Bob Geldof was conveying a sentiment felt by the majority of us when he belted out that 1979 classic “I Don’t Like Mondays.” Why is it that the Monday morning alarm always seems to be the one that gets the most snooze button presses?!
Just like Mike has, I’ve been able to eradicate the Monday morning blues from my life. I’m going to share with you some of the decisions I made that helped to make that a reality. If anything that follows is able to change your approach to Mondays in some small way, then you will head further down the road to becoming a productivityist.
1. Don’t slack on Fridays
You’ll often find Mondays as being catch-up days and when you wake up on a Monday morning, you know exactly what’s coming. This is a real productivity killer.
I used to have a real problem with working Fridays, mainly because I knew the weekend was coming and I was feeling reasonably tired after working as hard as I could from Monday to Thursday. However, by pushing myself to make the same amount of effort on a Friday as I would do any other day of the week actually made my work week easier. My workload on a Monday reduced because I wasn’t having to pick up the slack of the previous Friday. This meant that I was able to use my energy in a more productive way at the beginning of the week, rather than burning myself out and struggling to get up on Tuesday.
By managing your calendar and to-do list to try and make each day as equal as possible, you will be able to prevent having a fear of one day over another in your mind.
2. Plan your week on Fridays
So many people I have worked with turn up to the office on a Monday morning and start trying to write down a list of what they are going to achieve that day. I always try to advise them that no matter what they write down, it’s not as much as they could have achieved because they have just spent the time when their energy levels are at their highest writing a list of what they would like to achieve.
You should be turning up for work on a Monday morning knowing exactly what it is that you are going to be doing for those first two hours and kicking your work week off with a bang, either completing or making good headway on the most important tasks of the week. There is no better feeling than being able to tick those difficult tasks off of your to-do list early on that you would have otherwise spent time procrastinating on.
It’s up to you whether you decide to plan your Mondays on a Friday afternoon or evening (close one work week, plan the next) or on a Sunday night (naturally planning the next day), so long as you avoid planning your day when you get to work first thing Monday morning!
3. Don’t schedule meetings on Mondays
I’m sure we’re all either in – or have been involved with – jobs where there is always a team meeting on Monday mornings. It seems sensible to most managers being the start of a new week. There are new goals to set, announcements to make, and so on. I’ve always found this to be a counterproductive approach.
The problem is that our energy levels always peak in the early morning and at the beginning of any activity. The working week is one such activity, so I would argue that Monday morning is the worst time possible to hold a meeting. Changing these meetings to a Friday afternoon might be a more optimal time. That way you can discuss the results of the previous week, problems that arose, and plan out what you need to achieve in the following week. In fact, holding meetings on Friday afternoons is an excellent way of clearing to neutral.
4. Enjoy your work
I know this is a utopian viewpoint but it is achievable if you really want it to happen. One of the phrases I remember my grandfather saying to me when he was alive was, “If you enjoy your work, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’ve been able to adopt this mindset by following a very simple step: I’ve replaced every phrase that starts with “I must” with “I want to.”
Imagine that for a second: waking up in the morning and saying, “I want to go to work.” Sounds crazy, but the truth of the matter is that I dowant to go to work. Every time I work, I learn at least one new thing over the course of the day – and knowledge is something that I crave. I wouldn’t obtain knowledge in those areas of my life if I didn’t work. Also, the pleasures that providing for my family bring me would not be achievable if I didn’t go to work. I wouldn’t be able to give them a holiday, Christmas would be a huge struggle, and my daughters would feel socially inferior to their friends when they are wearing the same clothes day-to-day.
By looking at the end result, the motivation to get up and enjoy work is a natural by-product. I’ve also found this approach has improved other areas in my life as there aren’t any tasks that I feel I must do, only those that I want to do. Relationships, quality of life, and household maintenance are all improved because seeing the goal in advance makes the actions easier to accomplish.
So, do Mondays need to be any different from the rest of the week?
Not at all.
You have the power to be able to change your perception of Mondays and make them every bit as productive as the remainder of your week. Focus on the why behind the reason you go to work, prepare yourself in advance, utilise the morning, and ensure you work every bit as hard on a Friday as you would any other day and Monday will very soon be the day you look forward to the most.