Attention! If you expect a mere bullet-point list of random actions to carry you through another week of work - you’re wrong. Deep rootwork in sight!
No matter what life situation you’d count yourself in at the moment. Whether you’re currently doing an apprentice- or internship, just started a new job, switched jobs or whether you’ve been in the same job for years. Every one of us had that “Why-can’t-it-be-Sunday-tomorrow” feeling. On a Sunday.
I have found that when you ask people what makes a good start to the week for them, often very specific actions are named: listening to your favourite music, having a healthy breakfast, wearing your favourite outfit etcetera. Without denying their positive influence on our Monday mood, I personally believe the mighty roots of feeling sluggish and demotivated on a Monday to lie far deeper. And listening to your favourite music is much closer to trimming the overground leaves of this bothering weed than profoundly uprooting it. If not taken care of asap, it will only grow much deeper and more resilient roots and will make it harder to be removed and replaced with a healthy, energetic plant.
Maybe some of you have heard of the “Core Satellite” model that takes its origin from the subject area of investment theory. Personally, I do like to map the thought of this model on various other parts of our life. The key message here is to get the very Core of a particular topic/issue right in order to create a fundamental, healthy base and additionally enable your personal, smaller and surrounding Satellites to realise their full potential. In context of today’s topic – a good week’s start – I want to provide you with what I have found and experienced this very Core to consist of and believe to be universal to anyone who’s just now reading these words: i.e. YOU!
Although I must admit Blue Monday ’88 by New Order to be one of my favourite oldie songs (which can also be found in our Charly’s Ride or Die playlist on Spotify), I certainly do believe that in work life there is barely worse than suffering from Monday Blues week after week. For all parties involved - your employer, employees, co-workers, supervisors or customers - but most importantly yourself. In brief, it hinders you from reaching a decent level of work quality delivered as you’re being robbed your even basic vigour for your responsibilities – let alone the influence on your private activities and encounters.
Of course, to some extent work is a means to an end and to make a living but just as my colleague Jona wrapped up in his last blog: “Work is life and life is work. Things will get really intertwined over the next decades.“ Unfortunately, too many times we don’t see things as they are, we tend to see them as we are. Perspective and attitude are everything. See it as an opportunity to dive into and develop, not a mere duty. And if there is a phase which is no fun – which will certainly come up – but you just have to get through to arrive on the sunny side again: (wo)man up! There are better days to come. In the meantime, value the smaller things you like about work even more, the Satellites of a good work week that extend your Core although it’s not in best condition at the moment. Don’t let negativity, especially that of other people who consistently complain about tomorrow being Monday, influence and oppress you. Stay positive, do what you enjoy (or better love) and enjoy (or better love) what you’re doing, and you’ll realise Monday to be a day just like all other six.
This might sound contrary at first. But work and life getting intertwined is not to be mistaken with not having any free time and not living for your time-off is not to be mistaken with making the very best of it. It is the exact reason to make the very best of it. Don’t let time just pass by – seize it!
All of us also had that feeling at the end of a week-off, a day-off, after work or after lunch break where you get annoyed about not having seized the time or barely having done anything that actually would have done you good. Listen to your body and mind and give it whatever you believe it really needs. Bring in variety, especially in comparison to time spent with work. Do something that frees your mind, that charges you with positivity and energy, that distracts you from your work thoughts and topics. Doing what you enjoy and love doing obviously also accounts for your time-off - especially those things you miss most during busy worktime. Is it a good lunch/dinner with your two closest friends, a heavy cycling tour that you’ll still feel three days after, reading a good book or just strolling around your neighbourhood? You’re the master over yourself and you know yourself best!
In addition, firstly, take your larger day-off highlights, break them down and integrate them into your workdays in a smaller manner. Secondly, make sure to have an eye on the mid- to long-term positive influence of what you’re going to decide for. These two points will allow you to make a big step towards avoiding weeks, months and years with fluctuating highs and lows and brings soothing harmony and balance yet variety.
This is a very short but, in my opinion, super important third point and accounts for your time-off as well as for your worktime. Ask yourself what type of person you are concerning the outlooks of your time ahead. Do you prefer to have a structured plan for your time-off and worktime? Or do you prefer to just go with the flow? I believe that somewhere in between you will find your golden mean. Be aware of what’s coming up in order not to be presented with a fait accompli but make sure to add your personal pinch, tablespoon or cup of laissez-faire to the mixture.
You might have noticed that I’ve slightly moved from the point of starting your week right to managing your intertwined work-life-balance in general. This is due to the self-reinforcing nature of all three points on the topic I chose in the first place. Take your time and think about it. And to put the upper two pages into a nutshell:
ONE - Rethink and develop your perspective on life and work. Stay positive - find and do what you love and vice versa!
TWO - Do great stuff in your free time, integrate variety and cool experiences into your daily life and make sure to keep it consistent - no weekend rollercoaster please!
THREE - Find your perfect mixture of going with the flow and planning. You’ll know what’s going on and remain on top but still maintain the necessary serenity to actually LIVE!
Ultimately, when you believe to – and please be aware that getting to a certain attitude will take its time – have your Core set, don’t forget to get your satellites right in order to leverage your “This-is-going-to-be-an-insane-day/week/month” Core to the next level.
Even though I promised you not to deliver a bullet-point list, I want to deliver some food for thought on what your Satellites might be. Working really well with me