Loathing Monday is so popular it’s almost a meme. Ever heard of these?
- “Monday sucks”
- “Mondays, amirite”
- “It’s Monday again”
- “I have the Monday blues”
Don’t get me wrong: sometimes it DOES suck. Maybe you are working extra on the weekend. Maybe you had a series of bad sleep. Maybe the kids are tiring you out. It happens. That’s life.
But if none of this applies and you still find yourself loathing Mondays on autopilot, it’s probably because you’re starting your week on the wrong foot: by doing mindless, uninteresting work.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, the universal truth is: work is not always interesting (surprise surprise). There will always be stuff that you prefer not to do if you can help it.
Starting your Monday with those tasks upfront will set you on the wrong momentum and flushes your week down the drain. The key is to get yourself rolling on the right momentum.
Eating the creative frog
Mark Twain has this to say about doing the hard things:
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Doing the most intense work first will give you a focus momentum. A flow state. But what if you can put yourself in a creative flow state?
Immersing yourself into intense creative work will give you a creative momentum. Not only that you’re in the zone now, you’re also making the brain more receptive to creative ideas as the week goes. It helps you to get to the zone of narrow creativity.
One way to look at it is to view your weekly tasks into three categories: creative tasks, procedural tasks, and menial tasks.
Let’s say you are a designer-entrepreneur, the creative tasks you have on the table are probably things like thinking about business strategies, wireframing new landing page design, or writing a blog post.
Creative tasks sometimes borderline feels like play. It’s the kind of work where you throw ideas and slowly shape them to be more concrete.
Procedural tasks are usually about building on a well-defined territory. It gets you to flow state via a prolonged focus on details instead of creativity.
Setting up Google ads campaign (My personal worst nightmare), editing a podcast, or building an already fleshed out design concept are mostly procedural tasks.
Menial tasks are usually reactive, repetitive, and not that interesting. You probably don’t need a lot of brain energy to do it. Things like replying to (most) emails, scheduling social media content, and
Zoom meetings spreadsheets work usually falls under this category.
If you can, never start with menial tasks.
Put yourself the focus and creative momentum by doing creative tasks first. If you’re running out of creative juice, you can switch to doing menial tasks, or just take a break.
Of course, there are cases where the less important work is actually more urgent. In that case, try to knock those as quickly as possible.
Set the goalposts
It’s hard to get creative work “done”. There will always be an ad copy you can optimize, blog post paragraphs you can rewrite, designs you can polish. It’s endless.
There’s a risk you’ll get too deep into the rabbit hole and won’t have the time to finish other tasks. This is where you need to be discipline on setting the “done.”
Set the goalposts for the creative task and stick with it.
If you’re doing design work, set it to “finish the first version of the wireframe in 2 hours”. If you’re writing a blog post, limit it to the “finish the first version of the outline in 1 hour.”
Always set yourself up for small wins as you go. The road to creativity is paved with it.
But I’m an employee…
Entrepreneurs usually have the flexibility to work on creative tasks first thing on Monday. If you’re working for someone else, sometimes you don’t have the same wiggle room and privilege to choose.
My suggestion is to still spend a bit of time every Monday to do something creative, even if it’s just an hour after work hours. I’m not necessarily advocating working extra hours, but starting the week by creating anything might take you to places you’d never expect to be.
So to sum up:
- To get the best of your week, make your Mondays creatively packed.
- Eat the most creative frog. Pick the tasks that stimulate your creativity the most.
- When you’re running out of creative battery, recharge it by doing some menial tasks.
- Set the goalposts for “done” and stick with it. Make constraints your friend.
Once you build momentum, the only way is up. Don’t be afraid of intense creative work first thing on Monday.
Are you ready to eat the creative frog?