Survive Monday (and Tuesday too).

monday morning

Mondays are hard. Actually, working is hard. Here's a few things to distract yourself from the grinding monotony. Just don’t tell anyone it was me that led you astray!

First, divide your work into buckets

Feeling overwhelmed? I bet you can sort your work into these three piles, like this one my friend Vix has stuck in pink post-its to her PC, for incoming work:

  • Things that do not matter
  • Things that take too long
  • Things that involve sucking up

Of course, I’m not saying you’ll actually get any work done. It’s easier to pick out what matters though. Unless nothing does. There's probably a need for a post it that says "things to do to avoid getting sacked". Although, maybe it can wait until Tuesday?

Then, divide your colleagues into categories

Use this tip, which my friend Charlie relayed to me over a big fat "working" lunch last week. It comes from a quote by a German general who hated Hitler, Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord:

I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.
This is a great game for boring meetings - office bingo style. Because a lot of the people you work with are smart and diligent, I bet. (Fools).

Next, have a think about the future

The Chinese language doesn’t have a future tense – and that makes it easier to save for retirement. The TED talk is worth a watch. Keith Chen talks about how languages without a concept for the future — "It rain tomorrow," instead of "It will rain tomorrow" — are more likely to have high savings rates. Think "me is retired" to get the idea. How would you think of things differently if you stopped using a future tense? Try it for an hour.

Be proud of being lazy. Have a lazy Monday.

I’ve long been an admirer of lazy people. Most smart people are lazy. They will find the quickest, smartest way to do something, so they no longer have to expend any energy on it.

I reckon the inventor of the car probably thought this:

"This horse and cart is so annoying! I have to...

  • Feed and water the horses.
  • Muck out the stables.
  • do so much WORK!

Surely if I made mechanical horses, there would be less poo, for starters."

So find your inner lazy, and channel it into something fun this week.

If all else fails, and you’re still feeling Monday-ish and resentful, remember you’re just a monkey. On a big rock. Hurtling through space. Whatever level of paper or email-based torture one of the other monkeys has created for you, it's not that important. Whenever I need cheering up – I watch this monkey having a meltdown.   How will you keep perspective today?