Creative Exercises To Get Your Monday Mind Moving
Posted in: Lifestyle
Monday's get a bad rap.
From Garfield’s obvious distaste for the first day of the week, to Peter and his “case of the Mondays” in Office Space, everywhere you look there is an overwhelming hate for Monday mornings. But the truth of the matter is that labeling Monday as the worst day of the week and getting your week started with a pessimistic attitude is not going to make your morning any better. In fact, kicking off Monday with a negative mindset will only kill your creative process and doom you to a unproductive week. (In turn, this is just going to make you even more sullen next Monday morning -- an endless cycle.)
Luckily, there are a few simple practices that will help you throw that “Monday blues” attitude out the window and get your creative juices flowing so you have an exciting, fresh start to your week.
Getting up early on a Monday may seem like a complete nightmare, but if it’s to get some exercise in, it could drastically change your week. According to Jennifer Cohen over at Forbes.com, moving first thing in the morning increases your energy, sharpens focus, enhances productivity, and puts you in a better mood! All those endorphins will take you miles beyond the caffeine in your morning cup of coffee. Plus, it’s great for your health - and a work out before 7 a.m. on a Monday morning provides a feeling of accomplishment like no other.
Find your Monday mantra
It can be hard to get motivated on a Monday morning, but if you have something during the week to look forward to, it can keep you going. Pick one thing you’re excited about for the week and one thing you need to accomplish before you get there, and combine the two for a Monday mantra. “Once I complete these spreadsheets, I can go to the Beyonce concert.” It’ll make your most mundane weekly tasks worth doing!
Switch up your routine
Changing habits forces your brain to pay more attention to what you're doing. Take a different route on the way to work, stop for coffee in a different part of town, and even try a different way of getting around. If you normally drive, take the train; if biking is supported in your city, take two wheels into work. You'll see new sights, meet new people, open your mind, and get a different perspective on the world that could lead to that next big idea.
When starting on a new project, imagine everything in its most perfect, dreamlike state. Take yourself deep into that moment of success and work backward to figure out what steps need to be achieved to get there. A similar practice is encouraged among Olympic athletes: imagery as mental training. Just as an Olympic figure skater pictures every detail of their performance until he or she lands the gold-medal winning triple axel, you must also visualize the perfect end result for your creative vision.
Use a new mindset
Toss all your assumptions and challenges out the window to gain a new point of view on a creative project. Try to imagine how Walt Disney, an explorer, a teacher, or even a child would approach a project and its potential opportunities. How would they use their experiences and perspective to discover an out-of-the-box solution? Go for the imaginative, innovative solution over the easy fix to avoid mediocrity. If you're bored with what you're doing, then everyone else probably is too. Trust your creative instincts, no matter how wild they may seem. You just might be surprised what you are capable of.
Tear your best ideas apart
This isn’t to discourage you; it’s to be constructive, efficient, and make the most out of your creative vision. Walt Disney dreamed big, but would then adopt the mindset of a realist to figure out how to implement the most outlandish ideas. He would play the critic and tear the ideas apart searching for weaknesses and holes until only the strongest ideas were left standing. First, write down as many criticisms as you can for each idea you have. Then, try to develop possible solutions for repairing those weaknesses. What you’ll have left is a clear vision of what the strongest idea is with the least amount of hurdles.
If you're afraid to fail, you'll never realize your full creative potential. Once you get over that fear, you can go big and learn from your mistakes, making your next idea even better. It might take 20 bad ideas to get to the BEST idea, which, in the end, will be so amazing that every trip-up along the way will be more than worth it. And, hey, if you fail today, it's only Monday, and you have a bright week ahead to fill with your successes.
Most importantly, keep your head up and think positively; today is your chance to set the tone for the outcome of the rest of your week. Don't be a Garfield. So get out there and make the most of your Monday!
What creative exercises or routines do you follow in order to wake up your groggy Monday brain? Be sure to share your best tips with us in the comments below!