(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Monday, Monday, Monday. For some people, even the thought of returning to work after a weekend away induces anxiety, panic, and the unavoidable thought of “what was I even doing last week?” To help you get over your impending case of the Mondays, we asked local leaders from our “5 Questions” series how they alleviate that stress with a simple question: “How do you make Mondays not suck?”
Here’s how they responded:
“Oh my god. Sunday night to Monday morning is the worst, I just don’t even want to be on this Earth at that exact period of time. My goal during the weekend is to work one day. The nice thing about weekend work, and don’t get me wrong I love this job, and the work I don’t love are the things that sort of fester during the week when everybody’s at work and I’m just getting pinged by all these people. So I love weekend work, it’s really low stress, I can focus. I can do things that benefit the company and that help me learn as a technologist and help the company, but the one thing I do on Fridays is write down my list of stressors going into the weekend and things that I think are going to make me stressed next week and make sure that I can get rid of most of them or have a plan for getting rid of them come Monday. That’s the only thing I can possibly do and if I can’t I just face the impending doom of Monday morning. That’s the best I can do lately.”
“Sleep well on Sunday night. Take a break on Sunday, like really take a break on Sunday. Don’t do work, spend some time with your family, maybe do work around the house, go to the gym, pick up a hobby, do anything that gets you out of it, so that you at least got that one day, where you’re doing something totally different. And when you do that you can come in Monday morning and be pretty fresh and engaged. And then if you can, go back to Friday and do a little prep work before they day closes and say, ‘This is what I’m going to do Monday.’ That can widen the gap and then maybe you can get to really enjoy your Saturday, also.
“I just don’t talk to people on Mondays on Fridays. You can’t schedule time with me on Monday and Friday because, for me, I need to prepare. Monday is the hustle and bustle and a lot of admin. But more importantly, I’d rather focus on me and myself and what I need to get done, rather than with others. I go through a whole routine to get me ready to do the work. In the morning I do some meditation, some prayer exercises, and honestly getting in the groove. From 9 a.m. -7 p.m., all I’m doing is working, but I’m working with me. No one talking to me, no one scheduling my time, no meetings. That way I can focus all of my energy and my creative time to make sure that we are on point, to better direct my attention and my team’s attention and literally just focus on the projects that we’re doing. That’s my secret for how I get over the Mondays — don’t talk to me.”
“I think the important thing is that I don’t think about Monday before Monday. A lot of people think about Monday and it preoccupies their mind and actually can negatively impact the Monday. You’ve got to go into Monday with a clear head. I really spend Monday as a day to think more strategically. We normally prepare on Monday. You set the agenda for the week, what needs to be done and identify what’s going to move the needle. This is for me, this isn’t for everybody. Because I’m coming down from New Jersey on Monday, I’m on the phone getting myself up to speed, I’m revving up as I leave in the morning, get on phone calls, and I’m thinking while I’m driving about priorities for the week and what do — what I want to accomplish. Some of those I will fail and some of those I will succeed. So by the time I’m here, I’ve had three hours of gearing myself up and getting ready for it. I have three hours to prepare myself and either rev myself or prepare myself for, ‘Wow this is going to be hard what are we gonna do here?’ It’s really a unique situation for me, because I work in Baltimore and I live with my family in New Jersey. When I’m in it, I want to be in it and most people are not that unfortunate or fortunate to bifurcate like that. Where people bring their work home, I hear all the time that people are up until 9 or 10 at night after they put the kids to bed and are working on stuff. I’m fortunate but it also means I’m away from my family.”
“Monday is my me day. We’ve just recently started doing office hours on Monday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., but for the past five years Monday has been like my Sunday [part] 2. I would never schedule meetings on Monday. I would allow myself to sleep in a little bit, no status calls on Monday mornings. Because I do get the Sunday Scaries and for my partner and I we do have a hard jolt on Thursdays when things are winding down at work, it’s kids all weekend. We go from work to, “What are we eating for dinner?” And we have to go through that with the kids and then the kids are gone Monday morning and it’s right back into work. I’ve learned to respect the transition I need between things. So Monday has been like much more of a sit down, go through Quickbooks, go through my email, kind of plot out my list and have like a “no pants day.” I don’t understand the arbitrary hard line between weekend and workday. I don’t like it, so I don’t do it. Mondays are nice and easy.”
“My day with the most scheduled meetings is Monday. It’s basically “Meetings Monday.” We don’t always do this, but we try to have our leadership meetings on Monday mornings, I have my check-in with my boss on Monday afternoons. I basically pack the Monday schedule with meetings and what I think is great about that is I don’t come in on Monday and have to reorient myself to what do I do? I feel like some of the challenge of Mondays is coming in straggly and having to rebuild up all this context in your mind to try and feel like you’re effective. And you spend that whole day building context and then at the end of that day, just as you feel like, ‘Oh yeah I remember how to work again,’ you’re done. So you’re exhausted because you’re coming in from the weekend, but then you have this day that doesn’t feel productive because you spend all that time getting to the part where you can be productive and then it ends on you. I just skip that. My context building is I spend a lot of my time having all of the conversations I need to have about what the week needs to look like, what happened last week, what does the week need to look like. And so it’s just an intentional, don’t even try and do desk work day. You’re just building context all day and getting back in that groove, so Tuesday you can come in with a clear schedule and get to work.”
Have a question that you want a crowd-sourced answer to? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.-30-
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