When an organization with an impressive name like the Conference Board Consumer Research Center studies something, it must be profound. So we were a little surprised at one of its recent topics. After a survey of thousands of Americans, the Conference Board determined that we think Monday is the worst day of the week. Just over half of us say so — up from 40 percent 20 years ago.
Is that supposed to surprise us? Of course people hate Monday. It's the first day back at work after a weekend of relaxation or fun, time to oneself, maybe a little extra sleep. Not only must we return to work, but we must again turn over control of our lives to some foreman or supervisor or executive vice-president.
Ah, but along comes a sunny career coach named Jeff Garton. He has written a book about how to actually look forward to Mondays.
First, he says, play a mind game on yourself. If you're dreading going to work, think positive thoughts! If work stresses you, straighten your posture, raise your eyes, and — if at all possible — crack a smile or two.
Take frequent short breaks and a relaxing walk at noon. Seek out cheerful and interesting colleagues rather than dull and grouchy ones. (That's assuming you HAVE cheerful and interesting colleagues.) Stay one step ahead of the boss by suggesting new ideas. At all costs, seek what Garton calls career contentment rather than mere job satisfaction. Instead of saying This won't work, tell yourself: I can make it work. Try to accomplish something not just to fulfill an assignment, but to satisfy you.
There now. Mondays aren't so bad after all. If all this works, imagine how great you'll be feeling on Friday!
Jeff Garton's Career Contentment: Don't Settle for Anything Less is published by ASTD Press.