One of the joys of self-employment, and working from home, is that Mondays don’t feel like Mondays to me. It has been ages since I have felt any sort of dread. But my toleration for Mondays is not just about Mondays being OK. There isn’t this stark contrast with weekend indulgence. Indeed, my weekends haven’t been all that relaxing for the last 10 years. Maybe if Sunday featured sleeping in, lazy brunches with friends, and long afternoons of reading paused only to go for a leisurely run wherever and whenever I chose, then I could see how I might not want the weekend to end. As it is, I enjoy parts of the weekend, and then I’m usually perfectly happy to start the work week.
But not everyone has small children, and plenty of people start Monday mornings with rough commutes and various job stresses. That can make it a particularly miserable day of the week, which is too bad, since how you start Monday can set the tone for everything else that follows. Here’s how to make Mondays much, much better.
Don’t lose Sunday to Monday. Before you leave on Friday, make a plan for what needs to happen Monday at work. That way, you won’t be ruminating about it all weekend. Also, plan in something fun for Sunday late afternoon or evening. That way you’ll spend Sunday thinking about your fun to come, rather than what’s waiting for you on Monday.
Don’t jet-lag yourself. One of the reasons it’s hard to get up on Monday is that people sleep in Sunday morning, then they can’t fall asleep on time Sunday evening, and then they’re sleep deprived on Monday. This problem can be solved by keeping wake times and bed times within an hour of the work week average on weekends. Easier said than done, of course, and I am pretty sure if my toddler didn’t wake up bright and early all weekend long I wouldn’t do this either, but there we go.
Build a fun morning routine. I am a big fan of morning routines. They key, though, is to make your morning routine something you legitimately enjoy. After all, every kid is a morning person on Christmas morning! (or whatever gift-receiving holiday you celebrate). They bound out of bed because they’re so excited about the day. It’s probably impossible to recapture that joy daily, but if you’ve got a favorite exercise class, or a run somewhere beautiful with a friend, or a nice hour of quiet time, or even a really good breakfast waiting for you, that can help immensely.
Do a power hour. Carve out at least the first hour of your work day — if not longer — for focused work on long-term, possibly even speculative projects. Email will expand to fill the available space, so put off dealing with it until you’ve scored a major professional win. The momentum will keep you going for a while.
Give yourself a treat. Plan at least one fun adventure into your Monday. It could be lunch at a new place you’ve been wanting to try, or meeting friends for happy hour, or it could be a recurring commitment you really like (choir practice, a volunteer gig, etc.) The anticipation of your fun will pull you along through the day, and next thing you know, it won’t be Monday anymore.
How do you deal with Mondays?
In other news: I got a note from a hotel chain that announced it was offering a one year “leave” from its elite status program. The idea was that if you’ve earned elite status as a frequent customer, and then take time off from business travel (e.g. because you’re on maternity leave) you wouldn’t lose the status. I don’t know if any other chains or airlines do this, but it’s kind of a cool idea.