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9 ways to start your week positively (and productively)

We all get that Monday feeling. Here are nine ways you can start your week with a more positive spin, and kick your productivity into high gear

9 ways to start your week positively (and productively)

That first day back at work after your weekend. Urg. Is there anything worse? Even if you love your job (and you’re a morning person), there’s something about dragging yourself out of bed and trying to get back into the work mindset that makes a surprising percentage of us feel anxious, lethargic, and reluctant to get started.

According to one survey, nearly 62% of us dread Mondays more than any other day of the week. We feel more tired, and even spend longer complaining on a Monday, thanks to making the most of late nights, no alarm clocks and weekend lie-ins (which can throw your body clock off), not to mention over-indulging in takeaways, meals out, and alcohol (which can leave our bodies struggling to keep up).

But what if we didn’t need to start our week off with a reluctant sigh and an excessively large coffee to get through the day? What if there was a way to kickstart your week with a boost of positivity and productivity, to help you actually look forward to your week ahead?

1. Set yourself up for success

Getting your week off to the right start can take a little bit of planning – but it’s more than worth it. Take time out at the end of your last working day to create a quick-start to-do list for your first morning back. This could just be a few bullet points of urgent tasks to take a look at, a couple of notes on any outstanding emails or comms you are waiting on ready to chase up, or an outline ready to prep yourself for a morning full of meetings.

The afternoon and evening before you head back to work are just as important. Sunday night anxiety can feel like it steals precious weekend hours from us, as we lose time to doom-scrolling, give in to the temptation to get a head start on emails, or lay awake late into the night, dreading the week ahead. To avoid the negative night-before cycle, try and do something physical. Go for a long walk, cycle, or swim. Exercise can boost our mood and improve our physical health, as well helping you to physically feel ready to fall asleep that little bit earlier.

If there’s an underlying feeling of anxiety, worry or dread, don’t ignore it. Take some time to think and ask yourself: What is it that is worrying me? Is this something I can fix now? Writing things down can be a big help, and can also be handy in tracking any unhelpful patterns or habits that you may way to address.  

2. Take things slowly

Just because you’ve had a couple of days off, doesn’t mean you have to come back feeling 110% and ready to go. Be kind to yourself. Take time to catch up on emails or chat with colleagues to find out more about new tasks and priorities. Work through your to-do list. If you can, schedule in some planning time for your late morning or early afternoon. This can help you to slot in any new urgent tasks, reassess your existing priorities, and take things at a more manageable pace.

3. Give yourself something to look forward to

Having something to look forward to can help the day to feel more manageable (as well as set a more positive tone). This could be anything; why not try and:

  • Save your favourite podcast for your commute.
  • Wear something that makes you smile – like your favourite outfit, a pair of funky socks, or your lucky underwear.
  • Make the ‘good’ coffee at home to start your day.
  • Prepare a special breakfast or lunch.
  • Pick today to be the one treat day, where you get a coffee, snack, or lunch on the go.

4. Start off with a brain-boosting breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet nearly a quarter of us skip it. Starting off your day with a healthy, tasty and nutritious breakfast can help to provide your brain and body with the fuel it needs to see us through. But how do we know what’s the best breakfast to get us started? Nutritionist Resource shares nutritional therapist and coach-approved breakfast recipes to help you get started.

5. Make time for a break

Making time – and actually taking a break – can give you something to look forward to, as well as help you to feel rested and rejuvenated. Taking breaks can actually help you to feel more focused without feeling overwhelmed or burned out. Why not try the Pomodoro technique – where you take a short five-minute break after 25 minutes of focused work? Find out more about how the Pomodoro technique works with Life Coach Directory.

6. Acknowledge and embrace your feelings

‘Negative’ feelings can be challenging. Shouldn’t we always be striving to feel happy and positive? But when we push down or refuse to acknowledge unwanted or unpleasant feelings, we can risk making ourselves feel worse. Remind yourself: It’s ok to feel how you’re feeling, whether that’s good or bad. Normalising, understanding, and accepting ourselves and our emotions is far more beneficial in the long run. So give yourself permission to feel a little bit grumpy – that feeling isn’t going to last forever.

7. Pace yourself: Avoid overtime, work creep, and the ‘just one more…’ mindset

Setting – and sticking – to deadlines can be tough. But having healthy workplace boundaries doesn’t just mean switching your phone off at the end of the workday. Don’t let an unexpected influx of emails or new tasks start seeping into your breaks or taking over your lunchtime. Avoid checking your emails before your workday starts, or letting them creep into your evening routine on your commute home or while trying to relax.

When work starts creeping into your home life, you no longer have the much-needed break to let your mind rest, relax, and unwind. Having healthy workplace boundaries isn’t being selfish. Learning to say no at work can be good for you in more ways than one.

8. Try some positive affirmations

Positive affirmations can help you to feel calm, focused, energised, and uplifted. In essence, positive affirmations are a simple way of grounding ourselves and reminding us of our own strength. They can act as a small, helpful reminder of our own ability to take back control over our mindsets and reframe things to help us get through challenging times. Why not try these 20 affirmations to boost your work week, or give these 30 affirmations to create a sense of calm a try?

9. Give yourself permission to…

Not every day is going to be a winner. Putting pressure on yourself to achieve perfection adds extra layers of stress that you just don’t need. Give yourself permission to:

  • Get through the day.
  • Do the best you can.
  • Take things slowly.
  • Take a deep breath…
  • …and leave some tasks for tomorrow.