How to Monday.

How about a little lunch break reading for your Monday?


If my math is right (and I did it five times – once in my head, once on paper, and three times with a calculator), then today is my 2948th Monday. And while many of you good readers have lived through even more Mondays than I have, it seems to me that logging 2947 instances of anything, including Mondays, is enough repetition to offer at least a hint of perspective.

Somewhere around Monday #2660, which was about 5 1/2 years ago, I got a good tip on how to make Mondays less, well, Monday-ish. This morning, as I got this particular Monday in order, I was thinking about the difference that one tip has made when I’ve held true to the habit. I was also thinking it worth sharing, as the idea of teaching what I know is lighting my path ahead.

So, here’s the tip, and it’s a simple one — though you’ll have to wait until Friday to try it out (which gives you time to prepare accordingly):

Before you leave your office (or home work space, or your work mindset (if the only separation between “work” and “personal” is in your head), write your Monday morning to-do list. Not the whole week. Not even the whole day. Just Monday morning.

What will you need to do on Monday morning to get both the day and the week off to the right start?

If it helps you to do more, to write down goals or big milestones for the week ahead, then great. But the purpose of the activity is just to bridge the divide between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, so you can take a mental break over the weekend. The purpose of keeping it only to Monday morning is to make the practice so easy, so accessible, so un-daunting that it might actually become a habit.

Just the Monday morning tasks. Write them down, before you head out/check out on Friday.

Then, come Monday morning, you have a starting place. Think of it as a recalibration point, a way to reorient your brain.

Why this tip, right now?

A hunch, based on years of observation and personal experience, that this Monday, the 4th Monday in January, is when the work year starts in earnest. Although work continues all year long, what I see, year in and year out, is a kind of mental half-check-out that starts the Friday before Thanksgiving week and ends some time in mid-January.

Maybe that’s true for you, and maybe it’s not. But making a Monday morning list on a Friday afternoon is still a tip worth considering, I promise.

Happy Monday? I mean, why not?


  1. Happy Monday! Thanks for sharing this tip. I always (always!) reset my desk at the end of the day, and M-Th I jot down the top three tasks that I need to do the following day… But I have NEVER done that on a Friday afternoon! Look forward to adding this to the routine.

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