Make the best of your Mondays

standing_on_benchModern life is a mix of weekdays and weekends. We work on weekdays and have fun, run errands, rest over weekends.

Monday is the first day of the week. I call it getting in the groove day. It helps set the tone of the week. A Monday well used means you will be able the get the best out of your week.

Sharing some ideas below on how to get the best out of your Monday and set the tone for the week.

Arrive early

This is the key. To arrive early you need to start early. By doing this you avoid rush hour traffic, decrease commute time and reach relaxed. When you arrive early you have enough time to plan for the week ahead and execute tasks and responsibilities for the day. It sets the tone for week ahead.

Take time to get settled

Normally people tend to settle in by checking emails first, writing back responses. It gives them sense of doing something. People also get into small talk and check about the events over weekend. Do you start your day with checking on Facebook or Twitter updates? Avoid this as well.

A good alternative to settle is to start by centering. For this, sit with a straight back, relaxed shoulders and take a deep breath. Focus on your breath with semi-closed or completely closed eyes; do it for 5-10 minutes and you will be good to start and be at ease with day and tasks ahead.

Planning time

Limit it to 30 minutes. Plan your work in line with 4×4. Plan anything that is not priority during later half of the day. ┬áPut 2-3 tasks on paper that you want to accomplish during the day; a very long to-do list is not ideal.

Look busy

When you look busy your coworkers will be less likely to interrupt. Meet and greet is important but not important than your work; finish it first and then move to relationship building. Be commonsensical about it. Responding to a hello with a smile does not count as interruption but being nice to people.

Work first, interruptions later

You just got back from a small weekend break. Not finding the will to get into the real work. You start with email and then drown in it. Have you ever experienced that?

Most people check on email to write to contacts waiting for a response. For this you need to gradually train your email contacts about the fact that you send e mail replies at 4-5pm your local time on weekdays. Then they will not expect a response Monday morning.

Same applies for Facebook and Twitter. Hold till late afternoon.

If you really want to accomplish something, leave email, phone calls, social networks and in-office meetings for later part of the day. Avoid scheduling any client meeting on a Monday. If you set the rules in the workplace it should be easy. Otherwise there may be some instances where you will have to sit to some of these meetings.

How I do it?

I take it easy on a Monday or the first day after a holiday. Just explore what I had been working on the past week. Monday is relaxed but focused. Tuesday is for thinking and important action items. Meetings are on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is spent recording thoughts, tying any loose ends and planning for next week.

If I have to schedule a meeting on a non-meeting day (Monday, Tuesday or Friday); I keep it in second half of the day.

What if you arrive late?

Do not get worked up. Do the same thing what you would have done after coming early. Settle in by deep breathing, plan ahead for 10-15 minutes and get in to the core tasks without doing email, phone etc. You can also do the planning part while traveling to work. Even if you get in late, make a point to leave in time so that your next day is not spoiled.

Try finishing what you plan on Monday by Friday so that your weekends are not spent working on or thinking about unfinished work. Avoid this feeling by getting ahead on work. Use Mondays and Tuesdays to finish such important projects and keep them ready before deadlines.

Here is to a productive Monday and a great week ahead.

What would you like to add to it?

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