This is the first installment in a semi-regular blog series outlining personal wellness and productivity tips I’ve tried and found successful from an amature level. This is How I Did It…
Just before the start of summer, I had made plans with an old friend to grab drinks and “catch up.” She was one of those people that you meet in person once but stay in contact with digitally and over the last few years our lives had changed — quite drastically. So, this catch-up was more than welcomed… it was necessary. And, it went well. She was well. I was well. All was well. Life was good and we (two perpetual busy bodies) were moving-and-grooving through this thing called life.
As we were wrapping up we made plans to reconnect sooner rather than later to revisit some things we’d be able to help each other with. (You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours – kinda thing.)
“I’m free Monday,” I suggested, “After five. Happy hour?”
“Oh, no. I don’t take meetings on Monday,” she said quickly, “It’s what keeps me a happy lawyer.”
Shocked and a little caught off guard I offered up my availability at her earliest convenience to which she only delve further into the reasoning behind “no Monday meetings” before actually picking a day. Her story inspired me to inspect my own work/life balance and really pay attention to an issue that had been plaguing me for a very (very!) long time:
For as long as I can remember I had always dealt with serious anxiety and discomfort over the weekends. (I know, ridiculous.) One of the two days I’d spend the majority day working on things that needed to be caught up on for the week to come, and the other day, I’d stress about the Monday to come. Mondays for me had gotten completely… manic. I had filled the entire day (from 9am until 5pm) with back-to-back meetings and a scheduled fifteen minute lunch.
Needless to say, I had become more than overwhelmed by the thought of a fast-approaching Monday morning, I had come to resent them altogether. One day, I remember sitting in my regular Thursday evening therapy session and going over with a — fine tooth comb — the day-to-day processes that lead to my overall state of anxiety. After nearly an hour of making excuse after excuse, I had to admit: I fill my entire Monday with work-work-work and instead of catapulting me into productivity central, it debilitates me. I’m overwhelmed and it’s all my fault. It’s my fault.
“Good,” my therapist said in her usual monotone (read: cocky?) voice, “Now, create a plan to solve that problem. I want to see what you come up with. But, don’t overthink it..”
(She knows me so well.)
Over the course of that weekend, I took a good hard look at my professional and personal schedules. I made a list of all the things I’m responsible for, where my energy is needed, and where it isn’t; what requires my physical attention and what doesn’t. (This is also known as prioritization.) I started playing with my schedule — “move this here” hmmm “move that, there” — and almost as soon as I made that first adjustment …I knew this change was actually going to work. (Read: No need to confirm with the doctor. “I got this!”)
Monday, June 6th at 9am — I began my usual weekly call with a client to review the state of the union, their projects, and our overall productivity of our sessions. “Are Monday mornings the most conducive time for your schedule, for us to meet?”
“No,” he said, “Actually, I’ve been wanting to change it forever but didn’t know what your schedule was like.”
And just like that, shift happened; as the day went on I began asking all of my other clients the same question and every single one of them had another day they would have preferred to meet. Actually, making matters even better, everyone took a different day.
Now I can honestly say, with overwhelming excitement and a palpable sense of gratitude, after two months of redirecting, rescheduling, reworking, and re-evaluating my schedule: I no longer have (or will have) any required physical office hours on Mondays, anymore.
What does this even mean?
This means, I no longer take meetings on Monday. It means I no longer schedule coffee dates, Skype sessions, Google Hangouts, or anything else that requires me to put any type of block in my calendar. It does not mean that I sit in my pajamas and do nothing all day, actually, it means the complete opposite. It means that I’m able to use Monday for what it’s supposed to be: A jumping-off point for the rest of the week. A moment in time that we welcome the start of not only a new week but a new chance to excel. (Right?)
It also means, from now on when I start an email with “Happy Monday!” — I mean it!
On the to-do list for today: (1) Get caught up on the emails I neglected while working on design projects over the weekend. (2) Content generation for client blogs and social media. (3) A solo lunch, an hour long — if you can believe it. (4) Client social media engagement and content posting. 😉