9 ways to start your week positively (and productively)

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Jun 22, 2023

9 ways to start your week positively (and productively)

We all get that Monday feeling – the energy slump as the working week resets. But imagine if you could flip the script and have a positive start to your week instead? It’s no pipedream; here are nine ways to begin with a positive spin, and kick your productivity into high gear

That first day back at work after your weekend; urgh, is there anything worse? Even if you love your job (and you’re a morning person), there’s something about dragging yourself out of bed and trying to get back into the weekly routine and work mindset that makes a surprising percentage of us feel anxious, lethargic, and reluctant to get started.

Nearly 62% of us dread Mondays more than any other day of the week, according to a survey by The Sleep Judge. We feel more tired, and even spend longer complaining on a Monday, thanks to making the most of late nights, no alarm clocks and weekend lie-ins (which can throw your body clock off), not to mention over-indulging in takeaways, meals out, and alcohol (which can leave our bodies struggling to keep up).

But what if we didn’t need to start our week off with a reluctant sigh and an excessively large coffee to get through the day? What if you could kickstart your week with a boost of positivity and productivity, to help you actually look forward to your week ahead? Here's how...

1. Set yourself up for success

Getting your week off to the right start can take a little bit of planning – but it’s more than worth it. Take time out at the end of your last working day to create a quick-start to-do list for your first morning back. This could just be a few bullet points of urgent tasks to take a look at, a couple of notes on any outstanding emails or communications you are waiting on ready to chase up, or an outline to prepare yourself for a morning full of meetings.

The afternoon and evening before you head back to work are just as important. Sunday night anxiety can feel like it steals precious weekend hours from us, as we lose time to doom-scrolling, give in to the temptation to get a head start on emails, or lay awake late into the night, dreading the next day. To avoid the negative night-before cycle, try to do something physical. Go for a long walk, cycle, or swim. Exercise can boost our mood and improve our physical health, as well helping you to physically feel ready to fall asleep.

If there’s an underlying feeling of anxiety, worry or dread, don’t ignore it. Take some time to think and ask yourself: what is it that is worrying me? Is this something I can fix now? Writing things down can be a big help, and can also be handy in tracking any unhelpful patterns or habits that you may way to address, so it could be worth exploring journaling.

2. Take things slowly

Just because you’ve had a couple of days off, doesn’t mean you have to come back feeling 110% and ready to go right off the bat. Be kind to yourself. Take time to catch up on emails or chat with colleagues to find out more about new tasks and priorities. Work through your to-do list. If you can, schedule in some planning time for your late morning or early afternoon. This can help you to slot in any new urgent tasks, reassess your existing priorities, and take things at a more manageable pace rather than feeling overwhelmed.

3. Give yourself something to look forward to

Having something to look forward to can help the day to feel more manageable (as well as set a more positive tone). This could be anything; why not try to:

  • Save your favourite podcast for your commute.
  • Wear something that makes you smile - like your favourite outfit, a pair of funky socks, or your lucky underwear.
  • Make the ‘good’ coffee at home to start your day.
  • Prepare a special breakfast or lunch.
  • Pick today to be the one treat day, where you get a coffee, snack, or lunch on the go.

4. Start off with a brain-boosting breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet nearly a quarter of us skip it – according to a survey by McDonald's. Starting off your day with a healthy, tasty and nutritious breakfast can help to provide your brain and body with the fuel it needs to see us through. But how do we know what’s the best breakfast to get us started? Including a good source of protein, such as eggs, salmon or tofu, is a great option, as it helps to balance your blood sugar levels, and supports muscle building and recovery.

You might want to try porridge, as oats provide soluble fibre, which can help to reduce cholesterol, as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. Or Greek yoghurt could be a great addition, being rich in calcium, potassium, and vitamin B12. You might want to top a bowl off with some chopped fruits for a extra flavour.

5. Make time for a break

Making time – and actually taking a break – can give you something to look forward to, as well as help you to feel rested and rejuvenated. Taking breaks can actually help you to feel more focused without feeling overwhelmed or burned out. Why not try the Pomodoro Technique - where you take a short five-minute break after 25 minutes of focused work? Find out more about how the Pomodoro technique works with Life Coach Directory.

6. Acknowledge and embrace your feelings

‘Negative’ feelings can be challenging. But when we push down or refuse to acknowledge unwanted or unpleasant feelings, we can risk making ourselves feel worse. Remind yourself: it’s OK to feel how you’re feeling, whether that’s good or bad. Normalising, understanding, and accepting ourselves and our emotions is far more beneficial in the long run. So give yourself permission to feel a little bit grumpy – that feeling isn’t going to last forever.

7. Pace yourself: Avoid overtime, work creep, and the ‘just one more…’ mindset

Setting – and sticking – to deadlines can be tough. But having healthy workplace boundaries doesn’t just mean switching your phone off at the end of the workday.

Don’t let an unexpected influx of emails or new tasks start seeping into your breaks or taking over your lunchtime. Avoid checking your emails before your workday starts, or letting them creep into your evening routine on your commute home or while trying to relax. When work starts creeping into your home life, you no longer have the much-needed break to let your mind rest, relax, and unwind. So, don’t let an unexpected influx of emails or new tasks start seeping into your breaks or taking over your lunch time. Avoid checking your emails before your workday starts, or letting them creep into your evening routine, on your commute home, or while trying to relax.

8. Try some positive affirmations

Helping you to feel calm, focused, energised, and uplifted, in essence, positive affirmations are a simple way of grounding ourselves and reminding us of our own strength. They can act as a small, helpful reminder of our own ability to take back control over our mindsets, and reframe things to help us get through challenging times. Why not try one of the following: ‘I am the architect of my own life’; ‘I do not need to prove myself to anyone’; ‘My thoughts do not control me, I control my thoughts.’

9. Give yourself permission to…

Not every day is going to be a winner. Putting pressure on yourself to achieve perfection adds extra layers of stress that you just don’t need. Give yourself permission to:

  • Get through the day.
  • Do the best you can.
  • Take things slowly.
  • Take a deep breath…
  • …and leave some tasks for tomorrow.

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