While catching up on my Google Reader this morning, I came across a really timely article from Kristine over at My Consulting Life: 9 Signs it’s Time for a Change. When I read her list, all I could think was yes, yes, yes, and yes… which is not good. Recently, I’ve been getting stomachaches and nausea every Sunday night at the idea of returning to work on Monday – not good. While I don’t want to get into my problems at work on this blog (I draw the line there for oversharing), I thought I would talk about some coping strategies for anyone else dealing with Monday morning blues (or worse, the Sunday night stress when you know that Monday morning is just around the corner).
1. Get a handle on your to do list. Before I leave work on Friday, I make a list of exactly where I left off on each thing I’m working on, which then serves as my to do list on Monday morning. It makes it easier not to constantly think about the work awaiting you if you know that it’s already neatly recorded and ready for you to tackle it.
2. Prepare in advance. For me, Monday mornings are when I fly out to my client site, and packing is always a chore. I often put off packing the whole weekend long, and then Sunday night at 11pm, when I want to go to bed, I’m forced to run around trying to scramble up all the items I need, clean up at home, and finish any remaining items on my weekend to do list. Stressful! Now, I start thinking about packing for the upcoming week as soon as I get home on Thursday – for example, leaving my suitcase open in my bedroom so I can continually toss things in all weekend. If it gets to Sunday and I still haven’t taken the time to pack all my clothes, I do it before I do anything else for the day. That way, the stress of packing isn’t hanging over my head with everything else that I do that day, cutting my weekend short because I’m already stressed about Monday.
3. No, really, prepare in advance. Figure out what little things you can prepare in advance that will make your Monday morning go more smoothly. For example, while I’ve always picked out my Monday outfit on Sunday night (at the same time that I pack all my other clothes for the week), now I’ve started doing any necessary ironing on Sunday as well, plus laying out every accessory/undergarment in advance. Sure, it’s not that much effort to reach into my underwear drawer and grab what I need… but it makes me feel really ready and together if I have that all laid out in advance, too.
4. Plan one last hurrah. No matter how unstructured and lazy the rest of my weekend is, I try to always line something fun up for Sunday night. Last night, I went to dinner with a girlfriend. The week before, I went to a nearby friend’s apartment after dinner and played computer games with him until 10pm. Other times, I’ll enlist my roommate to watch a favorite Sunday night show. Either way, make sure that you have something good lined up for Sunday night – and if possible, try to have it go as late as possible (i.e., right up until you go to bed). Of course, for this to work, you need to make sure you’re packed and ready to go – see items 2 and 3.
5. Treat yourself. Find something to look forward to on Monday – whether it’s a special homemade breakfast smoothie before you head out to work (I like this one because it’s my last non-restaurant meal until I get home on Thursday night), a phone call to catch up and gossip with a friend (I do this in the taxi on my way from the airport to the client, but you can also just plan to sneak away from your desk for 5 minutes in the afternoon), or a plan to cut off work at a certain hour and indulge in some takeout and trashy reality TV instead of a team dinner (hooray for Bachelor Pad + sushi).
How do you deal with the Sunday night / Monday morning blues?