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Making the Most of Mondays

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Let's face it: Mondays are a drag for a lot of us. We're still recovering from the weekend (aren't those supposed to leave us feeling rested?) which means we're often working at less-than-ideal productivity levels.

But whether you work as a freelance designer or in the corporate world, you probably can't get away with not working on Mondays. Besides, that would just give us all a reason to hate Tuesday!

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Rather than waste your Monday awash in unproductiveness, why not try out some of the tips below for making more of your Mondays and getting ahead for the week?

Plan Your Week

Taking Monday to organize and plan your week is a great use of time. It doesn't require much creativity or brain-power, and a lot of the time it doesn't even really feel like work.

But at the same time, it's a very valuable step in staying focused and productive for the rest of the week. Once you know exactly what needs to be done, it becomes much easier to make a plan to complete your work. And you may find there are certain tasks that you'd rather get out of the way on Monday so you can focus on bigger and more important things for the rest of the week.

Alternative: Plan on Sundays Instead

An alternative to using Mondays for planning is to plan on Sundays instead (this one works particularly well for those who work from home). If you have a plan for the week, Mondays are much less intimidating.

One thing to keep in mind, though, if Mondays are difficult for you, is not to over-schedule yourself for the beginning of the week. If you schedule too much for Monday and then don't complete those tasks, you'll feel discouraged for the rest of the week and will likely be worse off for having planned at all.

Do All the Little Things and the Fun Things

We almost inevitably have a number of small tasks that need to get done each week. These might be anything from finishing up a project, quoting a new project, or checking freelance job boards for interesting projects.

We inevitably have some fun projects each week, too. These could be anything from a pet project or personal project to a design brief you're really looking forward to quoting. The fun projects generally don't take much motivation to dive into, making them perfect for Mondays.

Get a Jump on Admin Tasks

Administrative tasks are another perfect Monday job. The great thing about admin tasks is that they usually don't require much in the way of creativity, making them perfect for a day when you're lacking in that department. These admin tasks might include bookkeeping, sending invoices and proposals, updating team members on project status, returning client phone calls, or any of those other non-design tasks we tend to put off.

By starting your week caught up on all those things, you'll be able to focus on your design work for the remaining days, without worrying about that stack of receipts piling up or the invoices that still need to be sent.

Catch Up on Email

If you're anything like me (and a lot of other creatives), email is a constant struggle. It seems like every time we get caught up, a dozen new messages come in, demanding our attention.

Take Monday mornings as an opportunity to respond to all the emails you didn't get to the week before. Aim for Inbox Zero, meaning no messages remaining in your inbox when you're finished processing. By starting off the week with no nagging messages waiting for your attention, you'll be much more likely to keep on top of your inbox for the rest of the week.

Don't Force It

Sometimes, Monday rolls around and we're just not feeling it. We try to do the admin tasks, the fun tasks, or the quick tasks, but it seems like we're dragging our feet on all of it and nothing is getting done.

When that happens, sometimes you just have to take a break. While I don't recommend it every Monday, spending the morning or afternoon away from your desk can recharge you in a way that weekends don't (since most of the time our weekends are filled with other tasks and obligations). So if you're really just struggling to get through your Monday, sometimes the best thing you can do is to stop struggling and just call it a day. Then, hopefully, you'll be back at your desk and motivated on Tuesday.

Get Inspired!

Taking Mondays to brainstorm for your upcoming projects and nothing else is a great use of time. Think about what you have to do for the week and then get inspired. Look through design galleries, take a walk and look for inspiration outside the web design world, or do some sketches and wireframes.

Inspiration has the added benefit of making us feel better about our work, which will energize you for the rest of the workweek. If you come up with a great idea on Monday, chances are you'll be eager to start implementing it on Tuesday. And since Mondays are just about finding the inspiration, rather than actually acting on it, you're free to daydream and let your mind wander, making it easier to focus on what you need.

Stop Hating Mondays

The key to a successful Monday is to adapt it to suit your needs. Figure out where your weaknesses lie at the start of the week and then decide how you can overcome them, as well as where your strengths are. Redefine what a successful Monday looks like, to fit your goals and your workflow.

If you make Mondays work for you, rather than against you, you'll likely find that the rest of your week goes more smoothly. The main thing is to understand how you work best, and then adapt your schedule accordingly.

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