Do you like Mondays? According to a 2018 survey, 80% of people actively do not look forward to Mondays. They mark the end of weekend freedom and a return to the workplace. Well, they did. Working from home has suddenly become commonplace - there’s no physical workplace to return to anymore. While this marks the end of crowded commutes, it also destroys the physical gap between work and home. This triggers a drop in motivation and productivity. However, as three quarters of UK chief executives believe the shift towards remote working will continue after the pandemic, it appears working from home isn’t going away any time soon. Instead, let’s flip the script and bring weekend motivation into the week by shaking up attitudes to working from home. With these tips and tricks, Monday can become your favourite day of the week (or at least move slightly higher up the list…).
Know your goals
Goal setting is an essential part of motivation - why are you working? What’s the point? It can seem a tad existential but setting out what you want is the best way to make it happen. Think long-term with an Odyssey Plan, try following the Law of Attraction, or scribble down a bullet pointed list aiming to encapsulate what, for you, would create long-term happiness and fulfilment. It’s your choice whether these goals are directly related to work or more focused around what work enables you to do in your personal life. Think big. Then shrink these thoughts down - what do you have to do this year, this month, this week to make those goals happen?
Keep your short-term goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This gives you something to work towards, increasing productivity and positivity. As a natural point of reset at the beginning of the week, Monday is the perfect time to reflect on these goals and make any appropriate changes. Scheduling this regular reassessment will increase productivity in all areas of your life.
You can then use these goals to create a daily list of tasks, knowing that you’re aiming towards personal and professional fulfillment. Scheduling a fun activity for Monday - either before work or afterwards - can also be a mood booster. Fun isn’t just for the weekend!
Prepare the night before
Your Monday routine really starts on Sunday night. Up to 60% of people report having experienced struggling to get to sleep on a Sunday night specifically, citing stress and weekend disruption to regular sleep patterns. Sleep psychologist Hope Bastine advises intuitive sleeping habits - going to sleep when you feel tired, rather than when you feel you should. To make this earlier, avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, take a walk and turn off any devices which emit blue light. Try guided meditation or mindfulness exercises to ease worries regarding the week ahead.
Wake up with enough time
It’s tempting to roll out of bed at 8:55 for a 9:00 meeting, tossing on a crumpled top (they only see your top half on Zoom anyway - hopefully you don’t need to get up for anything!) and skipping breakfast. But who really wants to start their day - and their week - groggy and behind? Think of your typical pre-pandemic schedule and try to wake up at the same time. You should then have plenty of time to get ready, allowing for a more relaxed start which will set the tone for the week.
Checking emails first thing in the morning can be instinctual but it’s better to pause hitting reply until you feel ready for the day. Why not take a few minutes to get up, make a coffee or tea and focus on the possibilities of the day rather than immediately rushing into action?
Time from the commute (which may now be on its last legs) can be invested into self-improvement or pure enjoyment. For example, make Monday morning something you anticipate by planning a delicious breakfast, something which will excite you enough that you get out of bed after the first alarm as opposed to the tenth.
Dress for work
Pyjamas are not appropriate work attire - according to science. Cognitive psychologists Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky have a theory of enclosed cognition, suggesting the impact of what you wear upon how you feel. For example, a lawyer may feel more professional and focused in a suit. You’ll feel relaxed and dozy in pyjamas. Instead, go for clothes which reflect how you want to feel. To portray yourself as innovative and trustworthy, wear bright colours or patterns. Colourful outfits could even be a mood booster. It’ll increase your productivity and improve work/life balance. Newt’s long-sleeve button up shirts are the perfect mixture of professionalism, fun and creativity, while they’re comfy enough to feel almost like pyjamas.
Create a working environment at home
This philosophy for clothing also applies to your environment. If you work in bed, you’ll be ready to nod off. A separate space allows you to fully switch off at the end of the day. "It's critical to commute out of the bedroom to a dedicated workspace that separates work from personal space," said Bob Higgins, co-founder of board game Linknotize. "Once you've commuted to your workspace, treat your day as if you've actually left the house. In addition to having a dedicated work area, it is also really important to keep at least one space in the house as a business-free zone." Using a spare room or an office would be ideal for separating work life from home life.
However, there are solutions for those with less space. Scents are linked to memory - burning the same candle or wearing the same fragrance helps to prompt your mind into work mode. Similarly, working in a particular section of the room can divide up your living space.
With planning, routines and organisation, you can bring the joy from the weekend into the week, becoming your weekend self all week long, even if you can’t roll out of bed at 11AM for a few days.