Guest writer; Pippa Reynolds shares her advice on how to kick-start your working week.
It’s Monday morning and like most Monday mornings you are feeling a little overwhelmed. The happy memories of your weekend have already been vanquished to some bygone era because you are only thinking one thing: how am I going to get through everything that I have to get through this week?
The only comfort you have had until now is the knowledge that you managed to survive last weeks’ Monday-Friday-9-5 extravaganza. You don’t exactly remember how you made it through but you guess that you must have since Monday morning has rolled around again.and you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks that are before you. But there is hope and it comes in the form a 5-point checklist!
1. Eat Breakfast
You might be rolling your eyes at this piece of advice because it will not be news to you. Eat the most important meal of the day so you can start your Monday morning with a flying start. Having breakfast will (hopefully) delay your first caffeine fix of the day too.
Think of yourself as a brand new car. You wouldn’t fill it with the low quality fuel that you get from supermarket petrol stations if you wanted the highest performance for it over a sustained period of time. Coffee is like supermarket fuel. It might be cheap and it might make you cheerful but it won’t get your Monday morning off to the best. Breakfast will.
Eggs and other types of protein are always a favourite but then you might quite fancy becoming part of the new sweet potato toast trend. The important thing is that you eat.
2. Avoid answering emails, memos and messages first thing
Your inbox may be full but don’t go there - yet. Smartphones and tablets have made it really easy for us to check our emails first thing in the morning and for many such devices mean that we end up scrolling through our inbox before we get out of bed.
We all lead very different lives so there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to the best time of the day to start tackling your inbox. If you have to commute you could browse your inbox for anything that needs be tackled ‘as soon as possible’. You must bear in mind that ‘as soon as possible’ does not mean that you need to drop everything and attend to it the instant you receive it. You need to define on your own terms what is ‘possible’ whilst striking a balance between the appropriate sense of urgency. In order to do the best job that you can, make yourself a list before you proceed with the rest of the day…
3. Once the dust has settled, write a to do list
To-do lists are essential to productive Monday mornings. You may have already mentally reviewed all that you need to do today – perhaps at 3am this morning – but now you need to write it all down on paper. Once you have written everything down, tick your 3 highest priority tasks. These are the sort of tasks that you must get done today or else you’ll house will fall down.
Then, put a dot beside 2-4 medium priority tasks that you could get done provided that everything else goes smoothly. Everything else can get parked for another day. If you’ve written your list using an App like Remember the Milk you can easily save the list and use it as tomorrow’s starting point. Other apps have a setting in which completed tasks are blown to smithereens. The satisfying feeling that you get from striking something off your list it what gives you the adrenaline that you need for a productive Monday morning.
4. Set a 30-minute timer
Setting yourself a 30-minute timer is all about pacing yourself. You need your energy to last and the best way to go about it is to review how far you’ve come every 30 minutes. This will give a sense of satisfaction because you have something tangible to show for it and the timer method will also help you to weed out the things that are either a waste of your precious time or sucking the life out of you. Don’t feel bad about switching tasks momentarily so long as you return to it later in the day when you have a fresh perspective.
Working against the clock also acts as a powerful motivator because by asking yourself every 30 minutes ‘What have I achieved since the last timer went off?’ you enter into competition with yourself and so your productivity increases exponentially.
5. Reward yourself any way you like
You might think that this is a waste of time but it really isn’t. If you work hard it is only right that you should play hard. If you don’t reward yourself at the end you’ll not have the stamina to give the rest of your week your best shot and you also owe it to yourself for having such a strong start to the week.
The only time that it is acceptable for you not to take time to wind down and recharge is when you really have spent the day doing next to nothing. You need to be honest with yourself – you’re output is largely down to you!
All of these tried and tested tips come from someone who has experienced uphill battles on a Monday morning too many times not do something about it. But, alas, you now have your very own 5-point checklist that will help you to start those dreaded Monday mornings with the right kind of bang!
Article: by Pippa Reynolds