How to Handle Monday Madness
We all have those days, don't we? When every day feels like Monday. But Monday's really are the worst!
It seems like it's been much longer than two days since you last looked at that pile of papers, and your To-Do list, both of which have grown exponentially since Friday evening when you left for home! Or if you work from home, and you step into your home office, suddenly you are confronted with what seems way more than you left on Friday!
So, what can we do to make the day seem a little less stressful?
Let's start by prioritizing the work load. We're going to put things into three categories: Immediately, Afternoon, and Tomorrow. Yeah, it really is that simple.
If it's papers lying on the desk, you'll want to make three piles. Go through those papers, or files, and place them in the appropriate category: Things you must take care of immediately, those things that can wait until afternoon, and those things that could wait until tomorrow if you can't get to them today. (Yeah, I have those days,too. Sometimes, there simply isn't enough hours in the day!)
Now, let's look at those pesky emails. Because I get so many "junk" emails from sponsors and different groups, it is easier for me to go through and instead of deleting, I scroll through to those items that need my immediate attention, and take care of them as I go through them. When I get to the bottom of the emails, I've already done those things that needed done immediately. Now, in my email folders, I keep two folders for Afternoon, and Tomorrow. Okay, you guessed it! I go back through the emails and file those items that need to be moved into their appropriate folder. Once I've moved those two categories over, I'm left to either read through the other emails, or delete as I choose. (A little hint on your emails, go through those junk emails and mark them as junk.That way they will go into your Spam folder. Now, once a month, go through your Spam folder and unsubscribe from all those junk emails. You should find an unsubscribe link at the bottom, or top, of each of those. And if not, simply block the sender.This will help keep those pesky junk emails to a minimum.)
Have you checked you voicemail messages yet? Sometimes I do that first, but usually my phone alerts me to those things, so I can wait until now to look at them. Be sure to listen carefuly to each one. Again, prioritize your voicemail's. If it's Mom, and she just wants to confirm dinner for Wednesday evening, it can wait till you take your lunch break. However, if it's a new client who'd like to speak to you about a research project, then get back to them immediately. Never put off a business call for later, unless you absolutely have to. Keep a good rapport with clients is what keeps the business going!
Now let;s look at the postal mail. Yeah, I know, even that is becoming a thing of the past. Right? Well, we still need to look at it. Toss the junk mail directly into the trash. Yes, you heard me. Don't open it. Don't look at catalogs, or magazines. Unless a magazine is work related, toss it. (You're much better off subscribing to a digital version of magazines you enjoy reading for pleasure. But make sure you read it at home, on YOUR times. Never when at work!) And you can also subscribe to digital work related magazines as well! Many of them allow you to archive them, so you can always go back and look at past editions. Some even archive them on their website, which makes for a super way to read anything you want! But, wait until you've finished your regular work before reading work related magazines. Or, even wait until you are at home. Or during your buss or train commute. Again, you need to utilize the the Immediately, Afternoon, and Tomorrow strategy with the mail. Take care of those things that need immediate care first. Place the others into the two piles appropriately.
Now your desk has three piles on it. Begin with that one you have labeled Today. Simply start at the top of the pile, and work until the pile is gone. When it is, take a coffee break.15-minutes only! Now get back to it. Let's work on that Afternoon pile. Work completely through it. Don't leave any of it for tomorrow. Take your lunch break, and an afternoon break, as you should. Then get right back to it. If there's time, get started on the Tomorrow pile once you've completed the Afternoon pile.
In this manner, you should be able to complete any incoming work daily.
Of course, you'll have your regular work to accomplish, as well, depending upon what your job is. If it's research, you'll need to set aside time for research, writing reports, etc. But with this method, you should be able to work your way through those mundane, "housekeeping" chores of the office.
Of course, if you're really one of the lucky ones, you've got a secretary who can handle all of these things for you! And if not, then consider hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to help out with these chores. They are relatively cost effective and leave you to attend to the nuts and bolts of your work.
If you have found this article helpful, please don't hesitate to share your comments!