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The Moan-day Blues: 9 Ways to Reprogram the Way You Think About Monday

The Moan-day Blues: 9 Ways to Reprogram the Way You Think About Monday

Monday. Moan-day!

The very word sends an array of negative emotions scurrying through the hearts and minds of people across the land. Last Friday is a mere memory, the weekend has come and gone, and it’s about to get real again.

It’s going down.

You have raised your sword to do battle once more with the start of the work week. You know that in order to press forward to Friday, you have to break free from the chains of Monday.

Oh Monday, why do we dislike you so?

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In 2012, a study was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology that concluded people hate Monday just about as much as they hate Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. They seem to like Friday okay, but the rest of the work week is pretty much on the same level as Monday.

Who knew? 

Monday has become universally known and accepted as the most depressing day because of the significant mood swing experienced between Sunday and the first work day of the week.

Let’s reflect a bit, shall we?

There are about 52 Mondays in a year, or about 1,248 hours. Let’s say you work for 40 years. That means you have about 49,920 hours that belong to Monday. That’s roughly 5.6 years.

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Over five years of our working life is devoted to, yes, Monday.

Five years of your life is far too much time spent disliking a day for something that it represents! So, Monday haters unite. Let’s throw down the gauntlet. We are going to change the way Monday is viewed. It will no longer strike fear in our hearts. It will no longer ruin another Sunday because we are worried about the oncoming Monday. In our best Scarlett O’Hara southern accent, we shall say, “As God is my Witness, we will kick Monday’s butt.”

As far as you’re concerned, it’s just going to be another day you have to get through in order to visit the beloved Friday.

1. Prepare for Monday on Friday.

If you have Monday morning work anxiety, be sure to take care of as many dreadful details that you can on Friday afternoon. Clear your desk, review your calendar for the next week, and handle any small projects that are due Monday morning.

When you walk into your office on Monday, walk into a clean office with no small tasks hanging over your head. Your only goal at that moment is to grab that cuppa joe and get busy meeting Monday head on!

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2. Have a hard stop at 4 on Sunday and shut down.

By the time 4 p.m. on Sunday rolls around, make sure everything is complete. Have the house cleaned, your work done, and make it a point to stop checking emails. Just enjoy it. It’s time to relax. If you work late into the evening on Sunday, you’ll never be rested on Monday.

3. Start the day with something that gives you energy.

Get your heart pumping first thing Monday morning. Go for a run, a hearty walk, or hit the gym. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain and they trigger a positive feeling in the body. It gives you an energizing outlook for the week.

4. Start the day with something that lifts your spirit.

Meditation is an effective solution to the Monday blues. Recent studies on meditation link the benefits of meditation to health, happiness, and creativity. Meditation can also have an affirmative effect on positive emotions, which reduces overall stress.

5. Make it a point to do something different every Monday.

Break the pattern of monotony. Get a notepad and start numbering from 1–52. Now, write down 52 different things you can do on a Monday. Then, start working through the list. Make sure each item is doable, but make sure each item is diverse enough to make you excited.

That’s a surefire way to step outside of any comfort zone!

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6. Have date night–with yourself.

After all, you are a pretty hot little number. Whether single or in a relationship, we all need time to ourselves. Take yourself to a movie, dinner, drinks, or check into a hotel. It’s a great way to enjoy your own company and block out the rest of the world.

7. Wear a new outfit on Monday.

What feels better when you get ready for work than knowing you are going to put on some snazzy new outfit? You’ll walk into the office like a Parisian model celebrating Fashion Week.

8. Take the back road to work. 

Get up early so you can take the back way to work. The back road represents back to basics and back to nature. In the broadest sense, “back to basics” means taking the time to refocus on the more essential aspects of your life that may have been neglected during demanding times.

In smooth times, we seem too busy to focus on rudimentary details. But, when times are tough, we should evaluate those things that made us successful and begin implementing those strategies again.

9. Peel back the layers on the onion.

This may be the most vital item of all. A shift in attitude means you have to understand the root cause of discontent for Monday. What’s the real issue here? Be specific. Don’t say that you hate your job. Narrow it down so you understand why specifically you hate your job. Is it your boss? The work? The commute? The culture? Your co-workers?

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The question then becomes, what are you going to do about it? If you say nothing, you are sentencing yourself to only partial life satisfaction.

So, what’s your plan to change your situation?  It won’t happen overnight, but if you don’t start developing a plan now, you’re going to waste far too much time overcoming anxiety. It’s just not worth it.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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