Setting Yourself up For A Productive Week

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

I try to not do any school work on Sundays. After six days of classes and reading and extracurriculars, by Sunday I am usually brain dead, surrounded by a pile of laundry, and in desperate need of a break. Judith Shulevitz, a writer and editor, wrote an article for the New York Times called “Bring Back the Sabbath,” in which she writes about “Sunday neurosis:” an existential funk that settled over her on the weekends when she slowed down and stopped working. She argues for a day to rest, in order to quiet what she calls, “inner murmur of self-reproach.” Shulevitz comes from a Jewish background, but the practice of slowing down one day a week and separating our existence from our work is important regardless of religious or areligious bent.

In order to preserve my own sanity, and to quiet the inner (and outer) murmur of my own self-reproach, I set Sundays aside as rest days and do only three tasks:

1) Choose Clothes for the Week

One of my three goals for the new year was to utilize the full breadth of my wardrobe instead of wearing the same sweatshirt and jeans over and over again. Atlanta weather can be a bit finicky (it was 67 degrees today, February 5), but having to decide on one outfit the morning of because the weather changed 30 degrees overnight is still better than having to decide what to wear every morning.

2) Plan Meals

I would love to be the kind of person who preps all of my meals for the week in advance. I genuinely think my life would be much easier if I didn’t so frequently find myself at 7 pm, hangry and totally lacking in dinner inspiration. But I am not the person who preps my meals in advance because I hate being in the kitchen and do not particularly enjoy cooking, so meal prep is not conducive to a day dedicated to rest. To alleviate a little bit of my hanger problems, though, I do try to plan my meals on Sundays, and either go grocery shopping or order on Prime Now (thank you Lexis Points). Check out this 3L Life post for some easy meal prep ideas.

Planning Meals for the week

3) Update Calendar

I use Sundays to double-check that all of my appointments for the week are in my calendar. I also have a goal to spend quality time with at least one other person during the week, so on Sundays, I will figure out who I haven’t seen in a while and try to schedule a lunch or a coffee. Having my calendar sorted on Sunday prevents me from being plagued with feelings of being unprepared.

The rest of my day is dedicated to being lazy, indulging in a hobby, going on a hike, calling my parents, or binge-watching something like Schitt’s Creek. Very few things make me as happy as sipping coffee and reading poetry in my pajamas all day, or going for a solitary hike or adventure. It is very easy as law students to forget who we are and what we enjoy outside of law school, but I am much happier and much more productive when I protect my day off.

I’m curious to know if any other law students out there have figured out how to build a rest day into their schedule? Reach out and share your favorite rest day activities: @the1lLife on Twitter and Instagram!