Monday motivation in lockdown
That Monday morning feeling is one most of us have experienced at one time or another. Some people get started on a Sunday evening, building up the worry and anxiety about Monday might bring, struggling to sleep so when Monday morning does arrive, and the alarm goes off, they are tired as well as anxious and Monday begins just the way they knew it would.
So as I sit here on a Sunday evening, thinking about another Monday in lockdown on its way, there's a whole new set of considerations to take in. The laptop is in its bag waiting to come back out onto the dining table. There is no train to catch, traffic jam to get stuck in, no bus to see pulling away as you arrive just too late at the bus stop. The usual topics of Monday morning conversations at the office, along with a quick grumble about the weather.
Instead, the sun has been shining, and the roads are all but empty. The journey from the shower to the laptop goes without incident. And I know that as I send the 'new' usual 6:30am text to wish the teams another good morning, and offer the latest check in question, the responses will come in just that little bit later with each week. So when we don't have that train to rush for, no office dress code to consider, what does provide that push to help us kick start a Monday?
Well, some of us are inclined to move towards our goals. We may keep a to do list and get a sense of achievement each time one more task is ticked off the list. The sort of people who set their mind on something and keep going until they achieve it. And others seem to find their motivation by the consequences that come if something doesn't get done. They really kick into action as a deadline approaches, sometimes having seemingly left everything until the last minute. And we will all find ourselves somewhere on the spectrum between the two extremes. So, start by noticing whether you seem to move towards things, or away from the consequences. And then set a goal, or arrange for some consequences.
We seem to be wired more in the 'away from' group in our household. So that report, or piece of work, that is due Monday morning, will still be waiting to be done on Sunday evening. Its serving a purpose - its part of the motivator to stick to the routine of up early on Monday, and getting straight into work mode. There's no journey so its the equivalent of rushing to catch the train. But, while it provides motivation, it can bring with it two very different feelings.
The first is that sense of dread that accompanies the Sunday evening build up to Monday that many people experience. That expectation of all the things that are going to go wrong, the things they don't want to do, the worry about the tasks awaiting them. And the second is the knowledge that the deadline will be met, and that there is still an evening to enjoy, a good night's sleep, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Its is not the task that is different, only our response to it.
"There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live."
The increasingly popular use of meditation and mindfulness helps us to focus on the present, noticing what is happening now. Dwelling on what might have been if we'd just done that task on Friday, doesn't change the situation. We can feel guilty, regretful, ashamed, or accept that the task is still incomplete and no amount of worrying about Friday or Monday will change anything, other than our happiness.
As I write this, I also realise how lucky I am to be considering another working Monday during lockdown.
Many people are unable to work, and potentially without income during this time. Others are facing very different working conditions, with many feeling isolated and alone. Key workers often juggling working from home with home schooling. Others continuing in roles where they are in contact with the public each day.
And these social changes are bringing out both the best and the worst in people. Kindness and compassion, or anger and despair. Feeling gratitude without expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. So during these interesting times I am choosing to express my gratitude by offering a free coaching session every day, to keyworkers. There are no catches. Just get in touch through the website and find out if a listening space, or life coaching session might help. Maybe a reward for making it through Monday, or even something to kick start the day.