When a new workweek rolls in, are you filled with dread or are you ready and excited to slay it? If you’re like 81% of people surveyed, you experience some level of the Sunday scaries. This is evident when you stroll through the stationary section at any bookstore or do any Etsy search on “Monday.” But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s necessary.
Don’t get me wrong, weekends are glorious, and having time to restore and invest time in personal interests is highly valuable (I bet that’s why Arianna Huffington tucks her phone into bed), but your workweek does not need to start with a case of the Mondays. In fact – Monday can be your favorite day of the week. It’s like the start of a new year: it’s full of promise and opportunity.
The great thing is, creating a great week and transforming the energy you bring to it is as simple as making three minor adjustments.
Have a Plan
Having a plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Especially if you’re not a super Type-A personality, it can be so intimidating when you see someone’s color-coded time blocked calendar and complex prioritized task list. Planning can be as simple as identifying what needs to be done this week and mapping out when you have time to work on in those tasks.
There are two huge advantages to planning.
First, planning gets you into a proactive state. I’ve spent my entire career in client-facing roles, and early on in my career I thought it would be impossible to have an effective plan for my week; so much stuff came up that was urgent and important that would throw it off. It was after I started strategic planning for each week that I discovered I was totally wrong.
Planning allows you to anticipate the ditches that may be coming so you can either mitigate the impact or miss them entirely. If you consistently encounter fires during the course of your day, you can even schedule time – for years I had a dedicated block called “Urgent Task Time.”
The other reason planning is important is it makes you intentional about your life – both at work and after. This is key to being in the driver’s seat as opposed to the passenger’s seat (or if things get really challenging, feeling like you’re locked in the trunk).
Create a bubble
The news cycle today is absolutely relentless. Twitter trending is a dumpster fire 99% of the time (estimated statistic based on my personal experience – I miss the days of the fun hashtags). Your Aunt Suzie posts the most offensive memes on Facebook that fill you with rage. Your Instagram feed is so full of people having the Birkin bag + Gucci loafer life, you have considered swapping true love for a sugar daddy to get it too (okay, you maybe didn’t seriously consider it, but you joked about it).
Here’s the thing, when you’re open to the negative, unattainable or just straight up annoying energy the universe has to offer, it will deliver to you.
What can you do?
Turn off the news alerts on your phone (best thing I ever did). Instead of watching or listening to opinion shows, find a motivational podcast or watch professional growth videos on YouTube (shameless plug for my channel). Unfollow Aunt Suzie, because if you’re being really honest with yourself, you don’t like her anyways and you don’t need her hateful vibes in your life.
Be deliberate in what you choose to consume.
The algorithms at Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, et al have already created a bubble for you, and it probably isn’t the one you will live your best life in.
If you’re going to live in a bubble anyway, you might as well cultivate one that motivates you and brings you joy.
Wake up earlier
If you’re not a morning person, I know you are reading this tip with burning eyes full of hate that I have betrayed you by saying this. Before you click the back button – hear me out because I’m not a morning person either.
Not only does waking up early boost your productivity, it sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Once I had kids, not only did our wake-up time become earlier, but mornings became a rush to get everyone ready and out the door on time; which meant I arrived at the office I was stressed out and anxious. That’s why this year I committed to making myself a morning person. Now I’m up at 5:30am most days.
I do the rituals I know will set me up for success. I enjoy my coffee in silence. There’s time for me to go for a run before the tasks of the day take over. I never feel rushed. And because my mornings are relaxed, the energy I bring to work isn’t chaos, it’s calm and positive.
There’s the added benefits of increased focus, you’ll have more time to do the things you enjoy after work (hello, happy hour or yoga class), and you’ll be more in control of yourself and your day.
Seriously, it’s life-changing.
You don’t have to wake up super early to reap the benefit. Waking up to meditate at 5:00 am is not everyone’s cup of tea, but waking up just 30 minutes earlier can have a dramatic impact. Commit to trying this for one week, and you’ll start to see the benefits. Do it for a month and you’ll never go back.
Once you have these three tips in place you’ll be more productive, increase your positive feelings and help command more control.
These tips help most of the ambitious professionals I know create better weeks, however, if your hostility to the workweek goes deeper – like you’re undervalued or you’ve outgrown your role but are struggling to uplevel you may need additional strategies to be in love with Mondays.