How Changing My Monday Routine Has Improved My Weekly Productivity

Can I get a show of hands of who feels like this EVERY Monday?

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For me, this has been the case for almost a decade. If you’re new around here, I’m in the fitness industry. For the past ten years I’ve gotten up at 5am nearly every day of the week. I teach and train early mornings, late nights, and I travel on weekends to teach professional education courses and present at conferences. Earlier this year I moved from Louisville, KY back to San Diego, CA, with a peaceful 3 month reset road trip in between. When I got here to San Diego, I made a vow to myself: I would not take on any early Monday morning classes or clients.

One of the hardest things about the past six years, after I began presenting on weekends, was that I would arrive home really late most Sunday evenings, midnight or later, then wake up at 5am on Mondays to teach my 6am bootcamp class and take on the day’s clients. I had an early wake up every day of the week for years. I finally cut back to just 3 early mornings per week two years ago, but I always had early Mondays. Starting off the week on 5 hours of sleep (or less) launched my week horribly. Every day of the week would begin with me turning off the alarm clock and muttering, “F***.”

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Since arriving in San Diego and sticking to my plan of no Monday morning class, my weeks have gotten exponentially more productive. On Mondays, my first class is at 11:30am. Since my body’s used to going to bed early, I’m usually asleep by 9:30 or 10pm Sunday night. I’ve been waking up on my own around 6:30am and most of my mornings look something like this:

Take Tango for a short, 5 minute walk.

Make breakfast – usually scrambled eggs, bell peppers, half an avacado, berries, and toast.

Make my to-do list for the week, starting with the biggest priorities.

Take Tango for a longer walk – usually 30-45 minutes – while I listen to podcasts (business or entertainment based)

Stop towards the end of our loop to do a 15-30 minute (depending on the size of the to-do list) TRX workout at the park.

Come home and clean the house – I live alone so it’s not that messy, but I get to the kitchen, bedroom, laundry, etc.

Respond to emails, send invoices, or do other admin things.

And THEN I head off to teach the 5 fitness classes I teach on Mondays, ending at 7pm.

On weekends where I’m traveling and don’t get home until late, I sleep in until 8 or 9am Monday mornings and that list up there gets cut in half (or by a third), but the point is this: Sleeping longer and starting work later on Mondays allows me to start off the week at ease. I get a full night’s sleep so I feel good when I get up. I get a lot done first to allow me to work productively the rest of the week. I’m well rested, well fed, my dog and I both have our exercise, and we’re just better for it. The rest of the week might be crazy and I might have to travel all weekend long, but knowing I get to sleep in on Monday makes everything better. I’m not dreading the start of my week like I used to. I’m not tripping out, I’m ok with Monday now. We’ve made our peace.

Now, if you have children or a 9-5 job you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, whore, but not everybody has the ability to just start work at 11:30am on Monday. No duh sleeping in makes everything better, this is not news! Your post is stupid and I hate you.” And that would be fair. I’m not saying, “Look at how easy it is to sleep in!” I’m saying this:

“Find a way to make the start of your week less hectic so the rest of your week can benefit from it.” 

When I knew I had to change things to feel and do better, I had to ask myself which aspects of my week I hated the most, and then work from there to find a solution:

Ish I hated >> What I did about it:

1) I was exhausted and I needed more sleep to recover. >> Got rid of early Monday appointments

2) I worked too many early every morning so I wouldn’t have to do nights. >> I took on evening classes most nights of the week to pick up the slack.

3) I felt a mess and unorganized because I was so out of it all the time. >> Having more morning time allows me time to clean the kitchen, put things away, walk my dog, and get my workout in so that I can focus on work and be more productive.

4) I wasn’t getting enough activity and I could feel it. And see it.  #thumbsdown >> Getting a workout in first thing on Mondays makes for good momentum for the week. I tend to get in 3 or 4 workouts during the week when I have a good start.

What to do if you can’t alter your hours:

So I get it if you can’t change your work hours on Monday. Not many bosses would understand if you were just like, “Soooo from now on I’ll be in at lunch time on Mondays, mkay?!” But what could you do to make your Mondays less hectic in order to be more productive throughout your week?

Could it be a strict early bedtime on Sunday night? Turn off the electronics by 8pm, in bed with a book by 9:30, lights out by 10? (I realize that’s maybe not realistic if you have small children, but nothing is realistic when you have small children. I can only offer so much… Sorry.)

Could it be getting help on Monday morning? Maybe taking on less in your day? Putting your kids on the bus instead of driving them to school that day? Scheduling work meetings or presentations for later in the week if possible?

I’m not saying I have all the answers. I just wanted to share my problem and how I came to the conclusion that I needed a different plan. Everybody’s different in what they have to work with, but ask yourself what you hate about your Mondays to try to figure out a possible solution. Some Mondays just suck and there’s nothing you can do about it because IT’S JUST MONDAY, but some things you can control. Good luck!

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