School’s back in session. Time for the dog to eat the homework.
And for Monday to eat Sunday.
While summer doesn’t technically end for 10 days, these early September weeks are high season for the “Monday blues” — that sinking feeling on any given Sunday as the reality of carpools and conferences, work deadlines and fundraisers returns with a vengeance.
Turns out, we don’t have to lose sleepy Sundays to the revved-up demands of the daily grind. We just have to think differently.
“I love Monday,” said David Cottrell, a Texas-based motivational speaker and author of the books “Monday Morning Mentoring,” “Monday Morning Choices” and “Monday Morning Motivation.”
“It’s all about how you attack it,” he said. “If you change your Monday, you can change your life.”
Mary J. Prevost is a believer, too. She once dreaded Mondays. Working in public relations for a variety of large-scale clients, “I would waste the weekend glued to my e-mail,” said Prevost, of Golden Valley. “I’d start working Sunday to get a jump on Monday. Ugh.”
No more ugh. Today, Prevost runs MJP Strategic Communications and cannot wait to start the week.
While Prevost beat the blues by starting her own business, she and others emphasize that even small changes in routines and attitude can make us merry for Monday.
Plan well on Friday. Wrap up projects. Make lists. Clean off your desk. Answer phone calls and e-mails from the week. Leave knowing that you’ll return to tidiness and order on Monday.
Avoid 8 a.m. Monday meetings. Who wouldn’t be stressed on Sunday night knowing that was coming? “Why are we front-loading everything on our Monday schedule?” Prevost asked. If a meeting doesn’t have to be held right away, move it to 10 a.m. Or, even better, to Tuesday.
If you work from home, create boundaries. Make a rule with yourself that you won’t let work seep into your Sunday by checking e-mails. Prevost makes one exception: She sets up alerts for certain people who know to contact her only in emergencies.
Work at an office? Don’t check e-mails from home, either. It’s not an admirable way to get a start on the workweek. It just thrusts you into aggravation mode many hours before necessary.
Bosses: Don’t e-mail your workers on the weekend. Build a culture with expectations that your people deserve to have time away.
Be realistic about the bottom line. Dallas-based workplace culture expert Shontaye Hawkins suggests mitigating the Monday blues by embracing the bottom line. “Someone is expecting you. You have the power to shift your thoughts. Wake up, get to work and make money. Tell yourself, ‘I have to take care of my family.’ ”
Cottrell agrees. “You’ve got to understand that Monday is 20 percent of your workweek. Make your Monday the very best, and you have a real opportunity to move up the ladder.”
Consider a career tweak or change. Prevost is candid that the Monday blues “always seemed to occur at a time in my career when I needed a change, or a different work environment. Find a job that works for you and keeps you motivated.”
Hawkins agreed. Before she began working for herself, she remembers a few “crazy work environments” that turned Sunday nights into nightmares. “I wasn’t a drinker,” she said, “and I thank God that I wasn’t.”
Now her work is “kind of glorious” and she welcomes Mondays with open arms. Still, she added that maybe all one needs is a new position in the same company. “Maybe you’ve gotten stagnant,” she said.
Create Funday mornings. Managers: Why not at least try to make Monday mornings fun for everybody? Casual Mondays. Doughnut and coffee Mondays. “I’m not saying people get to work in their pajamas, but maybe find some fun things to do in the office,” Hawkins suggested. “Let people wrap their arms around the day, get coffee, say hi to their buddies.”
Surround yourself with Monday lovers. “You become like the people you surround yourself with,” Cottrell said. “Take 10 minutes each Monday morning to learn and discuss something.”
Become a Monday lover. Yep, you. “If you’re an energetic and ready-to-go Monday person,” Cottrell said, “the people around you will become one, too.”