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  • Writer's pictureKatie Frantz

The Monday Mayhem

Don’t let your brain sabotage your week ahead.

Monday Blues

I’m not a fan of Mondays. Do you want to know why? Every time I wake up on Monday morning, my brain likes to compile a huge list of ALL the things I need to do that week. I call it “The Monday Mayhem” and it’s not fun. If my brain could talk, it would shout something like this… “Why on earth did you schedule so much stuff to do in just 7 days? Are you a crazy person?! There’s no way we can do all this…” It then likes to take every single thing I’d like to accomplish that week and make it into a handy dandy (yet, not so dandy) list to overwhelm and scare my mind.

The list may look something like this:

Get groceries

do laundry

schedule dentist appointments for the kids

Call your mom back

Clean the bathrooms

Get ballet shoes for Kaylee

Call eye doctor about follow-up appointment

Look into Karate classes for Ben

Visit Karen

Run to Costco

Look at that cool gadget on Amazon my friend told me about

Make a menu plan

Get Jay some new tennis shoes

Buy Sarah a baby gift

Write some blog posts

Prep your webinar

Send those emails

….

And the list goes on and on! See what happens? When the list of the week to-do’s is all complied together my brain really likes to freak out; and who can blame it? Talk about mayhem!

Overwhelm

My Monday Mayhem has overwhelmed my brain for years and years. In fact, it made going to bed Sunday night an inner battle, because I knew the next morning my brain would do its usual list of things to do and completely sabotage my thoughts, feelings and even my actions for the week ahead. What a sad thing, right? I mean, shouldn’t Monday be the best day, ever?!

It should feel like a fresh start for the week ahead, yet, my brain liked to tell me otherwise and instead of excitement for the new day, I felt debilitating anxiety, fear and stress. So much so that Monday was my least productive, enjoyable day.

The Brain Dump

So, let’s get on with the good stuff and how I began to learn some new skills and tricks to retrain my brain to stop overwhelming my mind with the to-do list for the week.

First, I began by sitting down Sunday evening and doing what I call my “Brain Dump.” I usually do my brain dump after all my kids are in bed and the house is quiet. A brain dump is simple and is exactly as it sounds. You sit down with a piece of paper and write EVERY (and I mean every) little, big, important or not important thing that’s on your mind for the upcoming week.  Now, I want you to know that when I first started this process, my brain would want to jump right into the list overload and I found myself feeling some anxiety as I started jotting down things on my list, but I learned with some practice that if I just stopped and told my brain something like, “Hey brain, there’s no need to freak out. I’m just making a list” then almost instantly I’d feel myself calm down and be able to refocus on my brain dump.

Categorize Your To-Do’s

After writing everything that is in your brain of all the things you want to get done, you then begin to categorize your long list into the following sections:

  1. What MUST get done this week (Examples could be: a) Go to my Dentist appointment, b) Deposit paycheck, c) Pay doctor bill online, etc.)

  2. What I’d REALLY like to get done this week (Examples like: a) Clean bathrooms, b) Laundry c) Return Target rug, etc.)

  3. What would be a BONUS this week (Examples might be: a) Visit my friend for lunch, b) Look into karate classes for kids, c) Buy ballet shoes for Kaylee, etc.)

Once you begin categorizing items from your brain dump into these three groupings, you’ll begin to feel some relief. You’ll find that the “MUST” list is usually quite short. My “MUST” list typically contains around 3-5 items in it. My “REALLY” want to get it done list has about 10 items and my “BONUS” list is all the leftover items that aren’t that important, but are on my mind and would like to do only if I have some free time to do them.

The ‘MUST’ Items

Now, my favorite part of the whole process is this; once every single item on your list is categorized, you will then look at each day ahead: Monday through Sunday and you will ONLY take the items in your MUST category and schedule them into the day of the week you will do that item. So, for instance, if my MUST item is ‘Go to the dentist’ then I would stick that item on the day and scheduled time when I need to be at the dentist. I then physically cross that particular item off my list. By literally crossing items off the list, it will help the brain let go of that to-do item and move onto the next. It’s a great tool anytime you start to feel overloaded. By crossing it off, even if you haven’t done it yet, it says to your brain, “No worries brain. I have it scheduled and it’s as good as done!”

After scheduling your MUST list items, you’ll then move onto the REALLY want to get done category and start scheduling those items.

The ‘BONUS’ Items

The BONUS items are handled a bit differently then the MUST and REALLY items. Since the BONUS items are to-do items only when free time is reached, you do not need to schedule them into a day or specific time. What you do is number those items in your BONUS category by numbers (#1) being highest priority in the BONUS category and so on. This way, when you have some extra time pop up, you can simply look at your BONUS item list and start working on your #1 item and move down your list. It really is the cherry on top, as these items are just BONUS items that if you get to great and if not, no big deal.

Conquering the Overwhelm

Now remember, the goal is not to overschedule or overwhelm your brain. We want to just place each item into a little weekly time slot so that your brain can look at all your to-do’s in a peaceful, manageable way.

Once you’ve created your simple, planned out schedule, you then take a glance at what you MUST accomplish for Monday and forget everything else and go right to sleep.

Guess what will happen Monday morning? I can promise you one thing, you won’t have the usual Monday Mayhem hit you….no siree, you already handled that bad boy the night before, remember? Now when you wake up, you know exactly what you need to accomplish for that day and the week ahead. Talk about a fresh new start to your week!

Sometimes it’s good to remember that most of the things on our to-do list are not as important or urgent as we think. There is more time then we realize to get the to-do’s done in our lives. When we plan ahead, take a breath and move forward in confidence, we’ll find that our weekly to-do list isn’t as daunting as we thought. By taking action Sunday night, categorizing our to-dos into the three categories of MUST do, REALLY want to do, and BONUS items; you will see that you can get so much more done then you ever thought possible.

Give it a try! Your brain will thank you.

-Katie

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