5 ways to combat the Monday morning dread
by Christie Browning
I love the weekends. Time with family, time to catch up with my hubby, time to catch a movie and take it easy. But after a relaxing weekend, I find Sunday nights to be the best time to prepare for the week at hand. It helps to keep the Monday stress at bay when I've taken time to plan and outline my to-dos so I can hit the ground running with efficiency and effectiveness.
I've heard it said that you need to care enough to prepare enough and never were truer words spoken about our weeks. In case you need a bit more motivation to pre-plan your week, here's a few more:
1.) Review and evaluate the week that just passed
Spend a little time each week to look back at what you got done successfully, what wins you have had, what you enjoyed. Take time to celebrate those highlights for the week. Also take brief note of what didn't get done, what didn't go well or where things may have fallen short. Don't dwell on this step. This isn't meant to be a time to beat yourself up. Just take note of anything you might want to tweak or work into the following week.
Also reflect on your goals - weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Update your tracking. What progress did you make? What did you completely forget? Before you dive into the week, make sure your activities reflect your goals and your actions are set to propel you to the goal line.
2.) Get a clear picture on what's important and what's not
No doubt you have a lot of hats to wear and a lot of tasks to juggle. This means each week may be slightly different than the next so taking time to approach the current week is critical. You can outline the real time you have in that current week with the real list of things that are going to demand your time and attention. Personally, my Sunday nights are spent outlining tasks I should be hitting to reach my goals, appointments I need to keep, and errands and to-dos that are specific to that week. If there are more tasks than there are hours in that week, I evaluate them to determine if they are really necessary for that week or can I schedule it for another week. Or... are there tasks I need to delegate to someone else - my family, my assistant, my automated systems, etc.
Just a quick note on organizing the calendar... yes, I do tend to block out times of the day to tackle each thing on my to-do list. But that doesn't mean that I don't take time to do things I love...like spending time with my family or reading a book. I try to leave some down time each week where there are no tasks scheduled but simply open time during the week to just do things that fill me up personally.
3.) Tackle that email with an automated spin
When my inbox is full of emails, I get overwhelmed and my mind just shuts off. I'll either choose to do nothing with those emails, or I spend hours going through them. Email is a time sucker for me... so is Facebook and Instagram when I am trying to sift through notifications and comments. If this is you.. don't give up hope! There are some really great services that clean and sort your inbox. If you have a gmail email account, there are some features built right in to help you with this. There's also a great service called Unroll.me that unsubscribes you from email lists you never read. You can even roll up emails from folks you do want to see, but instead of getting each individual email, Unroll.me will send you a daily recap.
Depending on your method of communication, you may need to take time on Sunday night to clean out Facebook Messenger messages and other social media direct messages.
The goal here is to create a simplified inbox come Monday morning... it makes the morning that much sweeter!
4.) Cleanliness is next to godliness... or success
Nothing makes me want to pull the covers over my head and hit snooze than to know a messy space awaits me on a Monday morning. So, Sunday night I try to swoop through the house and just put away clutter and junk that has piled up. We're not talking a deep cleaning. In as little as 30 minutes, I can straighten up my space, prep my office, get my act together and go to bed ready to face Monday with focus. Here's my quick to-do list as far as cleaning goes on Sunday:
- Make sure the kitchen is clean and the countertops are wiped down.
- Try to get all the laundry done and put away -- nothing is worse than waking up Monday to find you don't have any clean underwear!
- Declutter surfaces that gather the junk - table tops, bar tops, coffee tables, etc.
- Put away shoes that get strewn around the house
- Pick up dog toys that are laying all over the living room
- Clean out lunch boxes, purses, tote bags, etc so that I am ready to load up in the morning.
I don't always get everything done... I'm not superwoman. However, even if I halfway get this list accomplished, it is better than nothing at all. Progress is better than perfection!
5.) Don't depend on your Monday morning brain
Part of my Sunday night is spent creating a morning checklist of things I don't want to forget. I either plug this in tandem with my calendar or jot it on my phone's notepad. The object is to not rely on my Monday morning brain that sometimes is still hanging on to Sunday. I need a system that won't fail me and lists do the trick!
I also take time on Sunday nights to block out time for getting dressed and ready, going to the gym, drive time to the office, etc. This may sound a bit overkill, but when I do this, I find I tend to get more done because the hours in the morning especially are mapped out. If not, I waste my time each morning doing whatever I feel like, which is usually not getting after the day but lounging on the couch scrolling Facebook.
Waking up to a clean, prepped, and productivity-supportive space does wonders for my mood AND my creativity come Monday morning. Sunday evenings have become a great way for me to get my ducks in a row and at the same time invigorate me so that I am actually looking forward to Monday!