Here's my new theory on Mondays, and I say this not flippantly but with all due heartfelt sincerity: If nobody dies, bleeds or breaks up, that's a good day. Not only can we handle whatever else might come, we'll probably be better and stronger for it.
But more than that, why shouldn't we make our Mondays a day to thrive, not merely survive? We're talking about one-seventh of our lives, one-fifth of our workweek, and the day that can set the pace for the rest of the week.
Special thanks to San Diego's Fox 5 Morning News for having me on last Friday, May 29 to talk about Cures for the Mondays. The tips that follow are an extended-play version of my interview with morning anchor Raoul Martinez.
May the interview above and the six reminders below help you face all your Mondays with renewed purpose, energy and excitement.
1. Make a Sunday-night checklist. This is so simple, and so helpful. Figure out what you need to make Mondays go well, and write it down. This might mean setting an alarm to go to bed. Having the morning coffee ready. Having good Italian leftovers on hand so you don't have to cook on Monday night. Just my two cents.
Lesson learned: Have fun with your list. The more detailed and specific it is, the better. Make your list uniquely yours, so it serves you.
2. Remember the 3 Cs: Challenge, Commitment and Control. Psychology tells us repeatedly that if we want to make stress our friend and not our enemy, we've got to embrace these three traits.
As an example, after a bad Monday back in February 2001, I realized it was high time to put my life on a whole new track. Stubbing your toe will do that, as will six feet of never-ending snow.
The discernment that followed was fraught with frustrations, difficulties, and dead ends, but it paid off. Six months after the toe-stubbing incident, I moved from the Midwest to the West coast for grad school at the University of San Diego -- a move that changed everything.
No professional, no matter how skilled, could have brought me more clarity than the life-altering, soul-searching journal entry I penned that Monday February night -- somewhere in this office, I still have that entry.
Lesson(s) learned: Frustration can be one of life's most powerful motivators. Whatever Monday frustrations come your way, use them to your highest advantage. Also, journal-writing is huge -- and of course free.
Incidentally, here's one of the best articles I've found on resilience:: Turning Lemons Into Lemonade: Hardiness Helps People Turn Stressful Circumstances into Opportunities.
3. Check in with a friend. I wrote about this in one of my earlier Monday-Morning Pep Talks: The Irreplaceable Friend We Don't Always Want.
Lesson learned: Stick with what works.
4. Remove the roadblocks. This is a good reminder whenever you're feeling stuck. Your roadblock could be anything: a cluttered desk. A lack of clarity on a key project, or a lack of support. Maybe there's someone in your personal or professional life with whom you need to go clear the air.
Lesson learned: Whatever will most help you get the wheels back on track and get going again, that's what you should go to work on next -- even if it has nothing to do with your work at hand.
5. Pick up your pace. Or as my father says more colorfully, "Kick it in the a*s!" I didn't like hearing that as a teenager, but as an adult, I had fun weaving that slogan, and the story behind it, into my first book, Stuff You Already Know: And Everybody Should. I still find myself saying it silently to others, under my breath to myself, and out loud to my computer.
Picking up our pace gets us out of our own, over-thinking head (speaking here out of personal experience). Notice how picking up the pace leaves you surprisingly more motivated and far more productive.
Lesson learned: Whenever your day leaves you feeling less than motivated, go at it with 25% more speed and gusto -- unless, of course, you're driving. If it helps you concentrate your time, set a timer.
6. Take notes on what life teaches you. I mean this, literally. Grab a notebook, or your smartphone, and get it all down. This is how I launched the Stuff You Already Know series -- by keeping track of what I've learned, sometimes over and over again. Which is to say, I don't always get Mondays right, nor do I pretend to. But it's a lot easier to get back on track when have a track, and can see it clearly.
Lesson learned: Don't expect Mondays to be easy--only to be worth it, especially when you have them well designed.
Last but not least, here's an oldie but a goodie: 10 Cures for 'The Mondays', one of my early blog entries for Huffington Post. Enjoy! And no matter what the day, let's treat it like the irreplaceable gift that it is.
Gina DeLapa is America's 'Ultimate Reminders' Coach and the author of Stuff You Already Know: And Everybody Should and Stuff You Already Know: And Every College Student Should.
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