Do your Mondays seem to whiz by without your ever getting a chance to write?
That has been me, for a long while now. It always seems like by the time I answer Freelance Writers Den questions and blog comments and email, and maybe do a little research or planning, the day is over.
I often feel like if I looked at the clock, I would see it spinning around wildly like when they want to show time-lapse in movies!
The fact that my kids now have an early-dismissal school schedule that means they arrive home two hours earlier every single Monday is not helping, either. (Thanks, budget cuts!)
Recently, I decided I needed to get serious about reclaiming some productive writing time on Mondays. Here are the steps that are working for me:
1. Write a to-do list on Friday
I try not to leave the office without a list of the urgent priorities for the next day. That was working well Monday-Thursday, but I often failed to get my list together on Fridays. Getting serious about taking a few final minutes to prioritize before my week wraps helps me hit the ground running Mondays and get right to the important stuff.
2. Keep regular sleep hours
It’s always tough to stay on schedule on the weekend — we all want to sleep in! But a renewed effort to stay on the same schedule means less head-fog on Mondays when I suddenly try to get up hours earlier. And that means I’m more likely to feel I have the energy and focus for writing.
3. Write before your day “begins”
I was recently influenced by a post about how Jeff Goins writes something every morning before he checks email. I’ve adopted this habit now, and it is fantastic!
I’ve discovered the world will not end if I don’t respond to emails before 9:30 or 10 a.m. instead of at 8:30. And once I start looking at emails, it’s easy to get pulled onto other people’s agendas and off my own priorities.
Writing first before the blizzard of requests and questions hits means I’ve got one important thing checked off for sure. I feel more in control and get more writing accomplished.
If writing first thing doesn’t work for you, block out another sacrosanct writing time in the day when you will shut distractions out and write, no matter what else you have on your plate.
4. Write what you want
Since Mondays are hard to get traction on, I tend to schedule fairly easy writing projects such as my own blog posts, ebooks, or course materials. On the other hand, I rarely try to write a lengthy feature article for a magazine or post for my Forbes blog on Mondays — those posts require a lot of research and take a lot longer to write.
Since I want to get through a draft in one sitting, and often have a lot of other tasks on Mondays, I try not to schedule any tough client deadlines for Mondays.
5. Mini-blitz on Sunday
I hate to tell writers to give up weekend time since I really believe in work-life balance. But I’ve discovered if I can put in a couple of hours somewhere on the weekend, I can clear the underbrush of administrative tasks out of the way and have a more focused and productive Monday. Since I never work on Saturdays, for me that means grabbing some time Sunday when the kids are in religious school or on playdates.
The bottom line is that I can’t afford to let one of the five weekdays go down the drain while I potz around trying to get in gear. I feel less panicked and like I’m “behind” as I head into the rest of the week when I get some writing done on Day One.
How do you make Mondays productive? Leave a comment and share your tip.