Everyone always treats Monday poorly when in reality it’s only doing its job.
To help put my Monday into perspective, I started engaging in a Sunday Flare & Focus. My SF&F is a time for me to lay out my week on a sheet of paper brain dump style. By doing this I am able to view my week as an entire entity. From this view, I create a list of tasks that need to be completed, figure out days that I need to pack workout clothes, ensembles I might want to consider this week, clarify any instances of double booking that may have occurred, cancel any unnecessary appointments, make a list of emails that need to be sent and conversations that need to be had, meetings to attend and preparation needed to be successful, and any fun things in the city that I make plans to do with friends on on a solo mission.
When I lay out my week in this manner, I am able to clearly see all of the bright spots that lay ahead for me. For instance, when laying out my current week I smiled while noting the following:
1. A trip to ICE! and the Opryland Hotel with my friend Dee who celebrates Hanukkah but desired a bit of the Christmas spirit.
2. My 2nd visit to my 3rd classroom as a reader for Book ‘Em.
3. Barre3 class and a possible exit with enough time to attend a favorite church service that is often beyond my schedule due to a standing Tuesday night meeting.
4. Attendance at my first Leadership Educators’ Institute in Ft. Worth, TX where I’ll be presenting my first educational session at this conference to my new pool of colleagues.
These four bright spots now stand above all the rest of the “stuff” that makes up my week and because I can see them shining, I am more excited to attack my week with the constant feeling that whatever I’m wading through during the day, I’m on my way to a better place. Bright spots are the, “I get to ____________ moments.”
My Sunday F&F allows me to get excited about my week and it also allows me to plan for my success. After I brain dump all of the week’s happenings, I then go back and chunk prioritize the items by day. To make sure that I can get it all done on the target day, I go into my calendar and block off time to attend to each task. With this plan in hand, I walk into my office or wherever I’ve chosen to set up shop on Monday with an action-oriented demeanor. I know what I need to get done and I can easily track my progress. If I only get those 3-4 things checked off my list then I’ve had a good day.
One of the many things that I’m working on in my life is showing gratitude to God in the good times and the bad times. He’s good ALL the time and I must honor that He has a plan. My pastor recently stated (maybe not in these exact words) that “in bad times we talk to God and in good times we talk about God”. I’ve got to do better with doing both regardless of my circumstance. Laying out my week gives me a better sense of what to be thankful for and for what I need to be praying. I know He is always by my side BUT sometimes I need His strength even more depending on the meeting ;).
The Sunday F&F gives me a reminder as to how I’m spending my time. Am I truly engaging with people and organizations that are helping me achieve my life’s mission? Do I need to make more time to connect with people and things in my life that feed my soul? Perhaps something or someone that I really don’t value or does not value me is taking up way too much of my schedule. I can adjust the picture and make the necessary changes with accurate insight collected from the F&F.
We live in a world of people who loudly sing, “I don’t have time.” in their overcommitted and poorly prioritized show choir ensembles. The F&F forces me to take a regular time audit to help me determine whether or not I am prioritizing my time in a way that aligns with my values. Show me how you spend your time and I’ll tell you what you value. For the majority of us, how we spend our time is a CHOICE. A choice is not just something you have; it is something you do. CHOOSE HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY.
One does not need a fancy planner to conduct a Sunday Flare & Focus. All you need is paper and a writing utensil or you could be fancy and use the computer. I’m not able to plan my life on a screen so I kick it old school. Try the following:
1. Brain dump your entire week onto a piece of paper. Lay it all out there from the oil change to the Ugly Christmas sweater party and everything in between. This is the Flare part. The rest is all about Focus.
2. Highlight the Bright Spots. “I get to do/go/be/wear/hug/cook…” –> Practice gratitude. Use these as your sanity guideposts throughout the week. Make notice of those Dim Bulbs–those things that you really aren’t looking forward to that week. Maybe it’s a tough conversation with a colleague or maybe everyone is going on a cruise but you realize that your finances aren’t going to allow you to make that monetary sacrifice. Thank Him for both Bright Spots and Dim Bulbs but keep those Dim Bulbs at the top of your prayer list.
3. If you’d like, Organize items into thematic lists such as emails, phone calls, meeting prep, items to pack, and items to buy, etc.
4. Assign a Target Day/Deadline. I tend to just put M, T, W, R, F, S, Su. –We used ‘R’ in undergrad for Thursday at my school.
5. Put time in your calendar to address the item(s) on the Target Day. Be aware that 1 task could have 8 steps and you’ll need time to complete all the sub steps of any task. This is why chunk prioritization is important as it helps you not overwhelm your day. You have an idea of the estimated time each task will take and you can in a sense “balance” your day with heavy and light tasks. If I don’t put it on my calendar, it isn’t going to happen.
6. Do it! Check it off the list and get you a hit of dopamine :). Read Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek if you don’t get that reference.
It has changed my life for the better to not hurl myself into Monday without a plan of action. If I skip my Sunday Flare & Focus, I feel it and immediately regret not spending a few moments getting myself prepped for the week.
Own your week and give your next Monday a big smile. Thank your Sunday Flare & Focus for giving you a new lease on life.
Thanks y’all for reading.