Well, the weekend is over. It’s Monday — back to work for those of us who work Monday to Friday. For way too many people, it is the start of a five-day countdown to the next weekend. They’ll drag themselves through this week in search of Friday. While some people will loathe each day of the week, perhaps the most despised day of the week is Monday.
Poor Monday. Monday gets a bad rap. I was on a call this morning and one of the participants sighed heavily and said, “I’ve got a case of the Mondays.” What does that mean? Is that like Swine Flu? I feel like I need one of those masks every time I’m around people who think like that. Whatever they have, I don’t want to catch it.
Unlike most people, I love Monday. It represents a new start. I have the opportunity to set the tone for the entire week by what happens on Monday. It makes me wonder if other people set the tone for their entire week because of their disdain for Monday.
While I’m a big believer we should eliminate those things that cause angst in our lives when it’s possible, I’m pretty sure Mondays aren’t going away. God willing, Monday is going to come. I’m guessing it will arrive at least once a week. So the question must be what we do to make Mondays a little better.
To find the answer, I went back in my mind to a time when I wasn’t a fan of Monday. I thought back to those days when I dreaded Monday and considered what may have happened to change my thinking. I started doing some things differently in my life, and it changed the way I view Monday. I encourage you to do the same …
Change your view of Friday
When I thought about why I didn’t look forward to Monday, I realized that Monday was bad because of how I viewed Friday. For many people around me at the time (including me), Friday was a lazy day. It was “casual Friday” in more ways than just attire. We wouldn’t want to get too involved in a project because it was Friday, and we couldn’t have any “heavy lifting” on a Friday. It was the start of the weekend, so we’d take a longer lunch and cut out early to get the weekend started.
When we got in on Monday, not only were we facing the challenges of Monday, we were facing all the things we didn’t get done on Friday. Hence, we hated Monday. If we were honest at the time, we were making Monday harder than it needed to be. Could your disdain for Monday have anything to do with how you view your Friday?
Don’t change your sleep routine
Earlier this month I wrote a blog about the need to shake up the daily routine in the New Year in order to avoid boredom. Change your route to work, start your work day at a different time, change your daily schedule, rearrange your office, etc. In fact, you can even change the time you wake up and start the day. These routines keep us on track throughout the week.
While much of our routine changes on the weekend, the one aspect from our weekly routine that should not change on the weekend is our sleep routine. We see the weekend as an opportunity to sleep in. When we change our sleep routine from the week, our body struggles to adjust on Monday morning. Why? According to research from Brown University’s Sleep for Science Research Laboratory, we have thrown off our body’s master clock — or circadian clock — when we choose to sleep later on the weekend. By the time our body has adjusted back to our weekly sleep routine, we find ourselves in another weekend of sleeping late because it can take up to three days for our circadian clock to get back on track.
While we may enjoy the laziness of the weekend, the price is paid on Monday morning. In essence, it’s not the day we hate, it’s the choices we made over the weekend that make Monday so dreadful. (And if that’s not enough, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh, changes in sleep patterns on days off can lead to health problems. Their research shows that changes in sleep patterns throughout the week can increase people’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more.) Bottom line — as much as we enjoy catching up on sleep on the weekends, changing your sleep routine is not a good idea.
Re-train your brain
We have more power over our lives than we think. Like most things in life, the way we view Monday is a matter of choice. Most people choose to despise Mondays. They convince themselves that Monday is a bad day. They experience the stress of a heavy workload and say, “I’ve got a case of the Mondays.” At any point, we can choose to find the reasons why Monday is a great day. It’s as simple as changing our mind.
Over time I’ve learned that when I expect something to be bad, it usually is. My brain starts looking for the bad stuff so I can feel validated. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. Many people awaken on Monday morning and assume it’s going to be “just another Monday." They show up to life looking for something negative to happen, and it usually does. We have an obligation to ourselves to re-train our brain related to how we see Monday.
I’d like to say I’ve mastered these things but I haven’t. There are times I put off starting a project on a lazy Friday. There are times I’m exhausted on the weekend and find myself sleeping in on a Saturday morning. However, I know the impact of those choices the moment I do them. I realize I’ve impacted my upcoming Monday the moment I allow myself to postpone work that should get done on Friday. I realize I’ve impacted my Monday the moment I choose to sleep in on Saturday morning. As is the case with most things in life, it starts with awareness. It’s not about perfection. It’s about moving in the right direction and knowing the consequences of your choices.
So, do an honest assessment of these three points and ask yourself if you are doing some things to make your Monday worse than it needs to be (and are those things having an impact on your personal engagement). Then, make a commitment to adjust at least one to enhance the way you think about Monday!
© 2018 Clint Swindall — Clint is the president & CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. For information about how he can enhance employee engagement in your organization, please visit www.verbalocity.com, or contact him directly firstname.lastname@example.org.