The internet is ablaze with lists that tell you what every successful leader/teacher/manager/person does on Sunday/Monday/Friday to have a successful week or weekend. I always click on them thinking I will find some magical tip to make my life less chaotic (and therefore more successful).

Each time I click I am reminded of the many things I am already doing to keep our lives (and my work life) in order because these lists offer practical advice versus magic (darn!). Sometimes I find a new tidbit to incorporate, but it’s really the practical stuff that helps us be prepared for success. We are not always successful, but it’s amazing what the small, simple things can do to help us operate more smoothly. Here is my (practical) Sunday list.

Note: I work a traditional work schedule but you can replace “Sunday” with any day of the week. 


Each Sunday I take ten minutes to clean out backpacks and this includes my own. My seven-year-old and five-year-old accumulate a lot of stuff like random papers, Legos that they snuck into school, numerous bottles of lip gloss, the missing glove, snack wrappers — oh, and homework. After I tackle their bags, then I do the same with my own backpack. I used to carry a catch-all tote bag and recently invested in an “adult” backpack. It’s a game changer for me because I carry my backpack to and from work every day. Like most working moms,  you are always preparing to have to stay home with a sick kid. If I bring my computer home with me each night, then I am ready to work from home if needed. I have found that my papers are more organized and they don’t get destroyed like they do in a tote bag. After cleaning them out, I line them up by the door (because I have walked out without them in the past). 

Each Sunday I sit down and write out four potential meals for the week in a planner, and I assign them to a day. After this, I make my grocery list which saves me from buying a bunch of random stuff we don’t need. I have been doing this for more than two years and my family is so used to it that we don’t know how to operate for meals without it. It’s also helpful because my husband will start dinner before I get home (which is most days). It’s just nice to have the expectation set and then I am not scrambling as I walk out of work. It also means we eat healthier because I am not grabbing take out (which still happens here and there)

In our stairwell, you will find a monthly calendar of everything that is happening. It’s nice to see the big picture but each Sunday I review the details of the week. This helps me to remember if I need a gift for a birthday party, to wash the jersey for baseball practice, or if I can sneak in dinner with some girlfriends on a slow week. It’s helpful that everyone else in my family can see it as well. 

Books. I just love them. They are my night in shining armor, but I rarely pay attention to this prince. If I don’t have a book or magazine within arms distance, then I spend too much time on my phone. There is a mental connection to reading before bed that makes me feel smarter and calmer (even if I fall asleep within 10 minutes). We all have our “thing” and this one is certainly mine. The more I read, the better I feel about everything. I’ve recently started reading more magazines and I am taking suggestions on good ones to read. I like the kind you can hold in your hands and feel versus the online ones. 

Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the challenge. Amy, you can do hard things. These are my mantras for 2018. I say them out loud each day after I drop the kids off to school and head to work. It’s amazing how different it feels to say them out loud. Makes it more real. As I hop into bed on Sunday, I say them to myself before I fall asleep. It’s not just about prepping my family for a successful week, it’s also about keeping my mind focused on the joy of the journey.  Parenting is an evolving, growing, demanding process. I don’t want to miss the good stuff while I am checking off my to-do list. 

The headline to this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek because we all have to define what success means to us individually. What do you do on Sunday to have a successful week? 


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