Managing Mondays – Is That Even Possible?

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Managing Mondays Possibilities

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays. Sort of contradiction in terms isn’t it? For a lot of people, Monday’s can be one of the hardest days to manage because it’s one of the days where we have the most coming at us. Everyone is back to work and back to the realities of the world after what was hopefully a relaxing weekend, and they’re ready to jump back on the bandwagon of life. Are you? If you take the time to plan how it will go, you will be.

You wake up Monday morning and think, “Here we go again.” The phone starts ringing. Friends & family are ready to make plans. The kids are back to school, or back to camp or their activities during the summer, you have to take them here, there and everywhere. If you work outside the home, your boss has had the weekend to think of things to give you to do. If you are the boss, you’ve thought of tasks for your underlings you have to assign. In the home? What a mess after a busy weekend! Clients and customers are calling, the PTA phones you up for an assignment, the school bake sale is Wednesday and they need emergency cupcakes. Your spouse calls and asks, “Can we do a dinner party on Thursday for some work colleagues?” You’re starting to hear, “Wha wha, wha, wha, wha wha.” Ahhh! Calgon take me away!

“Planning” Your Monday

Hopefully my last sentence didn’t age myself and I’m not about to state the number out loud, but let’s just say, I’ve lived a few years now and I’ve learned a thing or two. A thing or two about Managing Mondays. First of all, say this with me, calendar. That’s right, calendar. If you have one, great. If you don’t have one, get one soon. And by calendar, I don’t mean this little booklet you keep in your purse or on your desk to help pinpoint the day or write birthdays & anniversaries in. I’m speaking more of a calendar that’s really a planner. A planner for your life. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be paper or electronic. It can be fancy or basic, but it must be in use. Especially on Sundays.

The Buffer Zone

Sundays? Yes, Sunday. That’s the day I plan my Monday; Sunday evening. We’ll get into planning everything in your life out in other posts, but this one is about those hectic Mondays. About Managing Monday. I sit down on Sunday evening and refer to my lists, which I’ll explain in a minute, and I plan how my day will go. To the best of my ability, I write in what I need to do and what time I’m going to do it. I say to the best of my abilities, because there will always be emergencies that crop up, especially on Mondays, that’s life, and that’s Mondays. But that’s why I also schedule in “Buffer Zones.”

A Buffer Zone is a space of time, usually in ½ hour increments, where I schedule nothing. You might call it Free Time or Pending; whatever works best for you. As I’m planning my day, I schedule in 3 or 4, or more if I can, of these “Buffer Zones.” Now when someone calls me for one of these “emergencies,” I have a place to schedule them in. If I choose to. I might keep most of these spaces to conquer tasks I want to do or to just rest, but if I choose to accommodate someone, this is where I put them, so I don’t mess up my entire schedule. I’m Managing Mondays; mine! Try it the next time you plot your course for the day. Once you get used to them, they will become your favorite entry.

The Pending List

The Pending List is just that. It’s a list of tasks, or chores, or possible activities that crop up as I go about my life. Someone calls and says, “Hey, can you do such & such on Friday?” I don’t say, “Yes!” I say, “Let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Then it goes on my Pending List. There it sits until I’ve had time to digest it. Or more like, time for other things to hit the list! It’s a way for me to have time to think about it, but not forget about it. Once I’ve had time to see what else is going on, or decide if I really want to, I’ll make my decision. Then, and only then, if I decide to proceed, will it get scheduled in.

This list is especially handy for Managing  Mondays, the day when a million things are most coming at you. Now of course there are exceptions. If your boss or spouse calls you up and asks if you could do something for him or her, unless it’s something they view as opptional, it’s not going to “pend.” It’s going to go on your schedule or To Do List, but for everything else, take some time to decide who, what, when and where and most importantly, IF? Your now not-so-overloaded-schedule will thank you.

The To Do List

After the Pending List, if I’m proceeding with whatever it is, it goes on my To Do List. Some things will go right on the calendar. If I know exactly when it’s happening or I have to do it, of course it will go on my schedule. If it’s something to work on over a course of time or doesn’t haven’t a set time to be accomplished, or is something I just need to get done eventually, then it goes on the To Do List until I’m ready to schedule it in.

My To Do List is mostly what I use Sunday evenings to plan my Monday; for Managing Mondays. I go through my list, figure out what needs to get done tomorrow, or is something I want to do, and I go through my schedule and plot my day. I simply write it in my calendar and cross it off the To Do, scheduling in those all important Buffer Zones as I go. Voila! Monday is planned. I don’t wake up the next morning with all this stuff rolling around in my head because it’s already written down and when I’m going to do it.

Love Voice Mail!

What about all those calls that happen on Mondays? There’s this wonderful invention out there called voice mail. In my humble opinion, voice mail was invented for Mondays. Now of course if the school or your spouse is calling, of course you’re going to pick up. For everyone else? Why not? Let voice mail pick up the call. The reason is two-fold. Number 1, whoever is on the other end won’t be able to throw off your schedule as easy. How many times, when asked on the spot, have you said, “Yes? I’ll do that!” If you’re like me, about 1,000? If you let the call go to voice mail, if the caller wants something done, it will give you time to think about it. Put it on your Pending or To Do List and get back to them.

Reason number 2 is because you don’t have time to take the call. Your day is planned. You’re busy carrying out what’s already scheduled. You can listen to the message straight away if you want, but right now, in this moment in time, let the machine get it. Then get back to the caller in your time. Maybe the time you’ve scheduled to return calls?

Are You Managing Mondays?

See, I don’t mind Managing Mondays. They’re just like any other day to me. That’s because I don’t run around like a chicken with my head cut off. I plan how my day is going to go. There will sometimes be emergencies that crop up. That’s not just Mondays, that’s life. With a little bit of planning beforehand though, your Mondays can go off without a hitch, just like mine do. Usually 😉

Until next time, Plan Your Life Happy ~ Michele

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