If you have been following my blog (rather, the two posts I made in the last one month), you would know how even setting a routine for myself made me miss being consistent at it. Over the last two weeks of not being able to blog on my site, I realised one thing – it’s okay.
Why is it okay? Well, because I didn’t spend the two weeks not doing anything. In fact, I had so much work to do that I couldn’t fit in time to blog – yes, my days started early and ended late, and I have been running from pillar to post to get things done. That’s how startups are. You need to overwork, re-strategise and sometimes re-organise everything! That’s what Mondays are for.
Here’s how to re-strategise work on Monday to have a productive week ahead:
1. Push all those Monday morning calls for later
The one thing that I find really ridiculous while working with startups or running my own, is that all the meetings seem to get scheduled on a Monday. They want to start the week with a quick update meeting that has all the members participating in it. Even if it is a client, they want to ‘get done with the call’ right in the beginning of the week. Here’s why it is wrong:
- You are not able to settle into the work routine before the meeting
- You are too distracted to work after the meeting
- You overwhelm yourself with all the team updates
- You try to relook what you have done, what you need to do next without paying heed to what’s in process
In all, you just end up spending hours trying to figure out what to do the entire week or trying to see what others are doing or are looking for. I am not saying you shouldn’t remain up-to-date with what’s happening, but it is wiser to push your meetings to a later time or day. This gives you time for a raincheck on your work and also lets you get prepared for the meeting beforehand. No one likes to blabber in front of the team!
2. Write it all down in pen and paper or digitally
The very next thing to get the work week sorted is to write down everything you have accomplished in the past week, everything you need to do and highlighting what’s important. I am using at least 10 digital tools like Trello, Evernote, Teamwork and more to organise my work, but I also like to write in down in a notebook.
While some find the duplication of tasks funny, I feel it keeps me less distracted. Instead of moving from one tool to another to view my tasks, I can refer to the notebook kept beside me. And the joy of striking off the tasks you have completed – nothing ever beats that on a Monday!
And then, focus on prioritising the tasks!
3. Implement the 2 minute rule on tasks
This one is a hack that I learnt from the internet – trust me sometimes there are tips and tricks that you can actually start using. The 2 minute rule focuses on completing tasks that barely take a few minutes first instead of trying to do them through the day. This saves you from getting distracted time and again with tasks like emailing someone, scheduling on social media or more.
Get done with everything at the beginning of the day and immediately see yourself settling into the grind or the routine for the day. I gradually like to increase the time and complete tasks that would approximately take me that long. Pretty effective when you have a lot to do, all on your own!
4. Focus on unloading first
Here’s one thing I have realised over time – there is no way you can start a week with a mind which is already full of things. I often refer to it as an overload of data. That’s exactly why unloading is important!
It is all about penning all your ideas somewhere, getting them out of your head and having them recorded in order to not lose them. This way you have lesser things to remember and can start thinking about how you’d like to take on the week ahead of you and complete the tasks effectively. Even if it is scribbling on sticky notes, just unload to reload your brain and start afresh!
5. Do the hardest of things first
One of the biggest mistakes we all make is leave the hardest of tasks in our list for later. But what actually happens is that you get so involved with the rest of your work, that by the time you get to it, you’re either too tired or your brain is back to being ‘overloaded’ with information.
This is why I like to start my week by completing the tasks that would take me much longer. Since I am starting with afresh, the ideas just keep flowing in and the task gets done way before I even start thinking ‘when the hell is this going to get completed’. Getting such tasks out of the way, get you set to sail through the rest of the week smoothly.
6. Outsource or find allies
Here’s the harsh truth no one wants to hear – you can’t do everything on your own. It is only going to result in you losing out on productivity and even missing deadlines for various tasks. That’s why you need to have work-friends or allies!
The working is simple here – you break one tasks or a list of tasks based on who is good at what, then you set out to accomplish them one after the other. Since there are two brains working at it, your list of tasks gets completed way before dawn and you’re all set to take on the next.
But for this, it is very important to find like-minded people, who are at least half as driven as you about the work you do. Imagine having to follow up or run after a person to get the work done – an absolute no-no in my list!
While there are others who say Monday needs to be put to use for completing maximum of your work, I believe the day is meant for re-organising your tasks. It may take you a few hours or an entire day, but it’ll get you set for the rest of the week with lesser moments of thinking ‘ummm…what should I be doing next?’