An Eight-Step Guide To Crushing Your Mondays
You know those people who show up at the office smiling on Monday morning? The ones who you kind of hate but kind of want to be?
Well, becoming a Monday person is possible.
Even more: The path to an improved first day of the week doesn’t require spending Sunday with a vacuum or a tupperware container in-hand. It just calls for some strategic prep work and exercise (for both mind and body).
Follow the below guide put together with the help of top productivity experts and soon, Sunday nights will feel relaxing, Monday mornings like go-time.
Seriously: Don’t Spend Sunday Prepping For Monday
Prepping a week’s worth of meals for hours on hours on Sunday does not a better Monday make. “Then you just spread your getting ready over [both] Sunday and Monday,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It, 168 Hours, and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.
If you know you need Ristretto espresso for your pickiest client, who you just so happen to have a meeting with first thing Monday morning, then you better hunt for it. Otherwise, your Monday mornings should be streamlined to the point that they won’t require much prep the night before, she notes.
Use Sunday night, instead, for something low-key but fun. Says Vanderkam: “That way you spend Sunday afternoon looking forward to your evening adventure, rather than dreading Monday morning.”
RELATED: Food For The Week: Meal-Prep Basics
Instead, Prep A Priority List… On Friday Afternoon
The only thing you want to do Friday at 4 p.m. is stare at the clock until you can leave the office. But Nicole Bandes, a productivity consultant, says there’s a better way to spend this hour: Set up your Monday morning so that you can hit the ground running when the work week hits. (Read: and sidestep Sunday scaries.)
Make yourself a three-category priority list for the next week: career, relationships, self, Vanderkam suggests. Put two to three items in each category figure out where each can fit into the week ahead, she suggests. Also, add in any ‘have-to-do’s.’ “The upside of doing this Friday is that then you don’t need to spend your weekend thinking about what you need to do on Monday.”
Need to set up a meeting? “The person is probably still at her desk, whereas if you send an email Sunday night to set a meeting, she might not get it.”
Roll Out of Bed and Meditate
The first thing you should do when you wake up: Nothing at all, says Peter Bregman, the CEO of Bregman Partners, who consults businesses and CEOs on productivity.
“Meditating for 20 minutes, sitting still, and following your breath reminds yourself that you’re a body—that even in the winds of change, and the rush of people’s communications and needs, there is center that you can find in yourself that doesn’t require anything except sitting, breathing, and not allowing your brain to take over.”
Take that, unopened emails.
RELATED: A Step-By-Step Guide To Meditation
Exercise Before Work
Vanderkam is a big believer in routines. One that she swears by: “If it’s possible in your life to exercise first thing Monday morning, that can be a great way to boost your energy and start the week on a high note.”
If you can, work out outside. There’s a great body of evidence that suggests that exposure to natural light in the morning and throughout the day can contribute to productivity throughout the day (then better sleep at night).
RELATED: The Perfect Morning Workout
Put Your To-Do List in Perspective
On top of your daily to-do lists, Bregman argues that everyone should have a yearly to-do list. Maybe you want to finally finish that novel, spend more time with family, or bring in two new clients.
When you open your daily to-do list on Monday morning, take a breath and consider how today’s tasks fit in with your yearly to-do list. Then ask yourself, what is the most important thing for me to achieve today? “Be strategic and intentional about what you’re going to do and not do,” he says.
Move the must-do’s to your calendar, which can serve as a working document. Only have one hour because the rest of the day is meetings? Make sure you’re picking the most important to-do.
Do the Most Important Stuff First
“Once you get to work, try to spend the first hour or two focused on your most important work,” says Vanderkam. “If you conquer one of your most important professional priorities before lunch on Monday, how can you help but have a great week?”
Some research also suggests that this time of the day is the best time for cognitive tasks. Read: Push random email answering and meme-searching to later.
Set an Hourly Alarm
Every hour, Bregman’s watch beeps. It’s a reminder for him to check in with himself and ask, am I doing what i need to be doing? Am I being who I want to be? Those might seem like mushy big-picture questions but they’ll help ground and re-focus you on what matters, he says.
Can’t handle a beep every hour? Check in a few times a day. It’s the act of checking in that counts.
Recap Your Day
When Monday rolls to a close—and we promise, it will roll to a close—spend five minutes writing down or thinking about what you learned, suggests Bregamn. What do you want to do different tomorrow? Who in your network do you need to talk to?
Maybe even close the day out with a thank-you email. Saying thank you helps preserve relationships; and as he says: “You’ll be more productive if you have solid relationships.” (If you can pick up the phone and call someone, your life becomes a helluva lot easier, right?)