How to take on Monday Like a Boss

Beating Monday

If you can Nail Down Monday the rest of the week just works!

I want to begin by saying that I have had a primal and superstitious fear of Monday, ever since I was a kid. It appeared like nothing ever went smooth or ever worked out well on Mondays. The shear proof and evidence that Monday was the evil day felt overwhelmingly obvious after spending quite a few of them on this earth. Trust me, I take Monday very seriously now! Why do you think I named my daughter Saturday? Yeah, that’s right, you guessed it!
Most weeks I can hardly enjoy the end of a Sunday in fear of getting ready for Monday. Ridiculous, right? I know people generally don’t like Mondays, but hands-down I could not stand them. Being an entrepreneur and running a digital agency in Atlanta itself, every day is stressful. Mondays, however have a unique signature and dreadful presence to them. For years I could not shake them off. The web design and digital marketing industry is allot like other industries, it’s fast paced, has demanding clients and is stressful.
Now in my 40’s already I have decided enough is enough! I am no-longer going to live in fear of Monday, but instead make it my BITCH! Much like an episode of House first I figured if I break down the symptoms, triggers and factual data. Then I would have an idea and model to attack the true causes with. We could start trying out different treatments and hopefully come up with a cure.
“Ha, the cure for Mondays” It has a sweet ring to it. Now that we are embarking on 2020 conquering Monday has become one of my primary resolutions. I am going to break my findings down and let’s see if any of you can relate. First, let’s try to break down the probable factual causes, then the most likely fictional ones.

Communication is stressed and needs to be addressed

It is the end of the weekend so everyone is somewhat generally out of sync. You can just about always expect communication to be off and even sometimes quite harsh. I believe that clients, co-workers and family members spread the stress to others. This happens by trying to hard to get a hold on the week. This can come in the form of putting additional pressure on people. Typically regarding project progress, deadlines, tasks and duties.
A few personality types can’t help themselves. These individuals are inclined to light fires under people. On Mondays these can build up more than usual and of course add to the stress. Monday morning you can always depend on a tsunami of follow up emails. In our case from clients mostly wanting some soft of update on their web design project or marketing campaign. In the past I have tried to respond to all of them immediately. At least give each contact a heads up on where we are in the process.  

I have found that if I go down my client list and write update emails the evening before, I free up my morning a little. This keeps me from having to touch base with everyone at once. While I watch a little Game of Thrones Sunday evening, I will schedule them to go out 8:00 am Monday morning. When it comes to scheduling appointments and telephone conversations. I will leave it up to them by sending a link to our Calendly event manager. This way they can pick a pre-set available time and we won’t get any overlapping meetings.

Monday Email Optimization
Unless necessary I don’t leave Monday open to meetings anymore because it is now becoming our reboot day. Keeping client communication down to a minimum is healthy for getting off to a good start. Every other day of the week I keep wide open, but now, Monday is a reboot day. After experimenting with this approach for the last 6 months it has proven to be excellent for taking a good chunk of the stress out on Monday.
I got the gist of this idea when I read “The 4 Hour Work Week” written by well known Tim Ferris. He had experimented with quite a few lifestyle changes. Tim went against the grain with different methods. Allot of them devoted to optimizing the process of communication. If you have not read it yet, it is a short yet very insightful read.

Your momentum is wounded

According to a few studies I found, people are about 30% less productive and motivated on Mondays. On top of that not in the best mood or mindset. I did not find it surprising that most suicides happen on Mondays, as a side note. Often I think our loss of momentum is part of the reason we lose our focus and motivation starting out the week.
From my experience momentum can get complicated. When you jump from one task to another, then back again, it typically takes a little warming up before getting into the zone again. All this jumping around is really just a desperate attempt to get a hold on last weeks loose ends that are flailing around. It’s nuts how two days of downtime can poor molasses on the tracks of your progress going into a Monday. Momentum is a mental as well as physical reality of life. Keeping the momentum is not an easy art to master.
Everyone knows what momentum is but I don’t believe many of us truly know how much it affects us in conscious day to day life. Think about it, how often do you pay attention to how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way?
For most people Monday is the sharp ramp launching you back into your routines, duties and responsibilities. It is this ramp that needs to get addressed and flattened out. Keeping momentum is a bit of a daily maintenance ritual. I am not saying work on the weekends, but take an hour or so to digest a few of the things on your plate.
You can use software like Evernote or even just notepad to outline and refresh your memory on projects in progress. Invest a little time organizing assets, notes and ideas related to next week’s objectives. This will really help keep what has to be done next week in perspective.
I do something similar with my physical activity as well. Typically I work out just about every day of the week for about an hour. Even on weekends, even if I am swamped with family activities and errands. I do everything I can take 30 minutes Saturday and Sunday morning to get some exercise in. It helps me think straight, keep my energy up and softens the ramp into Monday.
Momentum is something you have to feel out for yourself though. It’s riding a bike that you never quite get the hang of. If you pay close attention you can detect the state of your momentum.
I assure you if you pay attention to your momentum and keep the coals fanned. The benefits will outweigh the mental and physical practice involved. I know it is tough when you think about the entire landscape of maintaining momentum.
Your relationships, professional life, exercise, organizing, hobbies and health. Momentum is something that get’s better over time. Try to focus on being more aware of it and it will start to improve.

Planning needs to be reworked

Planning is a huge factor to address. As a society we plan our week, yes plus we plan for things months an even years into the future. If you really think about it the week model is how we frame most of our priorities. Monday is like the hike up a mountain in pursuit of getting a good perspective of the week ahead of you. If you could only make it to the summit without the stress.
Planning is allot more than just putting things into your calendar. Planning is acquiring a sense and perspective of time. This is where you are consciously and subconsciously aware of things within a matrix ahead of you. Objectives, priorities and half baked tasks from last week all have to get loaded into memory and framed for the weeks journey ahead. Most people wait until Monday to frame what their priorities and objectives are for the week.
Like I pointed out earlier, I think getting a snapshot and outline of next week, early might be a good idea. This way things are better digested when Monday inevitably arrives.
At Blue Light Labs we decided to turn Monday into a different animal all together. We made this a reality by setting up a series of new rules that would make it easier to swallow. Changing the rules and turning Monday into more of a restful / digestive day made the difference. You can come up with your own ideas, there are no rules here just stretch out and change things up so it works best for you.
  • We never go live with a website or schedule a project launch on Monday unless necessary
  • Sales and Marketing ideas get discussed and scheduled, but we no longer follow up with prospects or pursue business on Monday
  • Staff can choose a project they want to work on rather than be forced into any priorities
  • We play chill music only on Mondays
  • light a stress candle 🙂

Outside of the modified work routines I came up with my own little plan. Monday morning I wake up early, grab some lemon water, hit the gym and get a good hard workout in. Getting this habit started took some major effort, but I can’t even tell you how much this has helped. Exercise really helps silence the monkey mind while getting my week off to its best start. From there I have my well deserved Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew and take my time starting Monday, easing into it.

Mindset must be framed

Monday Mindset

The true condition of Monday is starting to take shape if I have everyone on the same page now. Out of all three of these suspected culprits is a Mindset. Mindset is the perspective engine that needs to get tamed in order to take charge over these root causes. Mindset is the choice to deliberately alter perspective so you can reap the benefits of new choices. It can fuel your motivation and engagement when modifying your approach to Monday and the new week ahead of you. Your mindset is the lens you choose to view and perceive your Monday though.

Current Mindset  
  • Everything that can go wrong will go wrong on Monday
  • The world is a dim and washed out place on Monday
  • Everything is so much loader and annoying
  • People just seem to be ass holes
  • If you flip a coin and want heads it will most likely be tails 
New Mindset 
  • I am prepared and there is no need to be stressed or rush myself
  • People are just moody on Monday so there is no constructive reason to let others influence you negatively
  • Stress is a symptom and should be treated as such rushing into the week with guns blazing it not the answer
  • Monday can be a fun day if I allow it to be
  • I look forward to Monday because I have tailored it to my liking 
I hope anyone reading this experiments with tailoring their Mondays. Optimize your communication, momentum, planning and mindset. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. Go forth into 2020 and kick Mondays Ass!
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