Motivating Yourself at Work: How to Turn Monotonous Monday into Motivated Monday
Anyone who works outside the home understands the Sunday night routine: you have Sunday dinner, then turn on the TV and enjoy your favorite Sunday shows, vowing to relax and not think about Monday morning. Maybe those of you who are extra-productive spend some time with your planner, but for most of us, it’s TV and sleep. You go to bed ready to take on the first day of the week.
Then the alarm clock goes off.
You hit the snooze button three times and barely make it to work on time. You sit down in your chair, boot up the computer and stare at the monitor. Now it’s time to put your big plans for the week into action. But for some reason, all your motivation has faded away with another Monotonous Monday. If this feels familiar, then you need to consider the following tips for having a Motivated Monday.
#1 – Decide What You Want to Achieve on Monday
One reason people feel so unmotivated on Monday is because their to-do list is overwhelming. Rather than becoming distracted and flustered by a super-long to-do list, pick one major project that you can complete on Monday and make that your main goal. Workers are often so focused on long-term goals that they don’t celebrate the little wins that accumulate along the way. When you get that Monday priority done, write it down in your planner as a success, treat yourself to a cup of coffee, or do something else to give yourself a pat on the back.
#2- Don’t Check Your Email
Do you really have to check your email first thing on Monday morning, or can it wait until the afternoon? If you don’t know what’s going on in the office at every moment, that’s okay. Your supervisor will come find you if the building is truly burning down with an emergency!
This may sound crazy to some of you who are slaves to the inbox, but think about what happens every time you check you email: you get sidetracked by issues raised in the email and you get assignments that you feel you need to work on right away, even if the deadline is not imminent. When you check email, you start to respond to someone else’s agenda. The best way to start the week motivated is to focus on your own agenda. That’s when you should remember tip #1 – focus on your top Monday priority and ignore the inbox until the end of the day.
#3 -Optimize Your Workspace
People are more productive when they are comfortable in their surroundings. Imagine how much better you would feel sitting down to work on Monday morning if you like what you see. Here are the best ways to make your office, cubicle or desk more inviting:
- According to research, employees who have plants in their workspace are 15% more productive. Decorate your desk with low maintenance succulents or low-light plants like peace lilies or snake plants.
- Wrap up or replace long cords that get in your way. In addition to being a tripping hazard, cords can be a distraction and contribute to a workspace that just doesn’t feel good when you sit down.
- Have a picture of someone or something you love at your desk to remind yourself of why you go to work each day. Maybe it’s to take care of your kids, maybe it’s saving money for travel, or maybe you’re one of those people who say “I work so my cats can have a better life!” Whoever or whatever motivates you should occupy a special place in your workspace, so you are reminded why you are working so hard on a Monday morning.
#4 – Use Headphones
A great way to get into the flow on Monday is to isolate yourself with a good set of noise-cancelling headphones. If you put headphones on, your coworkers are less likely to interrupt you. Some people find their concentration improving when they listen to music. However, some research suggests that listening to music or white noise can hinder productivity unless you are doing repetitive tasks.
The bottom line: there is no right way to use headphones. If music helps you focus, great. If you prefer silence, use those headphones to block out office sounds and distractions. An easy way to put yourself in the mood to work is to listen to music for 10 minutes before you start work on Monday morning. This will trigger neurotransmitters that give you positive vibes.
#5 – Take a Walk
If you feel burned out at work, it’s imperative that you take breaks throughout the day. When it’s time for lunch, get out of the office. Ignore Facebook and Twitter, since social media tends to gobble up your time and doesn’t make you feel refreshed or more productive. Walk around the block, go sit in your car, listen to a podcast, eat lunch in the park. Burnout is real, so the key to keeping yourself motivated is often to reward yourself for working by escaping work for a few minutes. After some fresh air, you will feel ready to work through that priority list for the rest of the day.
#6 – Make Monday Night “Goof Off Night”
Most people are so busy that the week flies by in a blur. Going to the gym, taking the kids to activities, socializing with friends, mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathroom – all of the personal tasks outside of work can contribute to a feeling of monotony on Monday morning.
Rather than over-scheduling for Monday, make Monday night “goof off” night. Plan to order a pizza or get Chinese takeout. Make time to watch Netflix, play video games, or sit on your deck and read. Get the whole family looking forward to a night with no scheduled activities. This will make your workday that much easier, knowing that when you get home, you can do nothing.