Monday, Monday! Seriously can’t trust that day. For many of us, Monday is a big, painful transition from the light and playful weekend to the heavier obligations of the work week. Five long days of stress and routine stretch out in front of us as we stand bleary-eyed in our Monday morning kitchens, groping for the Chemex and trying to remember/forget what time our first meeting is.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 10 ways to help you master your Monday and make it work for you.
I confess that I might not be the best person to write this post, as I don’t find Mondays that much of a burden. Or wait, maybe that makes me the perfect person? Anyway, I know I’m a freak but I wasn’t born this way. I’ve had to learn how to make my Mondays less of a slog.
I’ve always been pretty good at laying down the burdens of the workweek on my weekends, firmly shuttering that stuff away for two solid days. But when Monday morning would come around, it was a bit of a shock to start the heavy lifting again.
Over the years, I started making a few adjustments, learning a few tricks, and shifting my habits and attitudes. Now I’m smiling and humming on Monday mornings, much to the chagrin of those around me. Here’s how I do it.
10 Ways to Master Your Monday
I’ve divided the 10 tips and to-dos into three categories or, rather, time periods: Sunday, Monday morning, and Monday day. What you do on Sunday can have a big influence on your Monday morning and if you win Monday morning, you’re most of the way there to winning your day. As for the day itself, my best advice is to do only Monday on Monday. Don’t overachieve your Monday and you will be fine.
1. Plan out your Monday (and Tuesday).
Instead of trying to figure out your day in the mad rush of Monday morning, take a few minutes on Sunday to plan out your day, if not a day or two more into the week. If you’re very organized, you can have your meals sorted, your outfits picked out, and the DVR queued. If you’re not super organized, at least make a rough plan. Knowing what the day will bring and how you’re going to navigate it can take a lot of anxiety off your plate.
2. Prep for breakfast the night before.
If your Monday mornings tend to be a mad swirl, take breakfast prep out of the mix by getting as much done as possible on Sunday night — pre-measure smoothie ingredients, lay out bowls and spoons for cereal, crack the eggs for omelets. If you’re not a coffee purist, grind your beans. Taking care of the many little tasks that make up a morning the night before can smooth Monday morning shenanigans into ballet-like harmony.
3. Make Sunday’s dinner Monday’s lunch — or dinner.
If you like to make a nice Sunday dinner, then be sure that you make more than you will need so you can have leftovers for Monday’s lunch or dinner. It really doesn’t take much more work to peel a few more potatoes or chop an extra zucchini or two in the name of Monday efficiency and bliss. I do not understand why leftovers have such a bad rap! So many things are actually better the second day.
4. Make Sunday a day of rest.
This flies completely in the face of the first three suggestions above, but it’s worth mentioning. For some of us, making sure that we have a full weekend, that we’ve truly unplugged for two solid days, is the best strategy for Monday mastery. In other words, ignore everything I said above and just let Sunday be your day of rest. Don’t check work email on Sunday night, don’t start ramping up the work week before the weekend is over. Don’t let the anxiety of Monday steal the bliss of your Sunday. Fully recharge and you’ll be ready to take on Monday like a champ.
5. Make yourself a special cuppa.
If Monday mornings are tough for you, then be sure to treat yourself to a little something extra. Pull out that special packet of tea or stop at your favorite coffee shop and treat yourself to one of those expensive pour overs. And while you’re there, maybe a lovely scone or other treat will mysteriously make it’s way into your bag. Don’t fight it — it’s your essential Monday/Funday fuel.
6. Keep Monday breakfast simple.
Not every morning can be an elaborate smoothie session or pancake and bacon super breakfast. It’s just fine to pour yourself (and your family) a bowl of cold cereal on Monday mornings. If you’re inclined towards guilt, slice a banana or apple into it and it will instantly become “healthy!” Or yogurt and granola are an equally fast choice. The point is to keep Monday breakfast simple.
7. Don’t go to the dentist.
Or book any kind of not-so-happy appointments. Monday’s are hard enough without standing in line at the post office on your lunch break or visiting the accountant. In fact, make Monday’s a nothing-extra day. Just work and home. (Or work, cocktails, and home.)
8. Skip the grocery store, too.
Many people are in the habit of shopping on Monday evening to refill the fridge and cupboards after the weekend. But if at all possible, try to avoid the grocery store and the subsequent crowds and lines. With some planning and a decently stocked cupboard, you can squeak by until midweek when you’re a little more in the swing of things.
9. Book a special class.
Reward yourself for making it through your Monday with something that releases and renews. If you love yoga, or find meditation really helpful, then look for a Monday evening session. Not into incense and bells? Maybe a ceramics class or another creative outlet. Just be sure it feels fun and rewarding and not obligatory — save that class for later in the week or, better yet, never!
10. Order takeout.
Monday is the reason takeout was invented. Monday dinner is pizza, or Chinese, or Thai, or the Whole Foods hot bar. It is not roast chicken with pan drippings, two veg, and a seasonal fruit tart. Unless, of course, that’s what you had for Sunday dinner.
Your turn: How do you master your Monday? Tell us in the comments!