Oh fuck. It’s Monday again, isn’t it.
Regardless of what your work schedule really looks like, most of us dread the beginning of our work week. Women are constantly wearing too many hats, and spreading themselves too thin, mainly because we tend to set unrealistic standards in regards to our time, and how we use it.
Since we know you’re busy and want you to be able to get to your monday as soon as possible, we came up with 5 easy ways to maximize your monday and make her your bitch.
1. Meditate. Time is kind of trippy. Trippy in the way that there are two times: clock time, and real time, and we often schedule ourselves around clock time, which doesn’t really exist. Clock time is the time we see on our watches. Clock time assumes that all time passes by equally: one minute is 60 seconds before the next minute, and every hour is equally 60 minutes.
But real time, which is our experience of time (the one that matters) is relative, and we create it in our minds. Trippy right? This is why sitting through a boring lecture feels like it dragged on forever, and yet hours melt away when you’re out with friends. Our perception of time is often skewed by our mental state, and our mental state can be heavily influenced by anxiety and stress. Taking a moment to meditate and get yourself calm and in a positive state of mind can really influence how effectively you tackle your goals, and how you gauge the time you have to work towards those goals.
Meditation can be whatever quiets your mind for a few moments. It can be exercising, it can be smoking a joint before work, it can be exercising while smoking a joint, or even a long shower. Just make some time to quiet your thoughts and center yourself at some point in your day.
2. Plan. Take the first 30 minutes of your day to plan out your day. If you’re like me, you hate lists. I fuckin’ hate lists. But when it comes to time management, getting organized is super important, so instead of jumping right into your day, or reaching for your emails before you brush your teeth...take the first 30 minutes to plan your to-do list for the day. A to-do list can look like whatever you want by the way. It can be a calendar, it can be a series of reminders, it can be on a post it, or even a note in your phone. It’s good to be visual when planning your day, it helps you see when you’re taking on too much.
Prioritizing is key to managing your time and making the most of your Monday. Plan to tackle your most difficult tasks first, at the beginning of your day. The few hours after you wake up and have your coffee, are when your energy levels will be the highest. Planning to take advantage of the quiet hours of your morning, where you’re more likely to be energized and focused can increase your effectiveness for tackling your more difficult tasks. It allows you to tackle easier tasks when your energy levels are lower, which... duh.
The hardest thing about time management are the things that take up our time that we never factor into our schedule. Make sure you schedule time for interruptions, (kind of how professors schedule office hours for their students) and schedule time to answer emails and return phone calls, (rather than answering them as soon as they come in). Schedule time for distractions like texting, web browsing, and sending out those daily tweets, because let’s be realistic, it's going to happen, and that stuff can really eat up your time. Schedule it!
3. Break up large tasks. The stress and anxiety that tackling larger tasks may cause can actually hinder your effectiveness in tackling them. Anxiety about approaching a daunting task catalyzes procrastination, one of the sworn enemies of good time management. You know that one thing you keep putting off? Chances are it’s really not that bad, but you’re brooding over how overwhelming and annoying it will be. Just thinking about a daunting task can turn something simple into something that never gets done.
Don’t be afraid to break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable segments. For example, let’s say you need to write a report on something for whatever reason, go ahead and break that up into steps: do some research take some notes, then stop, do something else, and then maybe tackle the outline next...a few hours later tackle the first paragraph. As long as you get that report done before the deadline, it doesn’t matter whether you got it done in one shot.
Coming back to something with a fresh point of view can do wonders for your creativity and reduces your chances of making a mistake. Avoid multi-tasking at all costs, opting to break tasks up into smaller ones to handle one by one, rather than handling a few things all at once.
4. Be strategic with the things you give face time to. Technology has made it super easy to keep in touch and be social without actually having to give our undivided in-person attention. Be protective of your time, and be impatient with people who want you to invest your time in things that have nothing to do with your immediate goals. Don’t feel bad skipping on social sh*t. Don’t go somewhere just because you don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings, its okay to say no.
If there’s something you absolutely have to go to, a meeting, or an important networking event, come in with a specific goal. Once you’ve done what you needed to do, clear it, guilt-free!
5. Rest, and make time for breaks. It’s common sense that being well rested will be important in managing your time well. Tiredness and mental fatigue increases stress and anxiety which can skew your perception of time, and your ability to tackle tasks in a timely manner. If you’re tired, you’ll find yourself lagging, making mistakes, and making decisions without thinking them all the way through.
If you find yourself tired as fuck on a Monday morning, schedule breaks in your to do list, and if you can, even schedule a 30 minute recharge nap throughout the day.
I didn’t make this part of the list, because I feel it’s so common sense: Reward yourself! Break up your day with little rewards for yourself when you complete a task on your to do list. Whether it is some quiet time, a nap, a long shower, or a really f*ckin’ good lunch… reward yourself. This will also help break up your day and make a really busy day go by way faster.
Now go make Monday your BITCH.
Source Credit: Valerie P. Jackson, MD. "Time Management: A Realistic Approach." J Am Coll Radiol 2009;6: 434-436. Copyright © 2009 American College of Radiology
Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival. "How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work" Entrepreneur Magazine.