Are you the type of person who dreads Monday morning?
For so many of us, Monday is the start of a new work week. That means a whole new set of challenges, annoyances, and frustrations.
And even if you don’t suffer from the dread of Mondays, you’re probably aware that the kind of day you have on Monday can determine the kind of week you’re about to experience.
It’s important to set yourself up for success. How you start your week is crucial for how you will continue it.
Whether your week begins on Monday morning or not, here are some things successful people never do to start off a productive and fulfilling week:
1) Wake up late
A 4 AM alarm clock followed by a cold shower may be your idea of torture. But there’s no getting around the fact that successful people rarely sleep late.
Successful people as diverse as Apple’s Tim Cook, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, and media mogul Oprah Winfrey are all reported as getting up in the small hours of the morning.
Partly, it’s because most other people don’t, and so they can attend to the day’s most pressing business in the relative calm of the morning when other people aren’t yet awake.
You don’t have to go to these lengths. But it is important to make sure you don’t sleep late.
Several studies have found that staying up late at night and therefore getting up late in the morning can be a predictor of symptoms of depression, regardless of the quality of sleep participants experienced.
Of course, getting up too late can also make you late for work, and that’s a stressful way to start your week.
2) Skip breakfast
The old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day may not be literally true.
However, a healthy breakfast is an important way to get your energy levels to where they should be and carve out some you time before the chaos of the day.
What you eat for breakfast and when you eat it is up to you.
However, Dr. Austin Perlmutter recommends replacing sugary processed breakfast cereals with healthy fat, protein, and fiber.
This provides the energy you’ll need to get a good start on the day and on the week.
3) Avoid exercise
I’ll admit, I’m not a morning person. I need to ease into my day, and the last thing I need first thing in the morning is a lot of strenuous exercise.
However, having a healthy body is part of having a healthy mind. And you can’t function at your best if you are out of shape and tired all the time.
It’s important to get some exercise into each day if you can, and for many successful people, the morning is the ideal time to do that.
With fewer distractions, you can focus on your workout and get yourself in great shape for the week ahead.
4) Show up late
This goes back to my earlier point about getting up early, but it bears repeating.
Education author Alfie Kohn points out that people who are often late for work come across as inconsiderate and disrespectful to their colleagues.
Plus, having to rush to work because you left your house too early is a sure way to increase your stress levels before you’ve even gotten to the office.
Showing up late is one of the worst ways you can possibly start your day, and it’s something successful people take big steps to avoid wherever possible.
Maybe you should do the same.
5) Start work without a plan
What’s the first thing you do once you arrive at work at the start of your week?
If you dive straight into the tasks that have been piling up waiting for you, there’s a good chance you aren’t making the most of your work week.
Successful people start their days by consulting their agenda and determining what tasks need to be done first.
This allows them to plan out their week and focus on the most impactful parts of their job.
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. So make a plan for your week first thing on Monday morning, and you’ll soon see the benefits in the quality of your work.
6) Expect everything to go smoothly
Some people make success look easy. But the reality is, there are always road bumps along the way. What really determines success is how well you deal with them.
High performers plan out their day, their week, and even their month, year, or beyond.
But they also understand that a plan is not foolproof.
Successful people know that things will go wrong. Therefore, they plan for it.
Leave some time in your schedule for unexpected tasks and challenges, and you’ll find your week going much more smoothly.
7) Respond to every email as it comes in
This is an easy trap to fall into. But it’s a dangerous one.
Monday morning may bring an avalanche of email and other notifications that have come in over the weekend and seem like they need to be urgently dealt with.
But as author Alex Pang points out, dealing with notifications as they come in can lead to poorer concentration and performance in other areas.
Maybe that’s why people like Steve Newman, founder of visibility platform Scaylr, set the expectation with their colleagues that they will only answer email and other notifications at set times during the day and will not always be instantly reachable.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to always be on.
Instead, control your notifications so that responding is only part of your day’s work, not the whole thing.
There’s always a temptation to avoid an unpleasant task. If you have something ahead of you that you don’t want to do, the temptation to procrastinate and put it off can be overwhelming.
But that’s a mistake.
Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Alphabet, insists on doing things the moment he knows they need to be done.
Mirjam Stoffels, founder of seven2success and author of Daily Little Secrets to Success, recommends avoiding perfectionism and dealing with things when they need to be dealt with instead of waiting for the ideal solution.
Monday morning can seem like the ideal time to put things off, since it can feel daunting to have a whole week ahead of you.
But tackle your top priority straightaway, and you’ll set yourself up to have a much more productive and less stressful week.
9) Say yes to everything
At the same time, it’s important to remember that you’re not superhuman. Success requires hard work, but that doesn’t mean you have to be everything to everyone.
Successful people know that there are only so many hours in the day and only so much a single person can do. That sometimes means saying no to people’s demands.
Saying no is how we establish boundaries, both in the workplace and outside of it. That’s as true on Monday morning as it is at any other time of the week.
10) Worry about the week ahead
As I mentioned earlier, successful people plan their day, their week, and more.
But planning is a very different thing from worrying.
Once you’ve made a plan for the week ahead – and perhaps written it down to keep you accountable – let it go.
You should check your agenda frequently to ensure you are on track with your tasks. But don’t worry about things you can’t control that may come up over the next few days.
As Dr. Fredric Neuman writes, “worry is frustrated planning”.
In other words, we worry about the things we can’t effectively plan for.
But while planning is a useful way to keep us on track and deal with what the future may bring, worry is counterproductive.
It creates stress and anxiety and can actually harm our performance.
Creating detailed plans for how to approach challenges is one of the best ways to stop yourself from worrying about them.
Plan, but don’t worry.
Starting a successful week
There’s no magic secret to the perfect Monday.
Instead, there is a series of small but important steps you can take to set yourself up for the best possible workweek.
These steps require discipline. But as with anything in life, what you get back is often a question of how much you are willing to put in.