The Monday Message – What are the 6 most important things you should be doing today?

Information overload on an unprecedented scale, or at least you are being bombarded with more than you can possibly handle.

Emails, telephone calls and the new kids on the block – Twitter, Facebook, blogging and LinkedIn.

But where on earth do you find time for the day job, which has become more and more pressurised and not just because of the billing targets but the complexity, regulatory burden, client demands and practising a defensive style of law (which makes you second guess every decision you make)?

The Monday morning routine is the same: Arrive, turn your computer on, scan for troublesome emails and then pick up where you left off on Friday: aiming to bill between 6-7.5 of chargeable hours, which means working, sometimes, twice as long just to make sure you get the clock into the green area.

It doesn’t take long for that relaxed sense that you finished Sunday night with to be pulped to nothing.

And then there are those clients who have a habit of storing things up and waiting until Monday to spring things on you. Dirty rotten scoundrels!

I often wondered why we made it so difficult for ourselves. Having worked a few weekends in my time, you were able to come in on Monday well ahead of the work game but your inner psyche was crying out for space to breath. Being in an office all the time just isn’t good for the soul.

To avoid the weekend slide, I would recommend that you plan each day the night before (the most important day being Monday). Now, of course, no day can be planned down to the last minute, but if you have been able to tap into your firm’s email system, you should get a good idea of what you need to squash come Monday morning.

Now planning is not new, and those people who say that planning the day before leaves you exposed on the long-term vision are missing out on the discipline of considering the here and now – which is far more controllable.

Getting a piece of paper (I used card that I can fold and put in my pocket) and writing down the night before the 6 most important things you have to do the next day is immensely liberating.

It is important that you allow yourself the opportunity to plan. Don’t leave things until the last minute on Sunday night or first thing Monday morning. Neither will work as well as sitting down with a blank piece of paper and thinking what you have to do a few hours before you go to bed.

Give yourself at least a minute of silence and no interruptions. It is amazing what thoughts will come into your mind.

Don’t get worked up if you only get through 2 from your list. The main thing is to make sure that you don’t keep carrying forward the same jobs day after day. If you have the same jobs by the end of the week then you may want to consider whether it is a job that you should be delegating.

Next time you arrive on Monday with that slightly harried feel, consider if having planned your day may have just given you the inner confidence to see the day out without losing some of that relaxed feel from Sunday night.

~ JS ~