Curing the Monday Blues

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Okay. Reality check. You can't be Mr. Innovator every day. You can't be 100% brand you every day. Every once in a while, even if you love what you do for a living, you're going to get to work and wish you could take the day off and... go ride a bike. Or go surf. Or just stay home and read a good book. Whatever. The point is that some days, no matter how dedicated to your job you may be, no matter how professional you are, you aren't exactly motivated or inspired to be your awesome self and give every moment of your day the usual 110%.

What should you do when those days come to smack you in the back of the head? (Other than treating yourself and a co-worker to a particularly cool lunch?)

Dave Lorenzo has a pretty decent suggestion:

"Think of an area of your work that needs improvement. Are you always 15 minutes late to work? Do you make small mistakes when working on detail-oriented assignments? Are your colleagues not getting the information they need from you?

Whatever it is, spend today (and the week to come) focusing your effort on doing a great job in that area. Get to bed half an hour earlier, and get up on time. Not having to rush in the morning gives you a sense of peace and control. Check and double-check your work. It doesn’t take long, and you end up saving a lot of time in the long run. Make the calls you need to make to communicate about your project. It only takes a minute, and it introduces a bit of variety and social interaction into your day.

If you’ve been falling slightly short in a particular area for a while now, you may feel that it doesn’t matter anymore and no one notices or cares. This is not at all true. When the person who always comes in late suddenly starts arriving on time, people do notice. If your work is suddenly consistently free of errors, business partners notice and appreciate it. When your colleagues start hearing from you regularly and getting what they need, their opinion of you improves and they enjoy working with you more. All these things help build your reputation and establish your personal brand."

In other words, just find something that you could be doing better, and focus on fixing it. Take some extra time to identify one problem, and take care of it. It could be something as simple as tweaking your schedule, or cleaning up your active files folder, or taking a few hours to completely unclutter your workspace (that means your computer's files as well). Return all of the calls you didn't get a chance to last week. Take on a very small project you've been putting off, and spend all day working exclusively on it.

It could also be putting all of your work aside and helping a colleague work on a project that has nothing to do with you. Just to do something different. Just to learn something new. Just to do a good deed. (Remember good deeds? They're invigorating.)

You can kill two birds with one stone: a) turn a less than stellar day around by accomplishing something productive that you hadn't anticipated, and b) earning some extra style points in the process.

And remember: Days like this aren't the norm. Things will get back to normal before you know it.

Even when you don't feel like it, every day can be extraordinary. (Or at least memorable.)

Have fun. Even on blue Mondays. ;)

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