Ask LH: Why Do Mondays Suck And How Can I Fix That?

Dear Lifehacker, Why do Mondays suck, and is there anything you can do about it? Thanks, Cube Drone

Grumpy cat picture from Shutterstock

Dear CD,

Obligatory:

But anyway. Various scientific studies have explored this phenomenon and found that Mondays do indeed have a tendency to suck. In 2009, consulting firm Mercer analysed the sickness management records for 11,000 employees across a range of private sector organisations. They found that 35 per cent of all sick days were taken on Mondays, compared to just 3 per cent on Fridays.

Self-help website Lifelong suggests that this mass aversion to Mondays could be an example of 'confirmation bias' in action:

We see [confirmation bias] in effect all over the place - from the paranormal (where someone who believes in ghosts will hear a voice in static that someone else might here as random noise) through to it's potential impact on the way a jury might 'impartially' view evidence if they've already made up their mind. When we establish a belief our minds work hard to seek out proof in the world around us and can ignore information that might prove us wrong.   Through believing that Monday's will serve up a smorgasbord of horrible things we activate our minds' confirmation bias and we seek out horrible things to prove us right. We go through the pile up of emails on our desk and grunt when we see an unpleasant task - blaming it on Mondays. We struggle with an idea or we suffer a fallback on a Monday and we know exactly what to blame.

That's all well and good, but having a rational explanation as to why Mondays suck wont necessarily make you feel better. So what can you do about it?

One of my first full-time jobs was as a night auditor working the graveyard shift at a secluded hotel. Each Monday, the prospect of facing another week of sleep-deprived isolation was sheer torture (the fact my workplace kind of looked like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining didn't help matters either).

Since joining the Lifehacker team, my bouts of 'mondayitis' have become non-existent, despite the lengthy train commute. In other words, doing a job you actually enjoy can make a huge difference.

If you continually find the start of the working week unbearable, it might be time to consider a new profession. You can find a stack of advice on switching occupations via our Career and Job Search tabs. This guide on picking a career you like is also worth a read.

For a less drastic solution, you could try leaving a treat on your desk on Friday afternoon — you'll then have a nice little incentive waiting for you when you get into work next week.

Other tried-and-proven tactics include arriving/leaving work earlier than normal, making a Monday to-do list so you can function on autopilot, and laying out your clothes on Sunday night to make the start of the day easier. Basically, anything you can do to make Monday more organised will help to eliminate stress.

If any readers have additional suggestions of their own, let CD know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    "For a less drastic solution, you could try leaving a treat on your desk on Friday afternoon — you'll then have a nice little incentive waiting for you when you get into work next week."

    How do you now guarantee that your treat will be there on Monday (when cleaning crews come around) also what do you do if you work in a place in which you are constantly being rotated through "Hot-desks"

    I'm in a workplace in which I don't know where I'm working from from one day to the next (more staff than workstations).

    Regards

    Let's be clear about this: Mondays aren't actually too bad, it's TUESDAY that's the REAL killer. Monday, you at least have fond memories of the weekend, and it might be a struggle but you can get through it. On Tuesday, however, you are fully aware of just how BAD the rest of that long week ahead is really going to be.
    Some cultures regard Tuesday as an evil, or bad luck day - and they could be right. When did you last have a good Tuesday?

      For me, Monday sucks because the pinnacle of my week could not be further away. My Mondays are never as bad when I have something to look forward to mid-week, like seeing a play on Tuesday night or dinner plans with a friend.

      Edit: oops, didn't mean this as a direct reply to you warriewoodski, sorry!

      Last edited 20/01/14 3:56 pm

    The biggest thing I found in researching the difference between people who handle Mondays superbly and those who really struggle comes down to what their work week means to them.

    Chris mentions in his post that since starting his new role at LH he's not really getting 'Monday-itis'. This might be because he sees the start of a work week as a great opportunity to make a difference, to start a meaningful new project, etc.
    Those that struggle with Mondays often think, "The weekend couldn't be further away" and look at work as the barrier the joys of the weekend.

    To navigate through Mondays means doing work that you feel is valuable and meaningful - feeling like your making progress certainly helps too. Monday can be a pain in the arse, or the start of something great.

    Hah! Now THERE'S a good reason for subscribing to the oft mentioned workaholic work ethic, and taking your work home for the weekend, or even going in to the office to work on weekends! :-) Then there'll be no difference between the various days of the week. And you can get SO much done on weekends when there's no one there to distract you ;-)

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