Why do people always intend to start a diet on a Monday? What is it that makes us think we’ll be more successful avoiding dessert on that day than on, say, Thursday? Studies show Monday is the most productive day of the week. So why, instead of embracing it, do we often dread its arrival?
monday is a fresh start
Monday is the starter pistol for the rest of the week. It’s a fresh start, even if you worked on the weekend or chased your kids through a multitude of activities. Ideally, you would have used the weekend as a break from your regular frantic routine, arriving on Monday refreshed and recharged. (If you’re laughing at the last sentence, it might be because you’re a working parent and your life is run in the fast lane. You might even view returning to work on a Monday a little like a break.) Regardless, Mondays are a new beginning, especially if you view it as the top of the hill instead of the bottom. From there you can see the rest of the week and if you’re clever, you’ll prepare for it. Preparation is the key to embracing Monday and making it your friend and your most productive day. Here’s how:
prepare on the weekend
Try batch cooking so dinners are easy to organize. Get your lunches lined up so a healthy lunch is a quick grab and go. The more you eat a healthy diet, the better equipped you are to focus, the greater your stamina, the sharper your mind. Lay out breakfast things and your clothes the night before so Monday morning is less stressful. If you have kids, help them do the same. Even small children can participate in preparing for the week.
wear your power outfit
Tempting as it might be to throw on a lazy Monday morning outfit, your clothes set the tone for your mood. Choose a power outfit for yourself, something you feel great in that will help you set your mind – and the week – to success and achievement. Your clothes influence how you feel, how you carry yourself and others’ perceptions about you. Why not take advantage of that on a Monday morning when you might need a little smoke and mirrors to feel like your best self?
arrive at work a little early
For many of us, the temptation to slap the snooze button an extra time or two is especially tempting on Monday morning. Instead, start your week off on the right foot. Instead of sleeping in until the last second, go to bed a little earlier on Sunday, and hit the ground running on Monday. Arriving to work just a little early can give you time to straighten out your thoughts and organize. Use the first half hour or so of your workday to plan your day and the rest of the week.
set realistic goals for the week
Too many of us put too much on our plates and then stress out when we can’t finish it. Be realistic about how your time will be spent, and if something needs to be pushed to the next week, be honest with yourself about it. You can also use technology to help you set and achieve realistic, attainable goals for the day and the week. An online or hard copy calendar can help you organize your thoughts, activities and deadlines and create an action plan. Be careful you don’t let it overtake your weekend.
clear your email backlog
Most of us spend valuable time checking and responding to emails at work when we should be using that time to actually execute work. Schedule time in your daily calendar to check email and restrict yourself to that time. If you can access work emails from home, take a few minutes over the weekend to check your email; delete what’s not important, identify what can wait and mark what will require immediate attention when you hit work on Monday. Getting your inbox in order beforehand ensures you’re able to focus on what matters when you get back to work.
save meetings for later
Cancel Monday morning meetings if at all possible, or reschedule them for later in the day. You won’t just be helping yourself; your colleagues will appreciate having the time to get a leg up on the week’s work. Then dig into your work. Set the timer on your watch for two hours, plug your earbuds in to reduce distractions and commit to your work. After two hours, get up, walk around, stretch, have a drink of water.
schedule a little ‘me’ time
Many people use their lunch hour to run errands so they don’t have to stop after work or free up time on the weekends. Others strap on running shoes and take a walk. It’s up to you to decide the best, most productive use of your time. Making exercise part of your Monday routine in whatever way you can fit it in sets the tone for the rest of the week can also be a huge boost to your energy throughout the rest of the week. Exercise releases endorphins, which starts your week off with a positive feeling that’ll carry throughout the week.
The best that can be said for some Mondays is that they’re over and you’re officially launched into a new workweek. But grabbing hold and taking advantage of their position as head of the week puts you in charge and positions you to mark off your accomplishments as you achieve them. With a little planning and a new attitude, Monday might just become your new BFF.