Today is Monday, and if you’re like me, Monday is highly productive. Actually, although I don’t have any direct evidence, I feel comfortable saying that for many people, Monday is the least productive day of the week. Raise your hand if you disagree. Nobody? Great.
Since we can have a hard time kicking ourselves in the pants (or even putting on pants) when it comes to Mondays, let’s look at some quick tricks to give ourselves the shot in the arm we need to feel productive on America’s most hated day of the week.
1. Make lists
This is easy and I think it’s safe to say that these days, most people do this. Step one is to make a prioritized list. What needs to be done? What’s time sensitive and what’s most important? Write it all up. That way you get that miniature endorphin kick from marking off items, and you know exactly what needs to be done. Full disclosure: I sometimes write down things I already did just to mark them off. Hey, whatever it takes, right?
2. Shut up and do it
You’ve got a list. Great! Most of us ignore the tough things and go straight for the easy ones and get that sweet endorphin kick from marking it off. Ahhhh….
Now that you’ve marked the first thing off your list, it’s time for some Youtube! This is where procrastination starts. Getting one thing done makes you feel pretty good, and fairly productive, so it’s easy to think you deserve break. You probably don’t, and you know it. This should go without saying, but most of the time, in order to get back in the groove, you just need to shut up and get back to work. Block out the distractions, stop staring at your inbox hoping it will ping full of something you’re interested in doing, and just get on top of the next thing on your list. “I’m tired, I’ll do it tomorrow,” you say. I don’t want to hear it, get to work!
3. Don’t break the chain
If there are certain tasks you need to do each day but struggle to, it’s useful to use the “Don’t Break the Chain” or “Seinfeld” technique. Named for the method comedian Jerry Seinfeld uses to get things done, this technique is very simple. Each day you complete a daily task, you mark it on your calendar. Once you’ve got a few days marked off, you’ll see a nice chain building across the week. The idea is that you’ll feel guilty if you break the chain, and the guilt keeps you on track. Let the thought of ruining all your progress motivate you. Eventually, you’ll do the task without even thinking about it.
4. Look at baby animals
This is ridiculous, we’re supposed to be doing work, why am I telling you to look at puppies? Didn’t I just tell you not to take a break? Well, this time I’m not just being a whimsical goofball, I’ve actually got some science to support my opinion that looking at puppies and kittens is productive. Just be sure you do it when you actually did earn a break. According to a study by researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan, students who viewed pictures of cute baby animals performed tasks more productively than those who didn’t. Score one for the cute cat industrial complex.
5. (Bonus) Look at these tips
BuzzFeed posted a great article on the thirteen best ways to get through a tough day with suggestions that range anywhere from pretending you’re a penguin, to looking pretty, to simply thanking your lucky stars you’re not 2007 Britney Spears– it’s really helpful step back and realize how good you’ve got it, even if it is another stupid Monday.