It can be hard to go back to work after a weekend with family and friends, sleeping late and doing whatever we want. But Mondays don’t have to feel that way. The beginning of the week can be like the beginning of the year: it’s a fresh start, a blank page, an invitation to learn, create, and get things done. Here’s what you can do to enjoy Mondays a bit more.
1. Smile, it’s going to be a good week
Come in the office with a smile on your face, even if you don’t really feel like it and it might feel uncomfortable and unnatural. Why would you do that?
A study asked participants to either keep a neutral expression or smile while doing stress-inducing activities. Their heart rate and stress levels were monitored throughout the experiment. The results showed that “the participants who were instructed to smile recovered from the stressful activities with lower hear rates than participants who held neutral expressions, and those with […] smiles were the most relaxed of all, with the most positive affect. Those with forced smiles […] also reported more positive feelings than those who didn’t smile at all.”
Smiling, even if forced at the beginning, will lead you to feel more positive. Just try now and hold a smile for one minute. You’ll start noticing positive thoughts.
2. Set your weekly intention
What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to feel? What do you want to appreciate, or let go of? Start the week by thinking about how you want the next 5 days to count.
Get a piece of paper and a pen, your mobile or your laptop, and write down what you intend to. It can be messy, it can be long or short. Whatever works for you. Throughout the week, have a look at what you wrote to remind yourself to honour this intention at least once a day.
Read More: Set Intentions Instead Of Resolutions
3. Prepare a to-do list
When you have your intention for the week, create a to-do list of things that will make you feel productive and powerful.
Project yourself to Friday afternoon when you’ll look back at the week that has passed: what is it that you want to have achieved by then? As you ask yourself that question, write everything down. Then ask yourself: what do I need to do now to achieve this by the end of the week? There, you have your to-do list.
4. Clear your inbox immediately
New week, new inbox. Clear the emails you received during the weekend that add very little to your day. Go through the ones that you left unread from last week as well. I know you probably don’t want to (who doesn’t have an email they will deal with later) but just get rid of it today so that’s it’s not at the back of your head any longer.
Read more: How I Stay At Inbox Zero
5. Attend the easiest tasks first
Once you have your weekly intention, your to-do list and your inbox is at an acceptable level, get started with the easiest tasks first. Not only will it give you a sense of achievement, but it might also help another colleague or a client who was waiting for your input. For you it might be something small, but for others it can mean a lot. Tick off as many things from your to-do list as possible on Monday so you have time later during the week for the bigger tasks and for any last-minute assignment that comes your way.
6. Review your calendar for the next 5 days
Check what is already scheduled in your agenda for the week and block off some time to be able to finish some work.
If you are in a position to decline meetings, try to do it. Ask yourself: what’s in it for me, my job, my team? Can this be sent over email? What will I bring to the conversation?
Read More: 11 Tips To Be More Productive At Work
7. Have fun
Remember that work isn’t just about getting things done, but it’s also about spending good time with the people you like the most in your office. You spend 40+ hours per week with them, you might as well build good relationships. Take a break with a colleague, get to know someone new, go out at lunch time, laugh out loud. It will be a good day and a good week.