If you don’t plan your week, someone else will plan it for you. That’s why Monday morning planning is vital to your productivity. In my world, Monday usually hits my world with all the joy of Gordon Lightfoot singing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, usually accompanied with the gale forced winds that sent the Big Fitz to the bottom of Lake Superior. (I’m actually a huge Gordon Lightfoot fan and sport an autographed copy of Gord’s Gold, available for you to see at the end of this post.)
We call Monday “re-entry day” at the office, a day devoted to putting out fires and prepping for a new week. I don’t plan to launch bold, new initiatives on Monday or schedule important meetings. We get things done on Monday, but it’s just not typically a lot of fun.
However, don’t let Monday go to waste. Monday morning is a great time to put all that feeling like “blah, I don’t want to go to work” to good use. Take a half hour or so to do something totally boring, but critical to a good week of productivity.
Plan out your week. Grab a notepad, your favorite smartphone app, or an old fashioned planner. Then write down what you want to accomplish each day. Pencil in already-scheduled meetings and functions. By the way, I don’t really hate Mondays. I just hate having to stop the weekend. (but, I digress.)
What doesn’t get planned doesn’t get done. “Oh, contraire”, some may say. “I get stuff done every day that isn’t planned”, they contend. Such contention would be very true. We all get stuff done that isn’t planned ahead of time. But here’s the catch.
Chances are if you get something positive accomplished that you didn’t plan to do, it was something that somebody else planned instead. In short, you’re reactive rather than proactive.
Inevitably, my Mondays consist of getting some things done that someone else wants me to do. These things are not on my planning list of the week. They weren’t on my radar screen on Sunday night. Yet, I wind up doing them sometimes out of necessity and sometimes because I made the mistake of allowing someone else to plan my time.
Plenty of people have wonderful ideas for your time. However, if you want your week to click with productivity, plan out your priorities first. If you don’t, rest assured other folks will cram their priorities down your throat. You’ll wind up plenty busy, but doing what someone else wants you to do.
We must all inevitably do someone else’s bidding at times. If you have a boss, you have to do what the boss says. Just don’t let that stop you from planning your week.
I’ve planned some reoccurring things into my Mondays. I host a Monday afternoon mentoring meeting at work. We meet every week like clockwork to process problems and get ahead of the week. I check in with key employees to make sure we’re all on the same page. By Monday night, I’ve already gotten the week off to a productive start.
So, I can come home, listen to a bit of Gordon Lightfoot, and feel good about where the week is headed. Even if you plan your week well, life will still throw you some curves during the week that you didn’t see coming. Yet with proper planning, you’ll already have a couple of runners on base. Just maybe life will hang a curve ball that you can knock out of the park.