Everything I know about Monday I learned from my Mommy

Buzz Buzz Buzz….It’s Monday morning and the beginning of the work week.  Are you jumping out of bed ready to get the day started or are you reaching over to hit the snooze button? Your reaction likely has to do with how your office environment makes you feel and whether or not you have meaningful work.

Coming back after a weekend away can be rough. Monday sets the tone for the rest of your week, so if you can start it in a successful way, you are more likely to be productive and able to handle shifting priorities and office chaos. Want to stay in control?  Here are 10  healthy tips.

Hint hint, these are probably just the things your Mommy told you about setting yourself up for success in grade school.

1) Make your bed! This is one of the first things you have control over every day.  Advice given at a graduation speech by a Navy Seal at the University of Texas started with this directive and it went viral.  I cannot say much more about this other than the fact that the advice is great.  Here is the direct quote:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

2) Eat a healthy breakfast!  It is yet another thing you have control of in your day.  If you eat an unhealthy breakfast, you will be sluggish and likely less motivated to get work done. I’m a coffee person so mine definitely includes caffeine but it is usually some sort of fruit and protein.  For me, a carb heavy breakfast makes me want to sleep the day away. In general, most people can handle a  high quality carb (like oatmeal, fruit or whole grain cereal) and some sort of protein. So kickstart your day with a healthy breakfast.

3) Drink water! Years of research have found that when people are dehydrated they have  difficulty with focus. Dehydration impairs short-term memory  and the recall of long-term memory. That information alone should be enough to make you grab your non PCB containing water cup and head to the water cooler.

4) Exercise! Get your circulation going and give yourself more energy by adding a little exercise into your day. If time is an issue here are a couple suggestions

  • Wake up early and do it before work
  • Walk around the outside of the building on your lunch break
  • Find an accountability buddy and keep each other motivated

5) Get to work early.  Driving to work on Monday is usually terrible if you work in a big city.  If you get to work early you can beat the traffic. Arriving early also allows you to accomplish many tasks before the rest of the work world arrives.  It allows you the time to organize, set your agenda for the day, review what you have on your calendar and to plan for unexpected priorities that may arise.

6) Smile and be nice (even though you may not want to). Smiling and being nice helps improve other people’s morale.  If you improve the morale around others, you will in turn improve your own.  Believe it or not, morale is contagious.  Think about that.  It only takes one person to turn it around for someone else.  Let that person be you.  Eventually it will come naturally. By smiling and being nice you create a sense of team and help others relax into their stressful days.  Say hello to people in the halls and elevators. Create the sunshine.

7) Make a list.  Make a list of your to dos for the week and then set goals for yourself.  Make sure you have set both daily and weekly goals.  By accomplishing and crossing items off your list you will ensure that you feel productive. Be sure to target some of the big goals for early in the week.  We have a tendency to push off the things that take more time and effort and if we continually push them to the next day or week over and over, they either do not get done or cause us to feel stressed and like our work life balance is out of whack. I like to tackle the big tasks early in the morning, before everyone is working, so that I can dedicate what I call a “Rock Block” to them.

8) Plan for Rock Block and rest periods.  A Rock Block is a predetermined period of time you spend working on a large deliverable.  During that period you promise yourself that there will be no multitasking allowed (e.g. emails, instant messages, chatting etc.). After the period of time is up you can relax for a specified period (read email, step away and get some water, etc.).  I like to plan 60-90 min Rock Blocks with 10 minute relax periods when I am working on a really big task.

9) Understand that you can say no sometimes. I will admit this is my hardest piece of advice for me to follow. There are so many distractions at the beginning of the work week that it is easy to get caught up in what needs to be done or what others need from you to do their jobs. My advice is to say no to people who need your time on Monday mornings unless previously scheduled (a directive from your boss is a different story). Offer a later time in the week to handle whatever the need is from your functional area partners or coworkers.  If you are able to accomplish the goal earlier, then you have made someone happy, rather than promising to do something on Monday and not getting it done.

10) Tomorrow, Tomorrow I love ya Tomorrow. Remember that you may not get everything you set out to do accomplished on Monday. That is ok, because you have a plan set with goals for the whole week.  Take time to reassess at the end of the day Monday and don’t dwell on unfinished goals.  Make your Tuesday list before you leave.

And remember, no matter whether you succeed or fail on Monday, your bed will still be made.

Go forth and lead with Passion.

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