It’s almost lunchtime on Monday and I’ve accomplished next-to-nothing for my employer. Sure, I answered a couple emails, but seriously, I absolutely have not earned my paycheck.
Overall, I’m an excellent employee, so why am such a slackard today?
Because Monday is the hardest day to work from home and I didn’t do anything to make it easier.
Why is Monday the hardest day?
Your brain is still in weekend mode. You’re mentally checking off those home tasks — laundry, reading that interesting article, paying bills, replying to a friend’s email, responding to your sister’s Facebook post. If you remain at home, surrounded by home tasks, there is nothing to force your brain onto a new path.
Before Coronavirus, I occasionally worked from home. And I noticed that I was the least productive working-from-home, when I did so on a Monday. Too often I thought I would finish ONE more thing — because after all my browser was already open to that page. I rationalized that it was more efficient overall to finish the article, the order, the email that I’d started on Sunday. I could surely finish it and still start my work day by 9… er make that 9:30…. Well 10 wouldn’t be bad, right?
Some Solutions — None of which I did today
Commute to work. (Wait, I’ll explain).
Just because you are work-from-home, doesn’t mean you can’t take a walk around the block. (Please wear a mask if you live in a populated area.) While walking ‘to work’, think about your work day. This simulates how you used to drive into the office and will help tell your brain, “We’re going places. Where are we going? Oh yeah, it’s time for work!”
Just because you were home Sunday and you are still home, doesn’t mean you can’t change it up. Work on a different laptop, in a different room, or simply rotate your chair and face a different wall. Again… wake up that day-job identity. It’s lurking in there somewhere.
Start your day with a shower.
If you really want to go all-out, put on clothes that you might conceivably wear in to the office. You will feel better about yourself — more professional and again, it will tell your body and soul, “The weekend’s over. Time for work.”
End your week on Friday by making to-do notes for Monday.
By Friday I’ve had 5 days to become the ace employee I want to be. If I’m smart (doesn’t always happen), I will take a few minutes before calling it quits and write down what I should work on next. That way when Monday morning comes I don’t have to scratch my head and wonder, “Now where was I? What should I be focusing on? Hmm…. Let me check my email for clues.”
Give yourself a low bar to clear.
Sometimes you just need to get a bit of momentum going. I do so by taking a task I need to do, writing down the task, the time I am starting this effort and committing to work on it for 11 minutes. Then I set a timer. I’m embarrassed to admit, I usually check how much time is left more than once. In fact, I use these “productivity sprints” periodically when I feel my focus is lacking, but they are especially helpful on Monday’s.
That’s it. I’ve got to go take a shower, change rooms, and write down what I’m working on for the next 11 minutes.
Thanks for reading!!