How To Set Yourself Up For A Productive Week

What Monday Blues, eh?


I must admit that the idea for writing a post on this topic came to me early last week when I was completely bossing my to-do list. I felt on-top of things, organised and was closing my laptop at 6pm and feeling satisfied with everything that I’d ticked off that day. Then my sister fell off a climbing wall on the same day my parents had flown off to Rome for a city break and I got subbed in as Chief Nurse/Temporary Mum for four days and my to-do list has remained pretty much untouched until now. Thankfully my sister is well and in good spirits (the NHS and the lovely, lovely people that work there are golden) and back in the care of our parents, so I’m here I am sitting at my desk writing this post at 8am on Monday morning. It’s not exactly how I imagined starting my week and so the advice that I’m giving here is definitely an action plan that I’ll be executing this morning to slip me back into the ‘BRING. IT. ON’ mindset. From sponge bathing duties to secret snack sneaking-in runs, I’m ready for it all…


MAKE A LIST. I mean, it’s not exactly ground-breaking, but on the weeks where I do begin with a clear list of tasks for each day, not only do I feel like I’ve been more productive by the end of the week, but I actually do tend to tick off a solid 90-95% off them. In an ideal world I sit on a Friday afternoon and plan for the week ahead, although Sunday evenings are often a great time to have a quiet moment and do some admin. But hey, even if you miss those key slots and are feeling all over the shop on a Wednesday afternoon then write one then. Don’t feel like it’s a completely lost cause if you haven’t sorted your shiz out by 9am on a Monday morning (I’m repeating this one to myself right now). Be realistic with your list; take into account any meetings or social events you have and try and nail it down to 3-5 tasks that need to be completed that day – I find that is my optimal level that I can tick off without feeling like I need to sit down and breathe into a paper bag.

SCHEDULE IN YOUR WORKOUTS. It’s up there with ‘drink lots of water’, ‘take frequent mini breaks during the day’ and ‘take a walk outside on your lunchbreak’, but as annoying as it is to hear it for the 867th time, a little sweat session here and there will get your heart pumping and you feeling pretty darn good. I sleep better, feel stronger and am more efficient with my time when I’m working out *insert ‘YES, WE’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE ANNA!’ EYE ROLL’*. I’m pretty awful at sticking to a schedule so I find it best to add them to my diary like meetings, that way I don’t forget them and I’m less likely to flake-out. Have a read of this post to see how I’m getting on with my latest schedule. It doesn’t have to be long, particularly hardcore or more than once a week if that’s all you can fit in, just make sure it’s something you enjoy and doesn’t make you want to vom when you think about it.


SORT OUT YOUR CHORES. Chores are one of those things in life that do make me want to vom. Although I’m often mistaken for a Monica-type (and I am with some tasks – I could hoover till the cows come home), I struggle to find enthusiasm for cleaning the toilet on a Saturday morning. I do however, love the satisfaction that a spick and span, clean and tidy, dust and fluff-free flat gives. So we’ve been trying to break it down a little and instead of doing one big clear up at the weekend which we can never find the impetus to actually do, we’ll complete a mini chore each evening which doesn’t feel like a complete pain in the balls. I learnt this one from my Grandma – thanks G! Keep these written down as a separate list that you can tick-off as you and your household will be running like clockwork in no time.

MOTIVATIONAL READING. I find that if I have some kind of ass-kicking, ‘YOU CAN DO IT GIRL!’ book on my nightstand that I dip into each night, that my procrastination levels magically decrease and I manage to tap into this inner drive which quite honestly surprises my sometimes – where the hell did that come from, eh? Currently it’s ‘The Working Woman’s Handbook’ by Phoebe Lovatt, which is one of the most practical guides to career guidance and female entrepreneurship that I’ve ever read. A little read of it each night seems to stick with me until the morning and since I started it I find myself excited to get back to my desk each day and tap out some more content. It’s the best tenner I’ve spent in a long while. Basically find something to read that lights a fire in your belly and read it often.


FIND YOUR SPOT. If you’re feeling like your productivity levels are at an all-time low, then it might be worth switching up your work area. If you find yourself at a non-negotiable desk, then check out this newsletter for some general sprucing up inspiration. However if you find yourself a little more malleable with your workspace then use this week to test some new set-ups. Perhaps it’s worth joining a co-working space? Or meeting a fellow freelancer at a coffee shop where you can also bounce ideas off each other? Or maybe your parents have a great little nook that you can steal for the day? Or have you tried working at your dining table just to switch it up a bit? Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need. Personally I’m an at-home, at-desk kinda gal, but every now and again I slip into the kitchen to be nearer to the snacks…

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. Supplement your non-working hours with time spent doing something that makes you happy. For me that’s sitting on the sofa, watching GBBO or crime documentaries on Netflix that blow my mind – ‘THERE WAS NO DNA EVIDENCE!!’. Add a pack of Dairy Milk Chocolate Buttons and a big fluffy blanket into that and that’s my ultimate happy place right there. It’s the thought of that moment that pulls me through the dark times wading through my inbox. I jest, but we all know that emails are the worst, right? Find your ultimate evening activity and then use that to get you through the working day. And if it includes Dairy Milk Chocolate Buttons then there’s always a spot for you on the sofa round here…

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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