There’s absolutely no doubt, that what you do on a Monday morning sets the tone for the rest of the week. And often the weeks proceeding.
I’ve learned the hard way.
If I start my week faffing about and scrolling through social feeds, the rest of my week will follow in a similar pattern. I end up drifting from one thing to another, reacting to what comes in to my inbox and I start to lose any clarity that I may have had about where it was I was headed.
At the other extreme, I have at times when I started my week with a blaze of energy, jumping into multiple projects and taking action. This may sound great but starting my week like this, I was always in danger of pinging from one thing to the next over the following days, working faster and faster until I hit Friday like a brick wall.
Over the years I have tried out different Monday morning routines, and have worked out what I need to do to keep myself on track each and every week, without over stretching myself yet still achieving what’s important to me and my business goals.
So I thought I would share these with you today to help inspire you into reviewing how you start your week and decide on the two or three key things that have to happen to ensure you remain focused and on track, without drifting through your week or hitting that Friday brick wall.
1) Check in where I am in my energy cycles
Having gone through some pretty horrid years of recovering from burn out and dealing with menopausal symptoms (still ongoing!), I now make sure I track my energy ebbs and flows. I have had to redefine my workflow and understand the patterns that I naturally go through during my menstrual cycle, as well as how I am affected by the seasonal changes, weather patterns, daylight hours and moon phases.
Some parts of my energy cycle I feel clear headed and naturally in flow. In other parts, my body feels stiff, my brain is foggier than usual and I feel myself retreating. I call these our natural Ebb & Flow energy cycles and once you start to become body conscious of them, they are incredibly powerful to help you do your best work.
So at the start of the week, I remind myself where I may be in my menstrual cycle (which has become far more erratic as I approach my menopause), where we are in the moon phase (I have a clock on the wall that tracks this for me and helps me see quickly at a glance) and what the weather may be doing in the week ahead.
If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend you get a copy of my Energy Tracker which will help you embody this work. I liken it to checking your weather app on your phone and if it says there’s 60% of rain, you’d probably take an umbrella with you if you are going out. You aren’t trying to predict how you are going to feel energetically, but preparing yourself for whether you are more like to experience ebb energy or flow energy.
And if you are interested in how your menstrual cycle in particular affects your productivity, check out this article here: Marketing with your menstrual cycle
2) Overview of my business objectives and intentions for the week ahead
Next I give myself an overview of what is happening short and medium term in my business. I have a Big Vision and a strategy for the year ahead, but for my Monday mornings, I focus on what is due to happen over the next 4 to 6 weeks. I review what I have planned and have scheduled in my diary and then I drill down what needs to happen on one piece of paper.
This “one piece of paper” concept is important. I don’t have running to-do lists that go from week to week (these can distract and overwhelm you if you never seem to get the bottom. Read more about how to-do lists distract you here.) and I actually don’t use any fancy online scheduling tools because of the time it used to take me to maintain all the notifications, priority colour changes, etc. I’ve tried various ones but this way just doesn’t work for me.
My intentions for the week get put down on to one A4 sheet of paper, and that sheet remains on my desk until the end of the week or I have completed them all, whichever happens first. I then decide who needs to do each task or short project on that sheet of paper so I either put my initials next to or the initials of somebody else that it needs to be delegated to. So quite often a lot of the things that go down there have the letter A to it, which stands for Alexia, who is my VA and looks after my client and diary management.
This is often a fairly quick exercise taking no more than half an hour or so, as long as I do this every week. If I’ve been away or haven’t done this for the past few Mondays, it can longer. Sometimes I need a bit warming up, a coffee, sometimes a walk, depending on where I am in my energy flow.
3) Money Management
The next thing I do every Monday morning, is my money management. Often it takes me just 10 or 15 minutes to dive in and get this done. I go into my Xero online bookkeeping system, where I have all my bank account reconciliations to check to see what money is coming in and what money is flowing out. I check what I need to still pay for, and what invoices of mine maybe still outstanding. And I also review my revenue spreadsheet so I know how balanced I am moving towards my financial targets for the year.
This simple process gives me a real grounding about where I am financially in my business. It’s what keeps my eye on my profitability. It makes sure I don’t get carried away with all the dozens of ideas that I’m always coming up with it, to ensure they financially benchmark against where I’m going from the money side of my business.
When I don’t do this, I could go weeks before realising that maybe my cashflow was about to dry up or I was overspending. I would often bury my head in the sand, especially when sales weren’t what they could have been, which meant I didn’t have the right energy when I showed up for my sales conversations. So now this money focus happens every single Monday morning.
4) Weekly team meeting
The fourth thing that I do is I have a zoom conference call with my team, Alexia my Operations Manager, and Melina, my Senior Coach. I didn’t really do this for the first eight or nine years of my business. It didn’t seem necessary when it was just myself and Alexia, who was more of a virtual assistant back then. But this weekly 45 minute call has made a huge difference to how we work together.
If you know me personally, or you have worked with me, you know my brain can work incredibly fast. I’m full of ideas; I’m a very creative and innovative person. And the danger of being this way is that I am always racing ahead and Alexia’s trying to keep up; trying to work out where I’m going, and what’s the latest thing I’m doing.
Our team meeting now grounds our week, gets us all focused on what is happening in our client programme, Momentum, which of our clients may need extra support, as well as what tasks are needed for events or campaigns coming up.
These are the four things I do every Monday. I’d love to know what you do each Monday morning to start your week.
Do you do the same things or do you do things differently?
Or perhaps this has inspired you to put some regular tasks or appointments in your diary every Monday morning.
What’s important is that you have a regular focus to your Monday morning (or it could be Sunday evening if you prefer – whatever works best for you) so that you don’t have to rethink Monday morning every week, and it gets you working on what and where it is you need to focus your time and energy on, rather then just jumping straight into your to-do list and reacting to the week.
Having this approach will give you that focus; reviewing, and possibly resetting your focus to ensure that you know where are in your journey and bigger plans.
If you don’t have this weekly grounding of planning, scheduling, tasking, working out where the money is, and who in your team needs to do what, it’s really easy to go adrift. It’s really easy to get carried away with ideas or get lost in the confusion and drown under information and feel you have too much to do.
So what can you do every Monday morning to start your week?
Thank you for reading. Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.
About the author
Karen Skidmore is a business mentor & coach, specialising in growth strategies for consultants, service professionals & training providers, Business Books Awards finalist 2020, Menopause Champion & Ambassador for The Hunger Project.
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