Waking up at the beginning of the week doesn’t have to be a nightmare if you have some tactics and tools in your arsenal.
Establishing a routine not only lessens the Monday blues but also sets the tone for a positive and productive week. Here are a few tips for a stress-free Monday at work.
1. Don’t check emails first
Postpone looking at your email first thing on Monday morning. Any emergency lingering in your inbox can wait until you outline priorities for the week.
Take 5 minutes to plan your day and then your week. A great guideline is to pick 1-3 absolute must-dos for each day. Fill in and shift your priorities around this outline throughout the week.
The outline builds a foundation in your brain to focus. A modest number of 1-3 tasks will not overwhelm you.
Plus, you will have a better understanding of what additional responsibilities are realistic to add to your week.
Opening email is like Pandora’s Box; it can derail you from the big picture and most important responsibilities.
2. Take some time for you
Before you launch into scheduling meetings, answering emails, and responding to the demands of others, take a few moments for yourself.
As little as 15 minutes on a Monday morning devoted to self-development or self-care can create tremendous calm and momentum for your week.
The activity you pursue isn’t as important as the mindset to take care of yourself. Some options could be:
- Read or watch inspirational content
Beware of feelings that might come up for you when you first start to set aside time for yourself. It might feel wasteful or unnecessary in the beginning, but pay attention to how you Monday goes after sticking to this habit for a month.
You will find that those 15 minutes are well spent.
3. Schedule Time for “Deep Work”
Similar to avoiding email, it’s important to set aside time on Monday morning to have undistracted “deep work” time.
You don’t have to do the deep work right away, but take a moment to look at your calendar and block off the time. Identify work that is most important and plan to do it during this time.
If you have a calendar that is shared with a team or an administrative assistant, block off the time in your space. Request that no meetings, phone calls, or other distractions happen during this time.
Not only does this improve your productivity, but it also eases you into Monday morning. Knowing that you will have time to tackle that big, important project during your scheduled “deep work” time frees up mental space to focus on other tasks.
The biggest struggle of Mondays is mental overwhelm, so anything you can do to lighten the load is beneficial.
4. Eliminate Unnecessary Tasks
Is your to-do list a mile long? We have all been there. A great way to start Monday is to review your list and identify what you can eliminate.
Can you delegate some of the items to others? Distributing tasks across a team can lighten everyone’s load.
Maybe there is something you hate doing or are not good at. Can you outsource that task to a third party? You can quickly make up for the expense through your own improved productivity.
Are some of the activities not critical to your goals? Scratch them out and keep focused on what is essential.
Look at the items that continue to sit at the bottom of your list each week, weighing you down.
Do they absolutely have to happen? Probably not. Accept this and move on towards your true goals.
5. Organize Your Workspace
A messy or malfunctioning work-space can be a huge roadblock to your productivity.
A great Monday starts with prep work on Friday. Before you leave your desk on Friday, clean up your work-space. It will feel so much better to walk into a clutter-free space on Monday morning.
A slow computer can tremendously hinder even the most productive people. As you use your PC, software, cookies, and other add-ons can attach themselves to your computer. These add-ons slow down the performance and speed of your computer.
To prevent this, make it a habit to use MSConfig to remove unnecessary programs and items.
Here is how to access this:
- Click Start Menu
- Search for “msconfig” in the search bar
- Select “Diagnostic startup” from the “General Tab” as a startup option
- Reboot the PC and let the diagnostics run
- Review the list and remove unnecessary items
A great way to weed out what is useful and what is unnecessary is by selecting “Hide All Microsoft Services” and then reviewing the remaining list.
Common items to remove include:
- Application Layer Gateway
- Parental Controls (if no children use the machine)
- Secondary Logon
- Microsoft Error Reporting Services
A Friday cleanup of your work-space and computer will offer you a fresh start every Monday!
Even though Monday gets a bad rep, it doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming.
A little preparation and some strategic planning can improve how you start your day and set the tone for a successful week.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.