Mondays happen on a regular basis. For most people, Monday is the day we get back after a couple of days off.
Problem is, other people have also had time off, and some of them will have remembered something over the weekend they want you to do. And their first opportunity to ask you is…
Here a few tips to help you set up your week for success.
- Expect and plan for the unexpected.
You WILL get interrupted. So leave some time for those interruptions. I can remember an instance where we had a potential client walk in off the street with his accounts under his arm. We had capacity for someone to see him, so my boss at the time took the meeting, and we ended up with a client who is still with the firm, over 25 years later!
If you can get in early, use that time to clear one important task before the interruptions begin. If you don’t know what’s important, take that time to allocate your tasks into a prioritised order. I use the four quadrant time management chart. If you would like a copy, get in touch.
Use the Friday afternoon or early Monday start to update and re-prioritise your to do list. There is a mental/ emotional response built in as well, which should help you to “switch off” over the weekend, as you’ll leave feeling that everything is under control.
- Keep focused
It sounds counter to the above, but you can build in time for the unexpected, if you plan for your priority tasks. Clearing your desk on a Friday afternoon, and putting away files etc. that are no longer needed sets you up for a great start to the following week.
It will also let you leave work with a sense of having achieved something if your desk is neat and tidy! Time management studies shows that we touch every piece of paper on our desk, at least 7 times before we action it. And if it’s still there the following morning, the whole process starts again.
We tend to have more energy first thing, so tackle that difficult task first. Remember, if you don’t “eat the frog” when it’s small, you’ll have to deal with it when it’s much bigger!
Setting up for a great start should also help to leave at home any negative things that have occurred over the weekend. (Typically HMRC letters tend to arrive on Saturdays!)
. Learn to say “no”
You don’t have to do EVERYTHING. Others may be much better at certain things, and (unless it’s your boss), you can say “no” and keep on track. Be aware particularly of people trying to “upload” their tasks. There’s a whole new article to write on resisting upwards delegation!
- Be personable
Many people struggle with the whole “Monday morning feeling”. Making sure you take time to catch up with people. Showing an interest in what they did at the weekend, and smiling, can really improve the atmosphere in your workplace. A recent survey revealed that if you can improve team morale by 20%, your PROFITS (note not your income but your profits) will improve by 42%.
And your customers will look forward to seeing you, and may spend more, and more often as a result….
You can also build in some personality to your emails as well. It doesn’t take long to ask “how are you?” or “did you have a good weekend?” at the start of an email. Remember, people buy from people, so being personable can generate extra income.
. Don’t overfill your day
I often over commit, and this leaves me feeling like a failure. While setting stretching targets usually leads to better performance, going too far can throw you off track in a big way. This is especially true of Mondays, when interruptions are at their highest. One commentator I read, suggests setting between five and eight goals for each week. Any more can lead to target overload, and the resulting mental stress can quickly ensure that none of the goals are achieved.
- Arrive early and well-prepared
Getting in early, having had a healthy breakfast can give you an initial boost. If you can exercise before you get in, so much the better. The endorphins released will also help you feel better, but be careful not to overdo it, as too many endorphins can just make you too relaxed!
- And finally…
Remember that there is Tuesday. You don’t have to clear everything on Monday. Generally, the world will not fall apart if you don’t solve all of Monday’s problems on Monday. So take some pressure off yourself and plan to clear some, less important issues, on Tuesday, Wednesday,…. (you get the idea).
Monday mornings can challenge even the very best business leaders, but applying some or all of these techniques should mean you don’t have another Monday morning on Tuesday.
Steve Carey BA (Hons); ACA; CTA