How to make the most of Monday mornings

Do you dread Monday mornings?

Many people do. In fact, I recently learned there is  a term for the moment this dread sets in. It is: SMONDAY, which is defined as the moment when Sunday stops feeling like Sunday and the anxiety over Monday morning’s arrival kicks in.

I used to really dread Monday mornings. Now? Not so much. To be sure, I often wish the weekend would continue, simply because these days provide more time for doing fun things with family.

What has changed?

It is simple: I just pretend it is Tuesday, or any other day of the week, for that matter. Well, that isn’t actually true. In reality, I just spend a little time on Sunday evening getting ready for the week ahead. I have learned that the dread of Monday morning can be dealt with by doing a little preparation on Sunday evening.

I have also developed a basic strategy for making the most of Monday mornings.  A few of these are listed below.

How to start your Monday off right:

  1. Know what matters most. Realizing that there will be many things clamoring for our attention the moment we walk into the office, requires that we all take a few moments to sort through the day’s events, appointments, duties, and deadlines. Sometimes just listing these, gives us the clarity we need to set a course for a positive and productive day. It can also give us the sense of urgency we need to keep from getting bogged down with things which distract us from doing what matters most.
  2. Make sure you aren’t the bottleneck in someone else’s day. If we want people to respect our time, we need to respect theirs, right? Is someone waiting on you to submit a report? Are there things you need to get done in order to make your team run efficiently? If we keep people waiting, whether they are people we supervise or those to whom we report, it not only contributes to their stress, but to ours as well. If you can spend 30 minutes getting these things done right away—maybe even before the day officially gets started—you will reduce your stress and the stress of others on your team.
  3. Make sure your teammates know your priorities. Communication is of the utmost importance here. Sometimes you need to let your calls go to voicemail. You may not be able to answer texts and emails immediately. There will be times when you need to close your office door, letting people know that you are focused on a priority project and are asking not to be disturbed unless they have an emergency. Note: If you follow the advice of item #2, it is much easier to get cooperation with item #3.
  4. Don’t waste time. This means we must choose our tasks wisely, plan our projects carefully, and make the most of the time we have to work each day. Each of us has a limited amount of time to complete our work each day. The work that some of us do often requires more than a eight-hour-day. Let’s face it, though. We can’t burn the candle at both ends for very long without something or someone suffering. It might be our relationships, or our families, or our health, or our mental well-being, or all of these. Sadly, many of the overtime hours that people put in on the job are due to the fact that they made bad choices and wasted too much time throughout the day(s). So, what are we to do? Here is a quick suggestion for better time management: Segment your day in 30 minute blocks of time. Work hard for 25 minutes; and, then take a quick break for 5 minutes. Make it your ambition to become a time-management-ninja. Plan your day with this in mind. If you are working a number of small tasks, see if you can increase the number of these you get done within each segment. If you are working on major projects, try to limit the number of blocks you allot to each project. Whatever you do, keep track of how you are using the minutes within each block, so that you learn where your strengths lie and where you need to improve.
  5. Plan for interruptions. I am amazed at how well some of the people I work with handle this. When asked if they have time to discuss a question or issue that arises, they are quick to reply as follows, “Yes. I do have a few minutes to discuss this; but, we must get to the point quickly. I have thus-and-such to get done in the next few minutes.” Another very effective strategy for dealing with interruptions is to let people know that unless it is an emergency their calls and emails will be returned at the top and the bottom of the hour. This allows us to stay on task for as long as possible in order to optimize our effectiveness. One other thing: If you supervise others, it is helpful to devise a system of text messages for communicating the level of urgency for your need to speak with one another by phone. You might try this: If you need to speak at some point during the day, then text: 1-1-1. If it is important; but, not urgent, then text: 2-2-2. If it is imperative that you speak to one another as quickly as possible, then text: 3-3-3.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. Hopefully, this will be helpful to those of us who are struggling with the Monday morning blues. What helps you make the most of your Monday mornings?

© Bill Williams

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