Image credit: Inspired Living Affirmations

With the holidays closing in, the busiest time of year for people personally and often professionally is approaching, people are just trying to keep up with their day-to-day schedules, let alone finding time to plan ahead. In order to stay on top of all of your competing priorities, here are five things you can do on Sundays to get ahead for the week:

1. Make A To Do List  

When there are a lot of things that need to be done, write them all down and check them off. If you don’t write them down, the chances they will slip through the cracks increase exponentially. List them by deadline, and fill 10-15 minute gaps in your day by completing things that will make your life easier during the week ahead.

2. Get A Head Start On A Big Project 

If something is looming, causing you stress, like a big project or presentation, or an interview, set yourself up for success. Set aside time to practice for your presentation or interview so it will quell your anxiety, or spend an hour or so grinding through a big project you’re expected to complete so you’re not so overwhelmed by the week. Action tempers stress and anxiety, spending some time on this week’s major stressor will help you feel more prepared for the week.

3. Meal Prep 

When things get busy and stressful, diet and/or your wallet are often the first things that suffer. Prepping your meals for the week give you one less thing to think about in the morning and during the day, and will relax your mornings since you won’t need to rush to make breakfast and pack a lunch. Since preparing your own meals is also the most healthy way to eat, it gives you no excuse to stress eat fast food or grab something that will satiate a craving in the short term but weigh on your energy in the long term. Keep your energy high with foods like bananas, apples, oranges, yogurt, turkey and avocado that are easy to pack and easy to eat.

4. Exercise 

Finding time to exercise will help you manage your emotions during stressful times, and help release anxious energy in a healthy way. If you know it will be tough to find time to exercise throughout the week, make it a priority the Sunday before to spend some time exercising to calm your mind and body for the week ahead.

5. Take Time For You

Whether that is getting a massage, taking a yoga class, cooking dinner for your family, walking your dog, do something just for yourself that makes you happy and is good for you. Now that you’ve taken time to make a to-do list, get a head start on the week, exercise and prepare meals, take some time for yourself to quiet your mind, smile, and center yourself for a busy week ahead.

By Frances Bridges

The author is a freelance journalist, writer and blogger in New York City.