Good morning everyone.
I wish I could say I totally love Mondays. I don’t. At least no more than anyone else.
However, other than not being able to sleep in an additional 30 minutes, most of reasons why we loathe Mondays lie within our control. The key to a good start on Monday, actually happens on Sunday (or Friday). It is about a choice to plan out your week…..you drive your week or your week will drive you. And while there are always unexpected things that drop in how much more effective can we be at managing those if we had the rest of our priorities laid out before we even hit the office.
One of my favorite authors on productivity, Laura Vanderkam, describes the need for planning in her book “What the Most Successful People Do before Breakfast” (Via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Successful-People-Before-Breakfast/dp/1591846692/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442801711&sr=8-1&keywords=what+the+most+successful+people+do+before+breakfast):
“The reason to do this (planning the week ahead)on Sunday is if you wake up Monday morning without a plan, you can easily lose the day as you figure it out. You burn up willpower deciding, rather than driving in before your focus is lost.”
So here are four quick ideas I am looking to do to plan my week better:
- Scour the Calendar – Especially if you lead teams, you owe it to your team members to keep important meetings with deliverables ahead of yourself and them. For this I would suggest, not looking just at the next week, but potentially at the next week plus another three. In looking at the immediate week, plug in a few important calls or meetings to move your own projects ahead.
- Lay Out your Clothes – You probably think I am crazy, but back to the comment from Ms. Vanderkam about willpower. There are several studies now showing that our willpower in a day is finite. The more you use on trivial tasks the less you have for later. There is a reason Mark Zuckerberg wears effectively the same t-shirts over and over again; he understands this idea of reserving your willpower for important decisions. Does this mean you need to convert your work wardrobe to hoodies. No. But having your clothes planned for the week (especially after reviewing your calendar) will save you time and willpower.
- Make Time for Learning – This is the most neglected aspect of most people’s planning. They focus on their attention on what “to do” but not about intentionally getting better. One of the key tenets of this blog is that we can learn from many different sources, but if we are not focused about scheduling it into our week, learning is the first thing to fall through the cracks.
- Family/Friends Time – With two young kids, each with their own after school activities, I have had to (and need to still get better) at planning to be at their events. Or some days even just to be home right after school to help them tackle homework. In my team, we always say “Family comes first”, and I know I can do a whole lot better about planning for this.
As I sit here writing this week’s blog, I am taking a little of my own medicine. Scanning my calendar, finishing laundry, setting a few lunch appointments, and noting some nights I can be home early enough to dig into some homework with my kiddos.
Mondays don’t have to be the ultimate source of dread. A little bit of planning on Sunday night will go a long way in getting your week off on the right foot.
Do you plan out your week(s) ahead? Do you do it on Sundays or Fridays? Do you have a method that really works for you?
Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:
5 Enjoyable Weekend Habits That Set You Up for Success – by Sujan Patel – via Entrepreneur
- SO WHAT: One of the articles that was the inspiration for this week’s blog. Planning your week for a little on Sunday night is key.
- Tags: Productivity
7 Steps to Stress-Free Sunday Nights – by Jonathon Alpert – via Inc.
- SO WHAT: The other article the helped me think about this week’s blog. As noted, if you don’t want to commit your Sunday night to planning, carve out time on Friday afternoon.
- Tags: Productivity
The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery? – by Shane Parrish – via the Farnam Street Blog
- SO WHAT: What are you facing in your work? Puzzles or Mysteries?
- Tags: Problem Solving
Knowledge Transfer: You Can’t Learn Surgery By Watching – by Michael Blanding – via Harvard Business School Working Knowledge
- SO WHAT: One of the best things I read all week. Too often we struggle to find the right means to develop new employees. The article presents and interesting idea on how to personalize and engage new team members in a way of co-creating.
- Tags: Development, Growth, Training
Reduce Your Stress in Two Minutes a Day – by Greg McKeown – via Harvard Business review
- SO WHAT: A great illustration of ways to combat stress in your day to day life.
- Tags: Work-life, Stress
All the best, kevin