Why Mondays suck and 5 ways to make them better!

Read on to identify why Mondays aren't always the best and five great hacks to feel good about the start of the week

Mondays are a rather rude jolt from the two-day paradise that is the weekend. It's a day that everyone dreads—whether you're an employee, a business owner, or a student. Come Friday, many of us plan leisurely activities for weekends; lazing around, watching copious amounts of shows, and bingeing on our favorite foods.

And then comes Monday. The start of the week requires you to step away from Instagram and onto Slack. We need to switch our brains on and function and adjust back into a routine that will take over till next Friday.

The long and short of it is that Mondays suck. They suck because we're not ready to be set back into routines and take over bigger tasks.

The problems with Mondays

Typically, Mondays not only bring with it the dread of routine but also half-finished tasks from the last week. There's a backlog that needs looking at, and that can be stressful while you're at your least productive on the day. Especially when you're dealing with deadlines.

Don't get us wrong. Deadlines are great! They create a bit of healthy pressure to get work done well. But let them sit for too long and they can be a cause for anxiety, which starts an unhealthy cycle of stress and can lead to a domino effect on the rest of your week.

And the less said the better about the flurry of work that comes in on a Monday specifically—impromptu meetings, Zoom calls, quick catch-ups. Why? Because like you, your bosses are dealing with the Monday blues and the need to be really productive too!

But there's a silver lining to this gloomy Monday cloud. It doesn't have to suck so much. Let's tell you how.

An illustration of Sketchnote character Lucy Lee sitting and working at her desk. There's a plant on her desk and an open laptop. There's a clock on the wall, the time reads 3:05. Lucy looks a little irritated. The word cloud around her reads: Plan out your week, socialize with colleagues, wrap up easy tasks first, Make a routine, Plan a fun evening
Planning and running a routine i the best way to banish the Monday blues

Monday hacks we swear by

The biggest key to keeping the Monday blues at bay and thriving is planning. When you lay down your ideas for the day and the week, not only are you mentally more prepared to take on Monday but are also ready for any of your plans derailing. And that's half the battle won. Here are some hacks we love:

Plan your week out

Mapping out your week on a calendar, before Monday creeps in, helps you to stay prepared for what is to come. The action of physically plotting your tasks across the week gives you a lot of clarity and helps to relieve the anxiety of not knowing what you are up to in the coming days! Having a well-planned calendar is also very motivational, and helps you stay on track!

Here's how you can break the planning down. Start by reviewing your long-term goals. Use this as a Northstar to decide what you need to accomplish this week and then create a to-do list for the week. Now, adjust your to-do items on your week’s calendar, in line with your work hours and other commitments each day! It’s also important to leave some space on your calendar for unplanned events and fun activities.

On Friday, take a look at your plan and use the learnings to create a better one the next week! This helps to keep your weekly plans realistic, and your to-do list doesn't feel undoable or become a huge burden on you. It also ensures that you wake up on Monday with a mission, and stay enthused the whole time.

Socialize with your work colleagues

Making conversations with your co-workers can take the edge off on a Monday. It also makes your day more enjoyable since you're mostly in the same situation and can relate to each other better. Often called watercooler conversations, these get-togethers have been a staple in offices since time immemorial. Of course, if you know your colleagues better, you can talk about more than just small talk.

There may be certain do’s and donts laid out in your employee handbook, so make sure you're within those limits when you're fraternizing. But if you're looking for a handy list of general fail-safe topics to make small talk about at work, here's one to get started with:

  • How was their weekend? What did they do?
  • What movies and TV shows have they been watching these days?
  • Questions about pop culture events
  • Talk about pets
  • Questions about their hobbies
  • Quiz them about their travel plans.

Use your lunch break or tea/coffee break to catch up with your colleagues. You can take a straw poll to know when everyone is free or to make plans for Friday happy hours. Over time, this ritual may be something you look forward to every Monday!

Get easy tasks out of the way

Mondays can seem a bit daunting because our long list of to-dos looks overwhelming in one go. Too many things have to be accomplished in a limited amount of time. Many of those aren't easy to work on in one go or finish off in a day. Obviously, you're stressed! We can't blame you for the anxiety.

But when you look beyond those scary tasks, there are smaller ones that absolutely can be knocked off quickly. They're usually spread across your to-do list and not easy to catch, sandwiched between the more difficult tasks. Find them before you start your day and finish those off first—unless you have a more pressing task at hand.

This not just reduces your anxiety by helping you put the much-needed checkmark against this week's tasks, but it also can get you pumped up for the rest of the week. That's your incentive to start small!

Apart from finishing these smaller tasks, identify one or two major tasks you need to get done on that day. When you keep your focus on smaller numbers, you can get them done faster.

Stick to your routine

Now, this is slightly tough to do right off the bat, but a few Mondays of trying to stick to your routine will help you get into a healthy habit soon enough. Make your own routine for Mondays, including breaks that will help you destress and put the focus back on your tasks. When you do this enough, you know exactly what to expect from your Mondays!

Of course, the tasks of each day may vary but adhering to a basic structure of when to start work, take breaks, eat, and end your day, can help you feel in control of your time. This part needs to be followed on all other days too for it to work. So, fire up a new doc and set out basic rules for yourself. Remember that it’s not easy to create new routines, so be patient with yourself and try to stick to your plan. Tracking your habits can help you stick to your routine daily!

Plan a fun activity for the evening

At Sketchnote, we've got varied interests. Many of us are hobby musicians. Some of us love playing sports with friends outside of work. Incorporating your hobbies or activities you love doing on Mondays can be the perfect way to end a stressful day.

Planning these activities also gives you something to look forward to when you're dealing with the high stress of the day. Just make sure you're working on these activities as a way to rejuvenate yourself, and aren't letting your hair down like it's a Friday! The next day's Tuesday, after all, and those can be equally brutal!

Here's a short list of activities you can try on a Monday evening:

  • Read a book
  • Go on a dinner date with friends
  • Play a sport or hit the gym
  • Watch an episode of your favorite TV show

Mondays are inherently stressful, but if you've been feeling the dread a bit more than usual, it's time to realign yourself with your job and career. Take a break to avoid burning out and come back enthused about your tasks at hand. Happy Mondays!

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