Mastering Mondays… It ain’t for the faint of heart.
I’ve found, however, that it is easier to begin how I want to continue rather than crabbing through Monday and then getting to a peaceful place on Tuesday and then stumbling forward into the rest of my week. Let me explain.
It is no accident that most of us have created a habit of grumpy, annoyed and overwhelmed attitudes on Mondays. This is how I lived my life for forever, it seems, until I became a single mom and started working full time from home nearly 18 months ago. Then I discovered I had no one to blame except myself. Soon it was clear to me that I was just making myself more and more and more miserable and unproductive every Monday.
My misery would begin sometime on Sunday when I’d suddenly remember, “Oh no! Tomorrow is MONDAY!” Then I’d let out a GROAN and try to forget all about it. Sound familiar?
I can’t remember exactly when I decided to try a different approach, but the results were shocking.
Instead of grumpy and scrambly kiddos, I had happy, blowing-me-kisses kids tumbling out of the car to school
Instead of a half-dozen half-finished to-do’s lists piling up on my desk at the end of the day, I had three or four key tasks crossed off my neat, manageable list
Instead of PBJ sandwiches between extra pots of coffee, for me anyway, we had a good lunch and a decent dinner—yes, even on MONDAY!
Interested in my method? Let’s get to it right now.
Get Out on the Right Side of the Bed
The only way I’ve found to insure that my Mondays start well are to plan my week on Sunday night.
Sometimes this takes the form of an hour in my office with my weekly schedule, sticky notes and pens. Other times it’s a quiet moment before I fall asleep because my next week was planned on Friday when I re-wrote my to-do list. Or something in between. Whatever the case, I no longer try to ignore the fact that Monday morning is coming. Instead, I choose to look forward to the return to our routine.
Then, when I first wake up in the morning I take a deep breath, say a prayer and dive in with an extra cup of coffee. I always say something to the kids like, “Remember, it’s Monday morning so we might feel a little grumpy so let’s be extra kind to each other this morning!” And it works every time! We give each other a little more grace to wake up and get moving. Before you know it the kids are off to school on time and I’m in the office!
Keep My To-Do List Short for Mondays
Keep it Simple Silly is especially necessary on Mondays. I plan on unexpected messages, phone calls, emails and panicked “what about…” questions! I plan to feel a little scattered and like I’m juggling five extra balls (in addition to the usual five I juggle every day). By keeping my expectations in check I’m much less likely to feel overwhelmed.
Keeping my to-do list short also prepares me to go with the flow. To add ten new things to my goals for the week that weren’t on the list last Friday. And to pay attention to the undercurrents, the thread that runs through all the different pushes and pulls I feel as a writer, coach and business manager on Mondays.
Take a Lot of Breaks
Since I started working full time from home nearly 18 months ago, I’ve had to learn how to balance the distractions of my home to-do list, kids to-do list and work-task to-do lists. Previously I kept all these spinning around my head like some contortionist. (Yes! I said Contortionist, not Juggler! It takes constant backing-over-backwards, high-jumps and twists-and-turns to keep these life areas spinning!) Once I became a single mom and realized there was no one else to lean on and very few to ask for help, I realized that a system was going to be necessary.
So I routinized (made a habit) of walking away from my office every couple hours.
I pick up the living room, grab a cup of tea and come back in here to dig in for another few hours. Or I’ll wash the dishes, throw the dish towels down the stairs and then come back in with a fresh glass of ice water. Maybe I’ll just go lie on the porch and stare at the sky for ten minutes or, when it’s Summer, I go pull weeds in the garden for a half hour.
Rather than the distraction and worry and misery that Mondays used to bring, I’m now finding Mondays to be one of the most invigorating and thrilling days of my entire week. In fact, I started the hashtag #MasteringMondays because I wanted to begin to share my joy. (Yes, really!)
Now I want to hear from you. How do you feel about Mondays? Do you have a real “Monday” as an entrepreneur or do your weeks just run together? What have you found to work for you? How do you #MasterYourMondays? And what #MasteringMondays tips do you have for me? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!