Without a good strategy in place, Monday mornings can be downright daunting. Your inbox is bursting, you have 20 voicemails and three colleagues are waiting by your desk with impossible-to-ignore requests. Sometimes you don’t even have time to grab a cup of coffee before the emergencies start flooding in.
Prioritizing tasks effectively can turn a crazy Monday morning into a painless weekend-to-workday transition. You can get a handle on all of this by having an effective strategy in place before you even walk in the door. Here’s how you can get started.
Implement a “Closed-Door Policy” for a Few Hours
To be at your absolute best on a Monday morning, you’ll need some time to fuel up and catch up. This means you need uninterrupted time with only your coffee and your computer for company. Even if you typically prefer an open-door policy, give yourself a few hours at the beginning of every week to keep the door to your office closed. This is a time when you can catch up on requests that came in over the weekend and map out your priorities for the coming week.
Delegate Last-Minute Requests to a Colleague
Distractions and interruptions can hurt your productivity, BenefitsPro explains. This is especially true on Mondays, when everyone thinks their new problem is an emergency that can’t wait. To make your closed-door policy a reality, direct emergency meeting requests to a colleague or assistant. Advise him or her on how to determine which requests, if any, really require your immediate attention. Otherwise, ask that the meetings be added to your calendar for later in the day.
Use One App to Map Out Your Morning Priorities
Don’t keep meeting reminders and notes scattered across different email programs, software applications and notepads. Instead, find one app that stays synced across your phone and your computers, along with your assistant’s devices. Before you leave on Friday, schedule every task, big and small, for the coming week into your app. This will help you in prioritizing tasks and getting caught up much faster when you arrive on Monday morning. Task management apps can range from simple but functional options such as ToDoist to more complex apps such as Asana. Or consider Evernote, a popular tool for managing on multiple devices. Determining which app is best for you depends on your business’ size and needs.
Answer Emails at Designated Times
You’ll likely be distracted all day if you don’t take care of your emails and voicemails right away. During your closed-door time on Monday morning, sort through your new emails and voicemails. Answer the ones that need quick responses and schedule time to respond to the others in your task management app. If an email or a task doesn’t require your personal intervention, consider delegating it to an appropriate employee. To cut down on the distraction of incoming emails, only check your messages at two or three designated times each day.
Take Care of Yourself First
If you want to tackle Monday mornings successfully, then you need to take care of yourself first. While this may sound a little cliche, it’s important advice that’s often forgotten. Get plenty of sleep on Sunday night and try to arrive at work early so you don’t feel rushed. Exercising a little before work may help you focus better. And make sure that you truly disengage for at least one day every weekend. A burned-out mind is a distracted mind that will have a tough time following through on your Monday morning plans. According to Entrepreneur.com, disengaging for 24 hours allows your brain to recharge, boosting creativity and giving you a fresh perspective. Remember, the bottom line is that you are the priority. Take care of yourself so you can successfully tackle everything else that comes your way.