As the founder of a goal setting and planning company, I’ve learned a thing or two about productivity.
And the sneaky coolest thing I’ve learned is this: The magic is in preparation.
So I’m sharing my secret sauce: my Sunday success system. This routine helps me prepare for the week ahead and stay on top of my game.
Spoiler alert – The SELF Journal is my trusty sidekick in this process.
Step 1: Brain dump
Maybe this is just a me thing, but I find nearly every successful habit I have starts with brain dumping. Literally just stream-of-consciousness writing everything that pops into my head.
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
— Ram Dass
My weekly planning is no different.
Before I start, I make sure my phone is in another room. Distraction-free.
With a clear mind, I do a brain dump of everything I want to do personally and professionally for the following week.
Don’t worry about the quality of these items. The goal is to move all your thoughts from your brain → paper – no matter if you end up cutting it later or not. This simple act of getting everything out of my head is seriously therapeutic. It’s like you’re closing open tabs in your brain that will allow you to think more clearly without all the junk slowing it down.
I use the Weekly Action Pad for this part of my week. Writing down all my thoughts before I can then filter them into a plan for the week.
Step 2: Batch tasks
Once I have everything written down, I group similar tasks together. This is called batching and it will change your life.
By working on related tasks in one go, I save time and mental energy. (It costs a lot to switch from task to task if you didn’t already know)
For example, I batch my content creation. So anything related to social media, my bi-weekly email newsletter, brainstorming and scheduling posts. I do all of this stuff on Monday morning to make sure I’m good to go for the rest of the week.
I’ll also batch errands that need to be run so I do them at the one time, or when I’m in the area so that I can be as efficient as possible. If I’m meeting a friend for coffee I’ll batch errands that need to be done in the same area.
Then I don’t worry about it again until the next week. 😌
Step 3: Prioritizing & setting due dates
“You’ve got to know what’s important so you can put first things first.”
— Stephen Covey
I’m on a quote kick today.
Once you’ve decided on the different batches of tasks, it’s time to prioritize.
I identify my most important tasks and give them due dates. This helps me focus on what really matters and avoid getting sidetracked by less important stuff.
And once I finish a project, I’m not sitting around wondering what’s next. The SELF Journal helps me see at a glance what should be top-of-mind and when I should do it.
Having trouble prioritizing? If you know anything about productivity, you’ve seen this omnipresent graph that President Eisenhower mastered:
This important step also leads really nicely into the next one: Outsourcing.
Step 4: Outsourcing
“Don’t try to do everything yourself. Outsource, delegate and trust others to help.”
— Cathryn Lavery
(Yes, I just quoted myself 🤣)
After I’ve prioritized tasks, I look for anything I can delegate.
Outsourcing tasks to a virtual assistant or an employee frees up time for me to focus on the more high-impact tasks. There’s no reason I should be doing the menial stuff when I have team members to help me.
Want an example? I delegate tasks like email management and research to my virtual assistant, which saves me literal hours each week.
The important part is following back up later with my team to make sure that work is done and up to snuff. Don’t forget this part.
Step 5: Time blocking
The final step of my Sunday success system is time blocking. I assign specific slots for each task in my weekly schedule.
Time blocking helps me stay on track and make progress on my priorities. And like I said earlier, the more I switch from unrelated task to unrelated task, the more mental energy I burn. So time blocking locks me into ~mental flow~ 🧘♀️
I use the SELF Journal’s daily planning pages to create a weekly schedule. With time slots for each task, I know exactly what I’m doing and when.
It’s like having a personal assistant in my pocket. “Cathryn, you’re supposed to be writing your newsletter, not watching crypto charts.”
My Sunday success system is my secret weapon for crushing the week. And honestly, it’s what allowed me to build a successful company.
Remember, the magic of productivity is in your preparation. You set yourself up for success not during deep work, but far before.
- Brain dump — Clear your mind by writing down everything you want to accomplish for the week, both personally and professionally
- Batch tasks — Group similar tasks together to save time and mental energy
- Prioritize and set due dates — Identify the most important tasks and give them deadlines
- Outsource — Delegate tasks to a virtual assistant or team member to free up your time for more high-impact work
- Time block — Schedule specific time slots for each task to stay on track and make progress
Let me know how it goes.