07/12/2014 10:47 am ET Updated Sep 11, 2014

10 Cures for 'The Mondays'

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Even if you love your work, you might not always love your Mondays. Last week, when my own Monday dragged a little, I came up with this list to jump-start the day. It helped. May it now put a spark in your day.

The 10 Cures

  1. Tackle your top three to-dos. Get the big things done, and you will automatically feel better. If necessary, use what the late Bryce Courtenay called "bum glue."
  2. Crank up your favorite music. Everyone has at least one song that totally transforms their mood. Mine happens to be "Vehicle" by The Ides of March. What's yours?
  3. Move your body. A five-minute brisk walk can clear your mind and re-energize your whole morning. If it can work for me in a smoky Vegas hotel-casino, it can work for you, too. Naturally, a "real" workout is even better.
  4. Learn something new. This is the best cure I know for boredom. Last week, thanks to my friend John, I learned a "new" Johnny Cash song: The Devil's Right Hand. WOW. That'll wake you up. Like "Helter Skelter" with a hint of Romper Room.
  5. Eliminate a hassle: anything from a leaky pen to a bad habit to an unkind email. The bigger the hassle or energy drain, the more energy you get from letting it go.
  6. Laugh! Consider yourself fortunate if you have co-workers who can help. I go back to all the funny things my former co-worker Tim used to say, including this gem: "Nobody can drink like those Amish kids."
  7. Take time to bless someone else's life. How hard is it to give someone a smile--or to say or do something helpful?
  8. Put off something unimportant. This is known as creative procrastination. When we substitute something less important for something more important, our energy and self-respect automatically increase.
  9. Conquer an unpleasant task. In My New Habit for Tackling Nagging Tasks, Gretchen Rubin quotes her friend as saying, "I finally cleared out my fridge, and now I feel like I can switch careers." What untold benefit is hiding behind one of your unfinished tasks?
  10. Acknowledge what is working. There's a great scene from the film Shadowlands where Joy drags C.S. Lewis to the Oxford sunrise festival. Amidst all the commotion, C.S. Lewis proclaims, "It's pagan, it's vulgar, it's all faintly silly, but it works." And Joy replies, "Sunrise always works."
Unless there's an emergency, here's what also works: bum glue. I know, because I used it to bring you this Monday-morning pep talk.