One Monday morning not so long ago, I left for work in damp pants, in a car that was perilously low on gas, ten minutes after I was supposed to be already out the door. I gazed longingly at the Starbucks as I drove by, but the drive-thru line was so long that I knew I would have both run out of gas and been late for work had I got in line.
I arrived to work barely on time in my cold clammy pants and turned on my computer to find a slew of emails that I would have to face without the crutch of caffeine.
It really did set the tone for the day.
Perhaps you have had Mondays like mine. If so, know that with as little as 10% more organizational effort, you can make your Monday morning, and the afternoon that follows, a less wretched experience. Here are my best tips for making Monday suck less, and I’ve even broken it down by the exact percentage of extra effort required.
And yes, these are very scientific percentages brought to you by the school of Corrie’s Stories.
Get Something Done on Friday Afternoon – 3% More Effort
We’ve all been there: You get back from lunch on Friday to hunker down for another four hours of work, but your brain has already checked out and gone home for a beer.
It can be tough to focus when you’re that close to the workweek’s finish line, especially if your Friday afternoons tend to be a bit slower at the office. But have some discipline and get at least one or two significant things done. I’m not talking about starting that giant project that got plopped on your desk at 3:45. I mean that easy, but mind-numbingly boring weekly report. It may not even take that long to do, but if that crappy report is still waiting for you on Monday morning, you’re going to be overly dramatic about it and spend at least twenty minutes just moaning about it. (And then you’re just making your colleagues’ Monday suck too!)
Get Your Act Together on Sunday – 4% More Effort
In my experience, Sunday night can lead to a bit of lethargy and denial that Monday is coming. That morning I left for work in damp pants was because I left my laundry until the last minute, and threw everything in the dryer right before I went to bed. Then I learned that Sunday night lethargy can affect even your appliances because the next morning my clothes weren’t all too dry.
The lesson being, you need to make a weekend chore schedule for yourself and stick to it. Sort your clothes, breakfast, lunch, and whatever else you need in advance to make the ride through Monday as smooth as possible. It’s really not that hard, it’s mostly just making a point of getting off the couch before 9pm on Sunday night to do it.
By the way, Getting your Sunday night act together also includes going to bed at a decent time instead of stubbornly binge-watching Netflix until 2am.
Get Out the Door Ten Minutes Earlier on Monday Morning – 2% More Effort
Get out the door even just ten minutes earlier and you will be rewarded with fewer gray hairs. How do you accomplish this? Get up earlier. (Because you went to bed at a decent time, remember?) Make doing your hair a timed event. You get three tries at that cute braid you saw on Pinterest before you need to abandon the idea and settle for a ponytail. Shave off additional time by making breakfast a labor free endeavor with something simple like fruit and yogurt. Any of these little adjustments that can get you out the door a little earlier will result in a less stressful commute.
If you get out on the road and traffic is flowing, then great! You can either get a head start on your emails or wait in the car outside your office and doodle around on your iPhone for ten minutes.
Or, if it’s like 90% of all Mondays, you’ll encounter some kind of traffic jam or delay on the road, but you won’t have to stress about getting to the office on time. Not to mention you’re keeping the roads safer by not driving like a James Bond stunt double reject.
Focus on Something You Can Look Forward To – 1% More Effort
This can be something really simple, like treating yourself to fancy coffee or making plans to get lunch with a friend. Make a conscious effort Sunday evening to think about what you have to look forward to the next day. It makes it that much easier to crawl your way out from the cocoon of your bed when the alarm goes off. I picked up this little exercise in mindfulness from yoga class, and although it sounds a bit basic, you’ll be surprised how much it helps!
Bonus Tip: Take Monday Off – 0% Effort
Obviously, we can’t do this one all that often, but I’m a firm believer that in conjunction with taking shorter vacations, at least a couple of those vacation days should be used to bypass Monday. A lot of people are in the habit of taking Fridays off, but if you think about it, Friday is the most decent workday there is. You should take a day off that’s crappier, like Monday. And look at that, Monday is attached to a weekend, just like Friday!
Mondays will probably never be your favorite day of the week, but these little modifications can help take the edge off. So even if you can’t take next Monday off, at the very least you can take comfort in the fact that you’ll arrive to work on time and in dry pants.