10 Ways to Combat Smondays
“That moment that Sunday stops feeling like Sunday and the anxiety of Monday kicks in.”
This is the definition of Smonday. It is felt by those of us that do not love our jobs and dread going to work Monday morning. Or maybe you do love your job and you have over-committed or over-extended yourself. Alternatively, maybe our to do lists just look crazy overwhelming. Whatever anxiety it is that is keeping you from feeling excited to wake up for the week ahead, here are some tried and true tips and tricks to kick-start your week.
(1) Brain dump all the things in your head
The art of brain dumping is a productivity tool that can be used any time you have a lot on your mind, cannot seem to focus, or are feeling overwhelmed. Getting your thoughts out on paper is extremely empowering and allows you to critically analyze how much work really needs to get done, and do so in an organized and systematic way. It is really quite simple, grab a pen and paper and write down everything that is on your mind about the week ahead. Organize, categorize, and prioritize accordingly. When it is written down on paper (or electronically) you no longer have to extend excess energy thinking about or remembering all the things you need to get done. Your subconscious mind knows you’ve taken the time to write it all down and now can trust this process and let go until Monday morning.
(2) Visualize your perfect Monday
The power of the human mind, which other species lack, is our ability to create experiences in our mind before they happen. This, it turns out, is extremely powerful. The spiritual teacher Esther Hicks said:
“17 seconds of focused, pleasurable visualization is stronger than 2000 hours of working to obtain a goal.”
Thus, take your 17 seconds. You deserve them. Let Monday be a visualized perfection in the distance as you live out the present.
(3) Distract yourself with engaging Sunday activities
What do all the motivated and positive people do on Sunday? They are busy. They are busy with sports, activities, hiking, water skiing, camping, volunteering, or doing family stuff. If you are busy doing the things you like with the people you love it is much easier to remain in the moment. Plan something fun for Sunday afternoons to keep that Smonday feeling from creeping in early.
(4) Say “NO” to some things or re-contract accordingly
If your week is truly overwhelming and you are not sure how you are going to get it all done and it is ruining your weekend… DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. You can sit there getting yourself in a tizzy, or you can set your priorities for the week and let everyone else know they are going to have to wait. Call your client and let them know their project is delayed by two days, or call your boss to strategize ways to get it done given your limitations. Perhaps he or she can offer an extra pair of hands from another team. You won’t know unless you ask, right!? So, what can you do to re-contract your week to make it more manageable?
(5) Block time in your calendar to gear up for the week
How much time do you need to gather your thoughts and have your coffee in the morning? Perhaps you have a week full of back to back meetings but you need some down time to get the actual work done. Whatever it is that you need, block it off. Do not let people book over your required “head space” time.
(6) Start Monday with your favorite activity or at least your favorite people
What is your favorite activity at work? Perhaps it is just having coffee with your colleagues. Do some of the fun stuff first to get you motivated and amped up for the rest of the week. Again, the trick to motivation is momentum, get that momentum flowing!
(7) Create a Monday motivation playlist
What songs motivate you to get things done? Let your colleagues know that Monday morning is your iTunes time and that they should let you jam out and get your e-mail list taken care of before bothering you, if it can be helped.
“Studies conducted as far back as the early 70’s found that music can have a positive impact on workers. One such study, conducted in 1972, discovered that factory employees did their best work when they were allowed to listen to happy or upbeat music.” – Forbes
Let that playlist guide you as you check off the first few things on your list. The music combined with the positive reward of striking down your to do list should be enough to get the momentum going for the rest of the week. Make that playlist.
(8) Practice “letting go” or “unplugging”
Choose to let it go. If it is still Sunday, know that ruminating about it is not going to serve you. Unplug your phone, and let it rest for a few more hours. Be present, instead. It is not as easy as it sounds, which is where meditation comes in to support you in practicing presence.
(9) Set clear boundaries with others
Let others know that you are “unplugging” or that you do not have capacity as soon as you know it to be true. Setting clear boundaries with colleagues, clients, and managers is key to your mental well-being when it comes to a case of the Smondays. If your boss expects that you respond to e-mails on a Sunday, this may be an item you can negotiate. Otherwise, set clear boundaries around when you will or will not be looking at work, and set clear expectations of when you will respond instead.
(10) Just breathe
If that sense of overwhelm is taking over, simply take a step back and notice your breathing. There are plenty of breathing exercises to choose from that all are well-known for reducing anxiety. While it sounds a bit pretentious, inviting yourself to take a deep breath can truly change your outlook. Science says so, after all.
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