Improving the Monday Mentality

The typical young professional routinely wakes up shocked that Monday has arrived. “How is it Monday already?” we asked ourselves with a groan, and mechanically hit the snooze button. Surprise, Monday will come, as it does every week, as crazy as that sounds. If something falls out of place on Mondays, it inevitably affects the rest of the week for the YP, whose busy schedule means back-to-back scheduling of both work, personal and social engagements. There are a few tricks of the trade, however, to ensure that Mondays flow as easily and error-free to set the stage for a productive and stress-free remainder of the week.

First of all, a productive Monday starts on Friday. It shouldn’t be as difficult as we sometimes make it to pick up where you left off on Friday. As much as you may want to run out of the office on Friday, it will save more headaches in the long run to take care of all loose ends before you leave for the weekend. Write priorities for the week on Friday and set them on your desk so you are not worrying or wondering what needs to get done over the weekend. You’ll thank yourself on Monday, trust us.

The Day Before
Sundays are sacred for us YPs and an important determinant as to how our Mondays will play out. Self-proclaimed workaholics, if we do have work to do over the weekend, we try as hard as we can to get all work done before Sunday morning so that we can take the day to truly unwind, refresh and spend time with the people we care about. Thankfully, most Canadian cities seem to shut down on Sunday nights anyway, but try not to go out if you can help it. Make a habit of buying a new product, piece of clothing or accessory on Sunday and try it on Monday.

Plan accordingly. Make sure you always start the week with a clean kitchen, clean bedroom and clean, ironed clothing. Plan your outfits for the rest of the week. All of this will save last-minute scrambling. Try to climb into clean, fresh sheets on Sunday nights. Although during the week most busy YPs can and do survive on five hours of sleep per night, try to have at least eight hours on Sunday nights. Sleep deprivation can noticeably reduce productivity and shorten your attention span.

Before Work
Take note of the first thought in your mind each morning, Mondays in particular. As “life coach-y” as it sounds, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Ever had one of those days where everything is going wrong and continues to go wrong throughout the day? It most likely continued to go wrong because you had the mindset that it would. Start your Mondays with optimistic thoughts about the fruits of the week ahead. Whether you’re working at home or in an office, it helps to create a routine that clearly signifies a change from the weekend mentality, even something as simple as making your bed. Wake up a little earlier on Mondays and hit the gym first thing to get it over with. Most YPs stay at the office on Mondays later than any other day, and after a day like that almost anything seems to be more important than a killer workout.

At the same time, nothing will transport you to a Monday mindset more than a dose of adrenaline and energy from your workout. Counter-balance that Sunday “cheat day” with a healthy, protein-rich breakfast to prevent your blood pressure from falling low by mid-morning. Eggs really don’t take as long to make as you think. Before you leave, have your iPod charged to listen to favourites on the way to work.

Work Day
Many creatively-driven companies, no exception, start each week with a causal team “pow wow” to discuss relevant current events and the goals and objectives of the week ahead. We find this helps to stay on track and feed off the needed energy of our coworkers. Try not to schedule important client meetings first thing in the morning; not only will everyone be less crabby after noon, but you have the morning to prioritize your goals for the day and week. If you do start out Mondays with a client meeting, just make sure you don’t overschedule. The last thing you need is to burn yourself out before the week has really started by flying around frazzled to back-to-back meetings.

On Mondays in particular, make a list and prioritize what needs to get done and the amount of time it will take. Know your strongest time in the day and centre your work around it. Don’t get distracted by the barrage of Monday emails in your inbox or doing the easy stuff that you are good at over the most important. Eliminate all other workplace distractions. Although the YP is more likely to eat lunch at his or her desk on Mondays, still make sure it is still somewhat healthy and don’t forget to take a break, even if for a quick stroll around the halls.

After Work
Give yourself something to look forward to on Monday nights. This should not be a night on the town – it’s too early in the week for that. For the YP female, we know many groups of friends throughout the city who gather on Mondays for sushi, wine, chatter and, of course, the mindless laughter and entertainment provided by The Bachelor. Our perpetual party boy bachelor friends make sure that they join a hockey league on Mondays, not only because they can’t commit to any other night in case a hot date or party comes up, but also because it makes for a productive and social way to start it off. 

Plan the rest of the week with balance and things to look forward to like lunch with a friend or a date mid to late-week. Mondays should stop being associated with a “back to reality” mindset for today’s YP. If we didn’t have such a black and white weekend and weekday mentality, Mondays wouldn’t come as such a shock to the system and would probably have a much better rep!

The Vitals
Start Monday on Friday
Have a quiet Sunday
Start fresh, everything from clothing to sheets
Aim for eight hours of sleep
Think optimistically
Hit the gym before work
Create an iPod playlist
Start the week with a team “pow wow”
Don’t overschedule the first day of the week
Prioritize tasks and set your daily schedule
Take breaks
Plan something to look forward to on Monday nights
Balance your week