I’ve read that the part of the week people dread most is Sunday evenings. That twilight zone between weekend and working week.
From my own experience too, there were times when I dreaded the week ahead. They call it the ‘Sunday night blues’ and a recent poll said 76% of people of the working population suffered from it. The statistics are depressing. Let’s see what we can do to change them and let’s start with ourselves.
Mornings are the best time of day for me, every morning but especially Monday mornings. It’s as though you get a chance to start over, putting to one side the things that could have gone smoother, worked out better; you get a chance to re-commit to the day ahead and how you want it to play out. It hasn’t always been like this for me but once I started to plan for success in this area, I can honestly say I haven’t looked back.
How to make the switch away from Monday blues
Changing the way you think about the week ahead and then taking pro-active steps to lessen the worry you feel is the best way forward.
Here are 3 things I did (and continue to do) to ensure I worry less and hit the ground running on Monday morning :
- Prepare on Friday afternoon
- Ringfence weekend time for fun and rest
- Have a Sunday schedule that reconnects and realigns you
That might be all the information you need to create your own plan of action. But if you want to have a little more detail, read on.
Prepare on Friday afternoon
One effective way to dampen the overwhelm we might feel on Monday morning is to know exactly what will be happening and being prepared for it.
Take a look in your diary and see what you have scheduled for Friday afternoon. See if you can arrange to create some space, all you are looking for is 1 hour. Then going forward in your diary, for every Friday afternoon, create this ‘planning’ time so no one else can book in time with you.
Next take a look at what you have planned for the coming week, starting with Monday morning and assess what (further) preparation you need to do and do it. Work progressively through your projected week and either do the prep you need/ assign it to someone in your team if appropriate or schedule some time the following week to do it.
Occasionally this might mean taking some work home but this should be an occasional not a regular thing.
Ringfence weekend time for fun and rest
We all know how much more productive we are when we’ve had a break. Just being chained to our desk, our PC, hour after hour does nothing for productivity apart from driving it down.
When we have a ‘proper’ break from what we do during our working week, we come back refreshed, energized and more creative. What a perfect way to go into Monday.
The ideal situation might not be possible immediately if you have work that is urgent and you’ve planned to do it this coming week-end. Let’s see what’s possible:
From when you finish work on Friday and all day Saturday, schedule in time for rest and fun.
What does fun mean for you? You might want to paint the town red, well this is your time, you might want to have early nights or a mid-day snooze, go paint-balling or have friends over for dinner. Plan things in and do them.
Have a Sunday schedule that reconnects and realigns you.
So having let off steam and had fun and some rest, the chances are, when you think back to Friday, it will feel a long way off. Well, the week-end isn’t over yet, even if you have some work that you need to do before Monday. Sunday is divided into a few parts with gaps in between (for those chores we feel we need to do like housework etc.) to make it more manageable.
Sunday morning is for doing something you love doing.
It might be going for a swim, reading the paper over coffee. Give yourself an hour or two if possible. Have a non-work related project that you spend some time on each Sunday, again no more than two hours.
Ideally, this should be something very different to what you do at work. Assuming your work is office-based your non-work project should be something more physically demanding; there might be local projects that you can support.
There is research to back up the advice we are given to turn off electronics, social media TV etc. up to an hour and a half before we try to sleep. If this is news to you, you really should try it.
Decide and plan your Sunday morning time (anything up to 2 hours).
What will your non-work project be ? Again anything up to 2 hours.
Now schedule in the other things you need to do before Monday, you could do some work for a couple of hours if you need.
If you normally curl up to watch TV on Sunday night, grab a book instead.
Try this for a couple of weeks and see how you get on. Make tweaks that work for you but remember life was never meant to be just about work.
If this piece has got you thinking differently about how you spend your precious week-ends, I’d love to hear in the comments below. What might you think of doing differently?