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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

First published January 20, 2020

Why Mondays are so often unproductive 

Ever wonder why Mondays so often feel unproductive?Mondays frequently feel like a mish-mash of catching up, general malaise, tying up the lagging ends of last week and ineffectively stutter-starting the current week. Often it feels like we’re only really getting in to our stride by Tuesday.

Here’s the reason that is, and what to do about it:

Here’s the problem:

All the Operators in the organization arrive back at work raring to go. They just want to get started – on the road, at their desk, on the production line – whatever they’re paid to do, that’s what they want (in fact, need) to do. And the sooner they get to do it, the better for all concerned.

Meanwhile, all the Processors are sharpening their 2b pencils and humming to themselves as they print out agendas for a great start to the week: meetings, of course. They want (in fact, need) to have those meetings to feel they’ve made a good start to the week. Little do they know that the Operators in the organization would rather stab themselves in the eye with a paper clip than start the week in a meeting.

Now watch all the Visionaries – they’re arriving back after a restful weekend golfing, eating and drinking…and having read articles in books and magazines (or on their iPads) that have given them all sorts of great ideas about what the ‘next big thing’ is for the business. Like the Processors, our Visionaries are also excited at the prospect of having a meeting – but not in order to fix things and decide stuff, like the Processors…oh no…our Visionaries are looking forward to the meeting so they (and everyone else) can listen to the sound of their own voice, being brilliant, incisive…and, well… visionary!

So there you have it – every Monday morning (and more so after every major vacation) a little kabuki plays itself out – the Processors want to have meetings so they can get the week started well by managing stuff, the Visionaries want to hijack the meetings to look brilliant by sharing the next, imperative big thing, and all the Operators are tearing their fingernails out because they’d rather be anywhere than in a meeting.

All you solopreneurs out there needn’t look so smug, by the way. Ever wondered why you don’t get much done on Mondays? Simple – it’s because you play all three roles – you are your business’s Visionary, Operator and Processor all rolled into one. That’s why you feel so schizoid on Mondays and inefficiently shuttle between all three alternatives.

Here’s how to fix it:

The answer? This is where the Synergist has to step up to the mark and broker a solution. And it looks like this:

Instead of trying to meet these competing desires at the start of every week, instead:

Have short, output-focused meetings on Mondays (think scrums), to align everyone around immediate goals and let the Operators get off and started with minimum distraction;

Plan information-dense (i.e. Processor-heavy)meetings midweek. This allows Processors to update their data, and Operators to feel the have ‘got some actual work done’ by the time you hold them;

Schedule brainstorming / blue-sky / creative (i.e. Visionary)  meetings on Fridays – or at least later in the week or month when the Processors and the Operators can relax because they’ve got some ‘real work’ (as they see it) done.

As with so much of greatness, conquering Mondays lies in mastering the mundane – in this case, splitting all that ‘stuff’ you’re trying to cram in across the rest of the week.

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