Sitting at my desk on a Monday morning, before students are back on campus for the fall, I cannot help but wonder how I’ll feel four Mondays from now. Tired? Stressed? Excited? Determined? We’ve had it before and we will certainly have it again: A case of the Mondays.
I always start my day with a cup of coffee and the news. Usually, I read The Skimm because it’s conveniently delivered to my inbox and it only takes me about 8 minutes to read. Then, I get cracking on my inbox and any urgent “to-dos”. After what feels like an entire day, I realize that it’s only 9:36 am and curse Monday once more. Today, I’m putting my foot down. I’m going to change the way I “do” Mondays. Here’s how:
I can better set myself up for success on a Friday afternoon. Obviously, that comes with its own set of challenges as the weekend begs for my attention but, I can do it. I’m going to be more intentional about creating a list of priorities for Monday before I ever leave my desk on Friday. Who needs to be emailed? What needs to be checked off? Is there anything I can do before leaving on Friday that would save me some headache on Monday? If so, done. Do it. I will thank myself in three days.
I love sticky notes for a variety of reasons but at work, they can serve a purpose beyond sloppy to-do lists and phone numbers with no names. I’m going to write three sticky notes each Monday morning. They will only have one word each and these words will be three goals for the week. For example, this week one of my goals is to finalize my organization and note taking strategy before students return to campus next week. That way, I will feel ultra-prepared for the chaos that is about to ensue (ideally!). That sticky note simply reads “ORGANIZED” and it is proudly displayed right above my computer so that I am reminded of that goal often. Organized, energized, problem-solver.
It is easy for me to “hibernate” in my office on a Monday, just waiting for Tuesday to arrive and bring with it a sense of routine and familiarity. I find, though, that when I cease to hide and start my week by asking my colleagues about their weekends, families, and lives, that I feel more rejuvenated and enthusiastic about the day ahead of me. Subsequently, I’ve made it a goal to connect with the colleagues that I see less frequently during the week on Mondays! Friends see friends on Mondays.
Not surprisingly, Mondays are great days to plan for the rest of the week. Similar to planning for Monday on Friday, plan for Tuesday through Friday on Monday! Even if this seems like a lot of planning, it will save you time in the long run — the better organized you are at the start of your week, the better your week will be. Organize tasks based on priority level and timeline (and create your own useful categories). Set the tone on Monday.
I find that journaling is not only a wonderful outlet for stress relief but also a great way to measure progress and set additional goals, both personally and professionally. If I don’t crack open the proverbial journal (it’s really online) on Monday, chances are I won’t open it the rest of the week, either. For me, it’s essential that I write about things that are going well, things that could use some improvement, and the myriad of things that I’m thankful for. Some other ideas include things you’ve learned, people you’ve met and appreciated, and new ideas to further investigate. “Dear Diary, Monday was better this week…”
I’ve heard it said that “you learn something new every day” and, additional to the above musings, I’m making it a priority to learn something new each Monday in a more intentional way. Today, I’m making a list of TED talks that I haven’t quite gotten around to listening to and scheduling one for each Monday over the next couple of months! Have one to add to the list? — I’d love recommendations (and company!). No more commiserating about Mondays; let’s make them meaningful.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Gamification in Higher Ed & Student Affairs with Stacy Jacob & Dave Eng