I really, really hate it when someone goes “Huhhhh tomorrow is Monday again.” Besides the fact that I have a “No Complaining” rule, I find Mondays completely arbitrary, and therefore, unworthy of emotion. Mondays (and Fridays) are defined by someone else, so it’s completely messed up that it can dictate our moods. That said, I have empathy for the many of you out there who are still looking forward to Friday and dreading Monday, so I’ve created a guide to help you take Monday by storm.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
What you’re going to do on Monday, you’ve already planned the last Friday. Think of this as putting something in the bank for next week. In any given week, you’ll most likely be pre-planning the next week’s meetings, assignments and activities. Planning on Friday, for the next week, is giving yourself something to look forward to executing, and execute you must.
Personally, I like to schedule my meetings and set deadlines for myself for the next week, and I do it on Wednesday. This allows me to see how much breathing room I have, and whether I can push myself a little more or if I need to make time to think through my next moves. It helps because you need spots in the week where you just reset yourself and think, which brings me to the next point.
2. Build A Larger Picture For Yourself
Being able to be excited for your week ahead is about building a picture where you SEE the context of your work. A lot of times, what we’re doing can be distilled down to its base features, but that isn’t necessarily the best way to approach it. A LOT of Job Descriptions will give you the scope of work, but not the context within which you do that work, especially if you’re in an entry level or even a middle-management job.
So, while the Marketing Executive’s role is to “work on the execution of planned campaigns in the calendar year”, that sounds kind of boring. In fact, it does kind of suck. However, if your role is to “execute on planned campaigns in a bid to build positive perception of the company and positive ROI” then suddenly, you’re executing against a larger picture. If you work in a bank, Are you helping people secure their money or grow their wealth? Ask yourself the larger questions regarding the reason for the existence of your role, and you’ll see the larger context of things.
Unfortunately, HR is probably not going to do that for you, so you’re going to have to ask yourself this: What am I driving in the larger picture? Then describe it to yourself so you can aspire towards crushing that every single day.
3. Build The “Impossible Goal” For Yourself
In order to wake ready to take the week, build an impossible goal for yourself. I’m not talking about superceding those KPIs that someone else set for you. In fact, I think KPIs are hit or miss because a lot of managers set the wrong ones for their subordinates, based on flawed objectives that don’t hit home with the people who are achieving them. Instead, I’m talking about the industry-changing type of goals.
How will you do that? Well, take yourself outside the KPI wheelhouse for a minute, and ask yourself what the industry you’re working in needs most. I’ve met designers who told me that design in Singapore is under appreciated because designers cannot connect with their paying clients on a business-sense level. They then made it their “Impossible Goal” to build and then express design so that one day, every single business decision maker in the nation would appreciate the value of design. Lofty ambition? Yes. But does it make you pumped to get into the office every day? Absolutely
For me, it was “I will change the approach towards Marketing in Singaporean Malls”. The industry was ripe for someone to do something completely unexpected, and I was going to be the one to do it relentlessly until people started taking notes and following our lead. I would only be happy when others started copying me. Lofty ambition? Yes. But repeating it to myself when I start my say gets me pumped to get going every Monday morning.
4. Spread Recreation through the Week!
I almost always hear people talk about how tired they are on Mondays, and I understand that it’s because they end up going through Friday and Saturday non-stop. Getting blasted in a club, going out ceaselessly, and basically having fun. That’s great, but it comes at the real cost of exhaustion. Sunday’s extra sleep just isn’t going to cut it.
An alternative I’ve been suggesting to people has been to spread their recreation across multiple days instead of simply having fun on the weekends. There shouldn’t be any reason why you can’t do that movie after office hours, or go get a few drinks on humpday. Have gym or yoga evenings? Set up a quick meal after your workout, or have your buddies join you for that class you absolutely must go to.
This minor adjustment will ensure that you have time to just pause for longer, more restful moments on the weekend. Time to read, have a very slow meal and talk with family. Time to have long, languid naps. That restfulness will get you ready for action on Monday, and give you a head start on everyone else when 9am comes round.
5. Treat Yo’ Self!
Everyone has a way to treat themselves. For me, it’s a secret solo lunch/dinner at a nice restaurant on my own. A steak, or perhaps a solid serving of sushi, some alcohol and I’m happy. I do it once a quarter, sometimes even less, but that’s because I don’t hate Mondays.
But because you do, I recommend building a special event for yourself. It doesn’t have to be an expensive meal, but it must be something you look forward to after the work day ends. Whether it’s a weekly mini-shopping trip or a spa session, schedule a Treat Yo’ Self day in the middle of the week and look forward to that after crushing the work that’s been thrown at you from Monday to Wednesday!
When things get difficult for you on Mondays or when you’re feeling that impending dread on Sundays, I hope you remember to fall back on your larger vision and look forward to the great things that you’re building for yourself every single day of the week. Remember to keep seeking your greatness!