Mondays have gotten a bad rap. I don’t really know why Monday seems to be the worst day of the week. Really, it isn’t always the worst or even that bad. Sure, I’ve usually got a lot going on. I’m on a quest to make Monday the best – or at least a little better. I think the trick is to tackle part of your to-do list ahead of time. The less you have to do, the less can go wrong. Right? Here are my life hacks to prevent Monday morning madness.
My manic Monday
Monday is grocery day, so inevitably we are out of all the important things. Every Monday, I struggle with packing school lunches that don’t resemble prison fare. The kids drag along as if time has slowed down, despite my
shrieks of urgency gentle motivation.
Our weekends are either one extreme or the other. If we have a packed weekend, I feel like we need an extra day to recover. If we have a laid-back weekend, I panic on Monday because I didn’t get anything done. We are not a family of morning people. So after those glorious, rare weekends of sleeping in, a 6 a.m. alarm seems awful.
Plus, as much as I love a nice, organized routine, we are not good at that. Chaos finds its way in, no matter what I do. Our daily dramas are minor, but it only takes one thing too many to topple my balanced plan. Inevitably, all those things appear like magic on Monday morning.
Monday morning madness life hacks
I think the secret to a good Monday is all in the automation. Things don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be done. I’ve gathered advice from friends and family. Here are 9 ways to prevent Monday madness, or at least shrink it down.
1. Plan an instant lunch.
Instead of trying to pack a lunchbox without a few key ingredients, pick something instant. Stock your pantry with a few cans of soup. In the morning, you just need to heat and pour in a thermos. I found organic chicken noodle at Aldi for $2 a carton, which comes out to a dollar per kid. There are plenty of cheaper options too.
2. Pack backpacks at night.
Even after years, this takes reminding. Have the kids pack their backpacks on Sunday evening, when you probably have less going on. Avoid the Monday morning surprise of “Can you sign this?” and “I need a dozen muffins today.”
3. Pick out clothes at night.
I’ve trained my kids to lay out their uniforms for the next day on a school night. They remember – most of the time. This trick is just as helpful for grownups. Inevitably, Monday morning comes with no clean socks and a weird stain on my favorite sweater.
4. Automate breakfast
You want the kids to eat a healthy breakfast. They probably don’t care. If you aren’t a cereal-every-day family, stock up on a few boxes just for Monday mornings. Sometimes I also make a batch of muffins on Sunday afternoon. If you always seem to be out of milk on Monday, keep a stash of granola bars just for those days.
5. Make a list
I’m a list person. Sometimes I make lists of lists. I have a handy pad that I keep on my desk that has a week at a glance. I can write down what tasks need to be done each day. No surprises Monday when I can see it ahead of time.
Side note: I have a lot of calendars. A writing calendar. A bill calendar. A kids’ activities calendar. And my phone calendar, where I put reminders like “Twitter party at 1 p.m.” or “History fair project due tomorrow.”
6. Meal plan
Meal planning will save much more than your Monday. When I sit down and make my meal plan on Sunday afternoon, I often plan something easy for Monday, like a slow cooker meal I can just throw in a pot in 5 minutes. If I might not make it to the grocery store (ahem, Columbus Day…) I plan something that uses just things I already have so there is no 5:00 run to Kroger.
7. Keep Your Gas Tank Full.
How many times have I driven the kids to school on Monday morning with one eye on the blinking “low fuel” indicator? Too many. Fortunately, it’s not far. Keeping an eye on your fuel level will keep you from having to stop on Monday when you don’t have time anyway.
8. Do a quick declutter.
I actually try to do this every morning. Take 15 minutes to walk through the house – or make the kids do it – and pick up everything that isn’t in its place. Put it away and your home will start off more relaxed. Plus, you can probably check one item off your to-do list.
9. Set the coffee pot timer.
I need coffee to start my mornings, doubly so on Mondays. I have a pot that allows me to put in the grounds and water, then set the timer for the next morning. Even if your pot doesn’t have a timer, you can prep everything so that you just have to push a button. No measuring before caffeine.
Do you hate Monday morning? What’s your secret to getting through them?