I Don’t Do Mondays: Part II -Set Boundaries and Keep Them!

May 12, 2020 | Self Help

This is the second in a three-part series–why I don’t “do” the dread associated with the first day of the week–and how we can make Mondays more productive. If you’ve ever had, to quote a line from Office Space “a case of the Mondays,” this series is meant to be the antidote.

In Part 1, I discussed prior planning: how some forethought can help us stay ahead of some of the challenges that seem to plague most people’s Mondays. Today, I’ll focus on setting boundaries.

Boundaries Lead to Freedom

When it comes to protecting our time, the greatest enemy we face is ourselves–or, to be more specific, our desire to be seen as agreeable. We often put others’ needs first, which leads to our priorities being delayed indefinitely, which in turn leads to us not being all that pleasing after all. And while this happens just about every day, the impact seems to be higher on Monday. By learning to set more boundaries, however, we can have it both ways: more time to direct to what matters and a better ability to–albeit eventually–concentrate on those important to us.

Here are a few ways I set boundaries–and get my week off to a better a start:

  • If possible, avoid scheduling recurring meetings on Mondays. Recurring meetings are a fact of modern-day office life. And while we can’t avoid them entirely, we can be strategic in scheduling them. I shoot for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, so I have more flexibility on Monday and at the end of the week–which, not incidentally, leads to a better start to the subsequent week.
  • Don’t take any “Got a minute?” meetings. When people say, “Got a minute?” they’re generally asking for fifteen minutes–or more. Unless what needs to be discussed is genuinely urgent, I turn these into scheduled meetings later in the week. Every second adds up, and often the person asking for my time finds another resolution to the problem before we meet.
  • Schedule work on projects, not meetings. I use my calendar for more than just meetings and appointments. I also block time to work on projects–and on Monday, that’s all I strive to do. 
  • No sales calls/emails. It’s essential to continually be on the lookout for new resources that can help your business grow–just not on Mondays.
  • Schedule email check-ins twice a day. We tend to inflate the importance of email by giving it our attention all day, instead of only at selected times. I fight this battle every day, but I’m especially vigilant on Mondays. I find that my overall time spent with email decreases significantly when I check it less frequently. 
  • Put your phone on DND and screen voicemail twice in a day. As with email, a check-as-you-go method can erode your productivity. I mute my phone and check voicemails a couple of times a day on Monday–and almost without exception, the calls I’ve missed can wait.
  • Put your phone in a desk drawer. When I want to avoid any temptation to check my phone repeatedly throughout the day, I make it more difficult to access by putting it in a drawer (out of sight, out of mind, as they say). 
  • Shut your door if you have one. Whether you’re back in the office or working remotely, a closed-door can send a signal to others that you’re only available for emergencies. This small action has been critical on my work-from-home Mondays since my kids think twice before interrupting me.
  • If possible, work from home. If you genuinely want maximum control over your Mondays, consider making it a work-from-home day whenever you can. This leads to fewer interruptions and more productivity.
  • Choose not to act on urgent/non-important Items. While others can get in the way of our progress, I find that I also have to police myself. I can easily spend hours on low-priority, second-level tasks, especially when my top priorities require difficult work and extended focus. On my best Mondays, I work through these challenges to make progress on the things that matter most. Everything else can wait.

Wrapping Up

By being more intentional about setting boundaries, your productivity on Mondays can be limitless. What are some other ways you set limits to stay productive–on Monday or any other time?


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