Mondays are for... all of those little administrative details that I just don’t want to do (across research, teaching, and service), catching up on emails, and planning (which I always want to do!)!
In my mind, I’d prefer to start my week with my “hardest” work - lots of writing and thinking big thoughts! However, in reality my weeks haven’t been playing out this way.
Instead, I’ve been starting the week with all the little things I put off at the end of the previous week. They aren’t necessarily mentally taxing, but when they pile up they can take a significant amount of time.
Plus, I usually experience a bit of an uphill climb to get back into work mode after the weekend. Easing into the workweek suits my general work (and life) style!
I also have office hours on Mondays, and usually try and schedule meetings early in the week so it’s rare that I’ll have long(ish) stretches of time to do deep work.
Instead of trying to force depth, I’m giving in to the rhythm and going with it.
I’m still planning to outline my tasks for the week during the Friday before, identifying the things that I’m going to do on Monday. Once Monday roles around, I’ll focus on administrative tasks, emails, and planning, plus office hours and meetings. If all of the admin, emailing, and planning gets done, I’ll move onto “harder” tasks that I’m excited about to carry me into Tuesday.
Here’s what this looked like from this most recent Monday:
Started off the day by answering/responding to emails that were sent over the weekend or late last week
A few emails required a little bit of detective work on my part, which took some time
Returned supplies to their rightful location (Ellie was in my office the Friday before and was coloring with some markers and we never got around to putting them back)
Returned my old office key
Stopped by the transportation office to ask a question about my transit pass
Stopped a few people in the hallway to ask for clarification on a few questions I received from students
Wrote an update for my online class
Set up my laptop - it was being repaired last week and was returned to me on Monday
Printed and organized assignments for grading
Drafted general assignment feedback
Had a 2 hour meeting (lunch provided)
Held office hours for an hour and a half (1 student stopped by)
There were more administrative-y things on my list that I didn’t get to, but I did cross off a number of things that had been living on my to-do list for quite some time (like returning my old office key!).
If you’re familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done book (I don’t actually think I’ve read it… I’m just familiar with some of the concepts), he writes about the ‘2 minute rule,’ which says that if a task takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.
While a lot of the things I did on Monday took longer than 2 minutes, that was my overall mindset... doing all those “little” things now to stop them from taking up space in my brain/on my to-do list.
I also felt better going into the rest of the week because I had cleared out most of the items that make my brain feel kind of chaotic, so I could focus on other things (granted, I was sick for pretty much the rest of the week so a lot of my plan went out the window… but I started out strong!).