How to be Productive on a Monday Featured Image

How to be Productive on a Monday

Nobody can boast of an ever-constant productivity level. Everyone faces a productivity slump every now and then. 

And it’s not just the Friday afternoon or summertime that spell disaster for your productivity. The worst culprits are the dreaded Monday mornings.  

A study presented at the 2023 British Cardiovascular Society Conference found that more heart attacks happen on Mondays than on any other day. 😲 

But why are Mondays so stressful for most professionals? 

Let’s explore the psychology behind the Monday blues and how you can keep them at bay.

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Understanding the Monday Productivity Dip

There’s been enough research to prove how employees are more likely to start their Mondays feeling low rather than excited. Some common productivity killers that bring out the Monday blues may be:

  • Lingering stressors: Unresolved issues and pending deadlines from the previous week can cause anxiety. This makes it hard to concentrate and get things done on Monday
  • Social jetlag: Whether it’s sacrificing sleep for socializing or attempting to catch up on lost rest, a different sleep schedule for the weekend can disrupt your sleep cycle, leaving you feeling tired and less productive
  • The “new week, new beginning” mindset: Monday may seem like the perfect time to start fresh, but trying to tackle everything might make you lose focus and prone to mistakes, further stressing you out
  • Inbox 1000-something: Facing a flooded inbox on Monday morning can be overwhelming. You might have to spend your working hours combing through a backlog of emails, pushing back your actual work

A survey by B2B Reviews found that 25% of employees are less productive on Mondays, 50% experience higher stress on Mondays, and 57% wish Mondays were part of the weekend (a definite preference for 4-day work weeks).

The same survey also elaborates on two other mindset shifts in employees:

  • Remote Mondays: 76% of hybrid workers preferred working from home on Mondays. They felt this helped them start their weekly slowly, avoid long commutes, and align with their family schedule
  • Bare minimum Mondays: One in four employees only did the most basic work on Mondays—hitting inbox zero, attending meetings, and planning for the week ahead

The same survey also found that onsite employees were more likely to feel stressed on a Monday than remote or hybrid employees. 

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Strategies to Boost Your Monday Productivity

We’ve seen some common factors that can lead to low productivity levels on Monday mornings. Now, let’s explore how to deal with them and be more productive—so you start your Mondays bright, excited, and recharged.

Starting your day early

One of the easiest ways to beat the Monday morning slump is simply starting the day early. This benefits you in two ways:

  • It gives you extra time to prepare and organize your tasks for a productive day ahead
  • It signals to your brain that it’s time to transition into work mode, reducing the likelihood of feeling disoriented or demotivated

Starting strong on Monday creates a sense of momentum and achievement that carries over into the rest of the week. 

You can also use the extra morning hours (and uninterrupted time) to review your weekly goals, set your intentions, and plan your tasks for the coming days. 

An easy way to do this is using a digital tool like ClickUp Whiteboards. It gives you an almost infinite canvas to visualize your plans. Plus, it’s always accessible (on your laptop and mobile devices), and even comes with a ready-to-use template. 

ClickUp Whiteboard
Visualize your weekly goals and progress with ClickUp Whiteboards

The ClickUp Work Plan Whiteboard Template can help you break down your goals and projects, add tasks for each project, and monitor your weekly progress from one place. 

Plan your week and monitor your progress with the ClickUp Week Plan Whiteboard Template

Use it to build out your ClickUp workflow and visualize it any way you want—as a List, Gantt chart, Workload view, or Calendar view. The built-in comment reactions, automations, AI, and collaboration tools will further simplify project planning for you.

Plus, if you’re working with teammates, you can collaborate on the Whiteboard together, assign tasks to each other, get status updates, and visualize your brainstorming sessions on the Whiteboard itself. 

Pro tip: If you find Mondays overwhelming, use ClickUp Tasks to capture all your upcoming tasks over the weekend. You can group tasks by categories to build a database for different Task Types. This will clear your mind and allow you to start fresh on Monday with a clear to-do list.

Prioritizing your tasks

Once you know which tasks you’ve to work on, the next tip is to prioritize them. Use ClickUp’s Task Priorities to categorize tasks in order of urgency and importance as follows:

  • Urgent: Tasks with critical deadlines or immediate consequences for not being completed. (High Importance & High Urgency)
  • High: Important tasks that should be completed soon, but without the immediate pressure of Urgent tasks. (High Importance & Medium Urgency)
  • Normal: Standard tasks that contribute to your goals but can be scheduled with some flexibility. (Medium Importance & Medium Urgency)
  • Low: Tasks with minimal impact or can potentially be delegated or postponed. (Low Importance & Low Urgency)

This way, you have a proper roadmap to begin your work week.

Another excellent way to do this is by following the Eisenhower Matrix. Also called the Urgent-Important Matrix, it is a productivity plan that helps individuals prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. 

The matrix sorts tasks into four quadrants:

  1. Urgent and important: These demand immediate attention and should be done as soon as possible 
  2. Urgent but not important: Often distractions, they can be delegated to others or even skipped if they don’t move your needle
  3. Important but not urgent: Essential for long-term goals, they don’t require immediate action but need scheduled time
  4. Not urgent and not important: Low-priority tasks that can be postponed or eliminated altogether to prioritize more valuable projects

While some people visualize this matrix on an actual whiteboard, a digital one can be more helpful, especially if you have many projects or multiple collaborators. 

Some digital whiteboards, like ClickUp, have a readymade Eisenhower Matrix template to help you get started quickly.

Prioritize your projects and tasks with the ClickUp Priority Matrix Template

The ClickUp Priority Matrix Template can help you classify your tasks so you know which ones most impact your weekly goals. Also, any task you add to the ClickUp Whiteboard will automatically be synced to its project management solution with all the important details, such as task descriptions, priority levels, and due dates.

Alternatively, you can use the ‘Board View’ to view tasks based on the levels you’ve set in the priority matrix. It give you a structured approach to managing your tasks and projects and lets you allocate your time and resources better.

Planning ahead

Having a clear plan of action can help you be prepared and get started quickly. It can also reduce your anxiety and give you an idea of what’s ahead of you.

Some productivity gurus swear by the “Top Three” framework, where you list the three must-do tasks for every day. These are the super important ones—typically the priority 1 and 2 tasks that require a lot of deep work and moving the needle towards succeeding in your goals. 

If you’re someone who procrastinates, you can also add another framework to this one—Eat the Frog. This means you do the biggest, most difficult task first thing in the morning. 

This takes a huge load off your back. And it gives you a dopamine hit to carry you through the rest of the day (and week).

Utilizing breaks effectively

Just as important as scheduling your tasks is scheduling your breaks. Breaks help you focus better in the short term, manage your stress levels, and avoid burnout in the long term. 

Taking short breaks to simply walk or have a coffee with a colleague can help you unwind and relax. If you’re working from home, you can take your dog for a walk. Pets and sunlight are the best combination to improve your mood. 

Do you have a packed day? Spend five minutes practicing deep breaths, stretches, or chair yoga, and you’ll find yourself perking up. 

One way you can be mindful about your breaks is using the Pomodoro Technique—work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break. For deep work, you can modify this into 50 minutes of work and 10 minutes of break, as long as you’re taking a short break in between cycles.

Another way to schedule your breaks is time blocking. Create specific time slots for important tasks, schedule short breaks for rest and relaxation, or alternating between periods of focused work and downtime to manage your time (and priorities) better. 

Schedule your habits, tasks, and breaks with the ClickUp Daily Time Blocking Template

If you’re using ClickUp as your personal or work task management tool, we highly recommend the ClickUp Daily Time Blocking Template. This template allows you to divide your day into morning, afternoon, and evening slots and add specific tasks (and downtime) throughout the day. 

It also gives you an idea of your daily plan, tracks your peak productivity hours, and ensures you have enough downtime to relax and recharge.

Organization tips for increased productivity

Did you know a cluttered environment can increase your cortisol levels? 

A research paper found that a person’s visual cortex can be overwhelmed by objects unrelated to a particular task. This makes it harder to focus.

That’s why it’s important to keep your workspace—whether a cabin or a home office— clean and organized. 

When you arrive at work or sit down to start your day, take a few minutes to organize your desk. By clearing away clutter, organizing papers, and tidying up loose items, you create a clean and inviting workspace that promotes efficiency and productivity.

Communication and meetings on Monday

A common reason for stressful Mondays is facing a flooded inbox. Replying to tens of emails, sSack messages, and other internal communication can take up a lot of your time. Before you know it, you have lost control of the day. 

Then there are the Monday morning meetings—status updates, daily standups, and weekly strategy calls. They can all eat into your day, which means you don’t get any of your actual, high-impact work done. 

Some ways you can avoid this are:

  • Eat the frog first: Let teammates know you’ll get to their messages in the second half of the day so you can do your important tasks first
  • Adopt async communication methods: Reduce the number of meetings by sharing status updates asynchronously. Post them on your internal communications tool, leave comments on documents and tasks, and, most importantly, create a work culture where team members don’t feel pressurized to reply immediately
  • Use video clips: Any time you have to explain something, send video recordings instead of scheduling a call. This allows your teammates to respond on their own time
  • Move Monday meetings to (preceding) Fridays: With this simple change, you can reduce Monday interruptions and give everyone a clear idea of what they can expect in the upcoming week. This will allow employees to get started on their work as soon as the week starts

If you’re planning to incorporate asynchronous communication systems in your workspace, ClickUp can come in handy. Use it as a one-stop-async tool to collaborate on your projects, documents, and more from one place. 

ClickUp Chat View
Create contextual group chats, send DMs, and more with the ClickUp Chat View

With ClickUp, you can leave contextual comments on each task or document and collaborate on documents asynchronously by leaving comments or tagging DRIs. You can even share video recordings elaborating on complicated feedback or concepts using ClickUp Clips.

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Your Monday Productivity Checklist

We’ve summarized our best Monday productivity tips into a handy checklist. Copy it in your digital planner or take a printout (or many!) and crush those goals!

  • Start your day early [Monday]
  • Plan your week ahead of time [On Friday before leaving work]
  • Prioritize your tasks [On Friday before leaving work or on Sunday]
  • Remove or delegate low-value tasks [Monday]
  • Use productivity systems like Eat the Frog or Getting Things Done to accomplish the most important tasks first
  • Review your tasks and adjust your plan as needed
  • Utilize breaks throughout the day [Monday]
  • Use a digital productivity tool like ClickUp to stay organized [Throughout the day]
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    Start Your Week the Right Way with ClickUp

    If you lack motivation on Monday mornings or find your mental energy at an all-time low at the beginning of the week, an organization and productivity system can help you build an efficient routine. 

    A productivity platform like ClickUp can help you plan for the next week. It comes with a whole bunch of tools—time trackers, digital whiteboards, task management tools, and more—to help you create a simple, uncomplicated routine. Plan ahead and start your week with your best foot forward. Sign up for free, organize your entire week, and start your Monday with renewed energy!

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