require cooking and store in the freezer. For example, freeze chopped fruit and veggies. Add liquid and blend smoothies for breakfast in the morning.
For more meal prep ideas, check out Mind Over Munch on Youtube!
Step 5: Get S#*@! Done!
Time to get the ball rolling, productivity on Sunday will put you in the productive mindset the whole week. Sunday is one of the best times to do the tasks you do not have time to do during the week, from doing that laundry that’s been piling up to throwing away the receipts in the bottom of your bag. Decluttering your space can help declutter your mind. It’s easier to focus when there’s less around you to distract. Trust me, you will feel so much better waking up to an clean space.
- Sort, wash, fold and put away your laundry. Plan your outfits for the week while you’re at it.
- I declutter and organize my closet by the Konmari method. Go through your closet, hold each item in your hands and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does not, put it in a bag to give to a friend, sell online or donate. Read more in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
- Clean your home. Yes, I mean your whole home. From the bathroom to the kitchen to your desk to the your bedroom. Need tips for speed cleaning your home in only a few hours? Check out Brittney of Vasseur Beauty's Speed Cleaning Routine.
Step 6: Rest Your Soul
Now is your time to relax. Your lunch is packed. Your home is clean. It’s time to shift your brain to a positive, peaceful mindset for the coming week. Calming your mind before bedtime will help you to go to sleep faster and wake up more rested. So before you go to bed, log off of Netflix, set your alarm, and put your phone away. It’s time to focus on you.
Try having quiet time or doing your devotional if you didn’t this morning. Reflect on your Sunday and your past week. What was your highlight? What was your least favorite part? What do you need to work on for next week?
Here’s a few more ways to calm your mind and find peace before bedtime:
- Set the mood of your home for relaxation. Turn off your overhead lights and light candles or lamps. Burn calming essential oils like lavender. This creates a calming mood
- Try gratitude journaling. Reflect on your day in a positive way and write what you’re grateful for.
- Release bodily toxins and nourish your muscles with some yoga stretches.
In sum, a productive Sunday can make for an even better Monday. What’s your Sunday routine? I’d love to hear your tips in the comment section below. Let me know if you want to hear my morning routine.