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Even if you love your job, the angst of Mondays can leave you disorganized and spinning your wheels, explains Richard Citrin, Ph.D., MBA, an organizational and consulting psychologist and author of "The Resilience Advantage." Then you have to spend the rest of the week playing catch up.
But while Monday is going to happen whether you like it or not, that lack of productivity doesn’t have to. The key is to adopt a few smart habits on Sunday so you set yourself up for a brighter, more efficient work week.
Steal an Hour to Get Organized
To do this, open the calendar app on your phone or tablet while you’re enjoying a sports marathon on TV.
“Taking no more than an hour out from your Sunday to anticipate the week ahead and get organized will help you free up head space and reduce worry,” says Christine M. Allen, Ph.D., a psychologist, executive and coach. Check your calendar, email a note to a coworker or yourself and make a to-do list prioritizing tasks you expect to come in first thing in the a.m.
And try knocking out annoying chores earlier in the day rather than waiting until the last minute. You know the ones: laundry, meal-prep or laying out your work clothes. Do them ahead of time, and you can coast through the rest of the weekend.
Fill Your Plate With Healthy Food
An indulgent Sunday brunch or dinner can make Monday stress worse. Consuming rich, heavy food and alcohol on Sunday will leave you lethargic on Monday morning, explains Debra Nessel, RDN, CDE, a registered dietitian with Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California.
Aim for three balanced meals on Sunday, each containing lean protein and complex carbs to give you steady energy and lots of high-fiber fruits and vegetables to aid digestion and leave you feeling full. Fill your glass with plenty of water. Alcohol is dehydrating, and that brings on mental fog and sluggishness.
Add Meaning to the Day
No judgment if your preferred Sunday afternoon is spent on the couch watching "The Americans." But try doing something active that’s personally fulfilling — such as going on a hike or walking shelter dogs.
We all have things we have to get done over the weekend, but there’s something to be said for making time for activities that are consistent with your values and connect you to the people you love, says Allen. A yoga session with friends or volunteering in your community, for example, lend meaning to the day and reset your mental and spiritual batteries.
Concentrate on the Positive
A rough commute, crabby coworkers, stale coffee — the start of the workweek can bring on an endless round of small miseries. Instead of dread, focus on the positive things that can happen when you get back in the office. Maybe you'll have the opportunity to blow away new clients with fresh ideas or at least get caught up on weekend gossip.
If the problem is that, in general, you're not loving your work these days, spend time thinking about what could help you enjoy your work more. Try recalling those days when you looked forward to your job and all the hard work it took to move up the ladder. For many people, those early days were a high time in their career. Says Citrin: “Ask yourself, what’s changed since you had that feeling? What can you do differently now to help you recapture it?”
Your Monday hate might cue you to stretch your boundaries and take on different assignments — or it may mean it's time to put out feelers for something new, says Citrin.
Set Yourself Up for Quality Sleep
A good night’s rest on Sunday puts you in a more optimistic, can-do mood and leaves you feeling alert and energized.
Finish your last meal two-and-a-half hours before you plan on turning in so the digestive process is underway, says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a sleep specialist and author of "The Power of When."
Get in a decent amount of physical activity. "There is data to show that daily exercise does help with improving sleep quality," says Breus, who recommends at least 20 minutes of heartbeat-raising movement. And make alcohol off-limits before bedtime, as it can lead to fitful sleep, affirms one 2015 study.