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Avoiding Manic Mondays

In the mid-1980’s, The Bangles hit the charts with the song "Manic Monday" (co-written by Prince), to which we all could relate. Recently, Peter Gasca, Co-founder of WildCreations.com, wrote an article in that same vein, with the premise that "Monday mornings are often a huge mental hurdle that can throw your whole week off." To help, he shared the following eight easy weekly rituals to "help you ease into your Monday and make your week awesome." After each of his eight rituals, I’ve added some supporting thoughts and ideas of my own.

1. Plan your week on Sunday.

If you wait until Monday morning to plan and schedule your week, it will not take long before you find yourself engulfed in daily business "fires" and adding tasks and meetings before you even finish your planning. Instead, consider planning your week on Sunday evening, when it is quiet and you have the time and space to concentrate. You will sleep better knowing the task is done and you can devote more time to a morning routine that eases you into the week.

Kevin says: Identify your key goals and to-do’s for the upcoming week and determine ahead of time how you’re going to stick to them. If they’re that important, you won’t let other things get in the way.

2. Create a morning routine.
There is plenty of evidence that shows that getting out of bed a few minutes early, rather than snoozing your way through your morning, has tremendous benefits to your mental and physical wellness. If you have a tough time in the mornings, try getting up and taking a quick and brisk walk around your block, which will get your blood flowing and tell your body and mind that it is time to wake.

Kevin says: Get your mind and body in sync, such that your attitude and approach on Monday morning is one of "Oh, yeah!" versus "Oh, crap!"

3. Purge that email.
Your email box can be incredibly intimidating on Monday morning, filled with unread emails from the weekend and the previous week, all of which will immediately make you feel like you’re behind. Instead of reading every old email, delete them. Start with newsletters–they are old news anyway–and then find the confidence to purge any email that was not important enough to answer immediately in the first place. Too many emails to really get through? Consider one of the many applications, such as Sanebox, that can help you get your email under control.

Kevin says: Everyone needs a reliable method to tackle and manage the often overwhelming number of emails that we receive. If you don’t have a good system, you need to get one.

4. Connect with a friend.
On Monday, take five or 10 minutes to call a good friend or reconnect with an old friend, one with whom you can have a non-business conversation. These conversations often offer perspective to my life and typically end in a smile–and they help two people ease into the week.

Kevin says: Be the manager or employee who starts the workday with a pleasant "Hello" and "Good morning" versus the one who merely mumbles and sulks his way into the office or who completely ignores others until the caffeine or donut-sugar kicks in.

5. Take one new personal risk.
There is a great deal of benefit to writing out your goals. I like to spend five minutes each day to review my ongoing goals and priorities. On Mondays, however, I make it a point to set one new and aggressive personal goal for the week, such as trying new exercise, reading a book, or learning a new song on the guitar. The point is to provide you motivation during your busy week to pursue an interest that you enjoy outside of work.

Kevin says: To make this work, it is important to set goals that are aggressive but realistic; so that your success motivates you, as opposed to being demotivated by not achieving your weekly personal goals.

6. Make an "appreciation list."
In addition to making out that extensive weekly to-do list, also take a minute to write down at least five things for which you are grateful. More than likely, they will be the same from week to week–your wonderful family is always a good thing to be happy about–but doing so will put life in perspective and the positive emotions you create could affect your happiness, optimism, and self-esteem.

Kevin says: Not long ago, I asked a coaching client of mine to write out her failures and shortcomings, and she had no trouble doing so. But, when I then asked her to list her accomplishments and what she was most proud of, she struggled. While addressing your weaknesses and shoring up your shortcomings and "gaps", don’t lose sight of all that you are accomplishing and what is going well.

7. Pay it forward with kindness.
Keep in mind that you are sharing this Monday with everyone on earth, so to help relieve the stress of the beginning of the week, consider an unselfish act of kindness during your morning, such as a compliment to a complete stranger or leaving a co-worker a kind note. It will make both of your days a little better.

Kevin says: Random acts of kindness work! When, out of the blue, the car in front of me in the drive-though lane paid for my order, it made my day – and I immediately started thinking about how I could do something kind to others to pay it forward.

8. Indulge in inspiration.
If your week is starting off slow, consider allowing yourself the guilty pleasure of indulging in a little inspirational content. Something as simple as an inspirational quote or a lengthier article from UpWorthy, or video talk from TED Talk can give you the boost you need to get over the Monday blues.

Kevin says: What are your "go to’s" for a quick attitude pick-me-up? Mine are TED Talks, my personal affirmations that I keep in my wallet, or a quick dose of Jimmy Fallon’s Egg Russian Roulette on YouTube to get me laughing.

Thanks Peter, for allowing me to add onto your great ideas and for helping make Mondays a little less daunting and "manic."