Productivity Set Your Week Up on Sunday to Hit Goals by Friday

by Lauren Tucker | July 16, 2020

Do you ever find yourself charging through the days and then, when Friday arrives, you wonder where the week went?

I do — especially when I’ve had a busy week and feel that I haven’t actually accomplished anything. Being sidetracked and pulled away from the task at hand happens because, well, life happens.

But, what if you could redesign your life (or at least your schedule) and reach Friday afternoon feeling accomplished? Maybe even focused, relaxed or proud of all you’ve pulled off in a week? It’s possible.

It starts with exploring four ways to organize your life on Sunday so you accomplish your goals by Friday.

1. Look ahead and visualize

I am a firm believer in visualization, which is the practice of interpreting ideas in a visual way. I’ve found that this magic technique helps to give goals — both short- and long-term — more shape, and can be the secret to accomplishing them.

First, look ahead to your end date, or when you want to have your goal(s) accomplished by (remember: deadlines are your friend). Picture not only what you want to have done by that time but also how that will make you feel.

On Sunday, take a moment to find a quiet space where you can sit with a pen and paper, turn on music you love and let the visualization session begin. Imagine the upcoming Friday: How do you feel? What are you thinking? How will you react as you close the door on another work week and walk into the weekend?

When I look ahead to next Friday, I want to feel centered and organized knowing that I have closed our professional tasks so that I can focus on time with my family. I envision myself closing my computer knowing that I have completed the weekly writing goals that I’ve set. I then imagine joining my daughter in the den and playing with her (no distractions) and relaxing with a cup of coffee with my work week behind me.

Once you have your mental snapshot — hang onto it. It will act as an anchor during the next exercise and will also be incredibly handy to remind yourself of during the week.

Metaphorical illustration of man creating a checklist of to-do items. There is a list a laptop and a feather duster floating around him to demonstrate the different tasks that one can do to lead a more organized and productive life.

2. Write a list

Now that you’ve visualized how you will feel on Friday, let's take a look at the meat and potatoes of your week: the to-do list.

Like many things, a good to-do list can make you feel like the crowning champ of organization or the runner-up in your own race. The goal is to have you wearing that master-organizer crown. Here are some quick tips for when you’re writing your to do list for the week:

  • Don't overload yourself. People think they can accomplish much more than they actually can. They overload the to-do list and pile jobs upon themselves to the point of breaking. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew.


  • Be mindful of time. You only have so many hours in a day and days in a work week. Be mindful of how many tasks (and how long they really take) so you set yourself up for success.


  • Use headings. When I look at a huge list of jobs I need to accomplish for the week I can lose motivation pretty quickly. Breaking up tasks into different categories can help you focus on different areas of your life and gives you a visual of things that need to be done. Instead of one massive ‘To-do’ list, customize it with subheadings like “Around the house,” “emails to be sent” and “children.”


  • Be honest with yourself. What absolutely needs to get done this week? What are your top five tasks for each of your headings? Be honest with yourself when you’re writing down your tasks. I'm definitely not going to write a novel this week, but I could write one chapter to work toward that massive goal.
Illustration of a woman on a step ladder putting a book on a shelf. There is a box of other items on the floor. Visual is depicting the concept of organization and putting things away.

3. Master time management 

You now have a well-organized — and realistic — to-do list. That's fantastic! The next step is to find slots in your schedule for each item.

Look at your schedule for the week ahead and decide where you’ll make time to check off those tasks. And tweak it as you need to — it’s yours. That might mean swapping out a workout one day or leaving the cooking to someone else (thank you pizza delivery person) one night. That’s ok — customize it as you need for that week. 

I rely on the practice of time blocking to hit goals. Time blocking is when you identify a period of time during your day to batch like tasks together, along with recurring events.

It can help you design a schedule that’s flexible and works just for you. Bonus: I’ve created a handy worksheet you can print out and use here.

4. Prep your physical space

The final tip is to spend some time on a Sunday to prepare your home for the upcoming week. Spending just a few hours working on your physical space can make a massive difference not only to your schedule but how you feel stepping into a Monday.

Carve out an hour or two and...

  • Clean house: Turn on some music and vacuum, mop floors or dust. These tasks are the ones that usually take the longest to complete, so knocking out these important tasks on Sunday will open up a chunk of time.


  • Meal plan and prep: Claim more time for the week ahead by clocking time in the kitchen for weekly meal prep over the weekend. You can then apply blocks of time that would otherwise have been spent cooking toward tasks that will get you closer to accomplishing that Friday afternoon feeling.
Illustration showing a man cleaning a mirror that sits above a dresser. There is a laundry basket next to him. Visual is depicting cleaning your overall space to create a more productive feeling environment.

Visualize, write a list, design your schedule and figure out what recurring tasks you can move to the weekend so you can focus on the week ahead.

Spending a few hours on a Sunday will not only allow you to meet (or exceed) that to-do list by Friday, but also get you closer to achieving loftier goals on that larger life list.

Lauren Tucker

is the woman behind An Organized Life. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Lauren traded in her figure skates for sunscreen and now resides in outside San Francisco. She can usually be found caffeinated and budgeting.