Productivity: When Does Your Week Start?

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I want to ask a seemingly obvious question – when does your week start? I mean for a lot of my readers the answer is “Sunday” since it’s the first day of the week we all sort of use. But that may not be the real answer – for many of us the week ends on Sunday and starts on Monday if we’re part of a normal US work week. For many of us even that doesn’t apply.

So when does your week really start and end? Why ask this? Because it’s a key to getting things done, and it’s best illustrated with two stories.

  • I use Scrum-style personal time management. Part of that is having Sprints, similarly-sized periods of work you plan and have reguarly. I used to use a month-long Sprint, moved to two weeks, then moved to a week as my life had gotten more variable. Originally my “sprint weeks” started on Sunday and ended on Saturday – which ruined my weekend. Now my “real” week is Monday to Sunday.
  • I’ve worked with development teams who use Scrum, and their Sprints are two weeks long. Despite having the usual workweek, their Sprints start on a Wednesday and end on a Tuesday. Why? Because Wednesday worked better, since no one wants to do elaborate planning Monday or Friday, and Tuesday and Thursday were basically Monday and Friday Junior. Wednesday was perfect (and worked really well).

So look at the way you plan your work for the week. What day is really the best day to end your week and make sure things are done? What day is really the best day to start your week and make sure you know what to accomplish. Your answer isn’t necessary going to be mine or anyone else you know’s – it’ll be yours.

The best day to end your week is one where you can catch up, round up, and plan for the next week. That could be a quiet Friday each week, or a raucous Monday when you figure out where you are after the previous week.

The best day to start your week is one where you can dive in and get going, knowing where you are and what is ahead of you. Maybe that’s a Wednesday, a hump-day where everything is clear and you can get energized. Maybe it’s a Saturday, and your “real” week starts with the weekend to relax.

But there’s more. Consider the other ways you can apply this “best time”:

Daily. What times of day do you work best? Are you a morning person? Evening person?

Monthly. What’s the best day of a week or a month to look at long-term plans?

Yearly. What month in a year is good to assess your big picture goals? Or to take a break from your elaborate plans.

Either way, start by looking at your week, your own personal week, and asking when it really ends and begins – in a way that’s best for you. With that knowledge, you can rethink your whole plans – and like me, you might be surprised.

Steven Savage