Monday. That dreaded word.
I have a love/hate relationship with Mondays. With three little kids, my weekends don't really have anything to do with extra sleep and relaxation. Our weekends are always packed with kid parties and late nights and family outings, so by the time Monday rolls around, I'm ready for some routine in my life. The kids go back to school (hallelujah), and I make my return to my home office that has been avoided all weekend.
But of course, the alarm goes off WAY too early on Monday morning, my inbox is overflowing with emails, and the to-do list is LONG. Sometimes it takes me a while to get back into the zone. It took me a long time to finally nail down a Monday routine that I could stick to. I had to find out every little step I needed to make my Mondays productive. I've found that if I'm not productive on Monday, my whole week becomes a drag.
Since I'm convinced that I'm not the only one around here that feels the #MondayStruggle, I thought I would share my sure-fire way to own my Monday. While my tips might not necessarily work for every single person, I'm hoping to inspire you to create a rhythm that works for you. Find what it takes to get you in the zone, then just do it!
So without further ado,
Ten Ways to OWN your Monday :
First and most importantly: coffee. There's just no getting around this one. I keep my coffee simple in the mornings. Drip coffee with a splash of almond milk. And a straw. Always.
After I grab my coffee and kiss the littles as they rush off to school, I shuffle up to my office and get started on my day.
I have found that switching my brain into work mode is so much easier if there are certain things that I always do when I'm working. Whether that means having a designated work space, having a special mug to drink your coffee in, or having specific things in the room that tell your mind to hustle, it really works wonders.
Here's my secret weapon: I always light a candle when I start my workday. It's the same candle every day, and I don't use it for any other purpose besides work. Somehow, when I light my Magnolia Market Candle in the morning, my mind instantly transitions to work mode. Plus, candles are so calming and warm that they help ease the stress that might have built up on the weekend.
I get some music going, (currently loving Sleeping at Last for my calm morning jams), close the door, clear off my desk of any mess that has accumulated, and I'm ready to go.
I simply cannot get a workday done without a to-do list. It's my first step every single day. I jot down all the things swirling around in my mind: people I need to contact, decisions that need to be made, things I need to remember. I'm not an hour-by-hour planner. I don't plan out every second of my day because that's just not practical for me. My to-do lists don't come together in any particular order; it's just a brain dump.
A friend of mine gifted me this personalized stationary from The Hipster Housewife and I LOVE it! Definitely my to-do list of choice!
Ever heard of "swallowing the frog"? It's an old saying that has somehow stuck with me. I think of it every morning when I'm staring at my to-do list. Basically, if the hardest thing you have to do all day is swallow a frog, don't stare at it all day waiting for it to somehow become more palatable. Swallow it first thing, and the hardest part of your day will be over.
#sorrynotsorry for the gross metaphor. It works.
We all have parts of our work that we dread. Wading through a full inbox, responding to crabby people, having the hard conversation, making a difficult decision, the list goes on. My philosophy on the hard things is to get them done early. Rip the Band-Aid. If I don't tackle these things first thing in the morning, they will hover over me all day and kill my productivity. So I circle the hardest things on my list and get them out of my mind as early as possible. It feels so good to get rid of the big things first, so that the last part of the day can be spent on the things you love.
Usually by the end of the weekend, my house is a mess. The kids have wreaked havoc in every single area of the house and it drives me wild. But if I had to have my house in a perfect state before I ever started a workday, I would get ZERO things done. So I go in my office and shut the door. The house can wait.
Another thing I won't waste time on in the mornings: getting ready. I have heard of people that feel the need to get totally "done" every morning to get themselves out of sleep mode, but that's just not me. My uniform is yoga pants and a messy bun. It's not perfect but it gets the job done and saves me time!
Here's what I want to shout to every momma out there (whether you work from home or not). You don't have to do it all! When we decided to take the jump and get a nanny, my productivity went through the roof. I was spending so much time every day in the car and preparing meals and potty training toddlers that uninterrupted work time just didn't exist. We always say childcare is the best thing we spend our money on. It's the best thing I ever did to make by business succeed.
Even if it's not childcare, find out the areas you need help in and take the jump! Find a house cleaner, get help with laundry, get some part-time help in your business. As much as I wish it wasn't true, I just can't do it all. None of us can. So cross the things off your list that take the most time and figure out a way to get some help! It's so worth it.
Someone told me once that for every thing you say "yes" to, you're saying "no" to something else.
A "yes" to a nighttime work event = a "no" to a night with my family.
A "yes" to meeting a friend for lunch = a "no" to a chunk of my work day
Some things are SO worth saying yes to. My kids will only be little once. I would be a zombie without time with my friends every week. But do I say yes to every single thing that is asked of me? Nope. I could never get anything done.
So do I volunteer in their classrooms every now and then? Absolutely.
Am I signing up for every single field trip? Nope.
Learning to say no is hard. It's so easy to feel like we can't miss out on anything. But decide what's most important to you and where your priorities are, and make decisions based off of those things, not the fear of missing out!
(especially if you're a chronic breakfast skipper like me!)
Take a mid-day break. Write it on your to-do list if you know you'll forget! This is so helpful when you're struggling to stay productive in the morning. Help yourself by planning for a time to pause for lunch. It's hard to stay motivated for too many hours at a time, so break it up and disconnect halfway through. Then you'll be ready to finish out your day strong!
This requires no explanation!
It's hard to disconnect from work, especially when you work from home and your inbox is never empty. But it's so important that I end my day and invest time my kids and husband. Work can wait until the next morning!
So Happy Monday, everyone! Wishing you a productive and coffee-filled day! I want to hear from you! Let me know what your productivity secrets are! :)