Mondayitis… When the Holiday is Over
I’ve just faced my first day back at work after a carefree travelling holiday.
I walked in feeling fresh faced and full of excited anticipation ready to implement all the ideas I’d been bottling up during my weeks away…
But within no time I was feeling…
Did I ever really go away?
What was I thinking while so removed from reality?
Why is it so hard?
While away, I was eagerly looking forward to returning with a renewed spate of creativity, expanding my range of holiday highlight products, putting smiles on the faces of all my wonderful customers and flying my million dollar business Journey Jottings (yes – it’s hard to believe, but I’ve now sold over a million dollars worth of my little hand drawn products) up and over the next horizon.
But now I’m back in the studio looking out across the Bay off Brisbane, on Australia’s east coast, I can’t believe that while I walked in raring to go, bursting to fulfil all my pie in the sky ideas, I’d omitted to consider one little detail –
‘How’ was this fresh new period of work going to flow any differently to how it had flowed before I went away?
Why had I assumed that just because I’d been away and returned with recharged batteries and a basket full of fresh ideas, that the outcome would be any different?
It’s a bit like taking a photograph, then taking another – Just to be sure you captured it – Yet, instead of changing a few settings or tweaking the angle, you simply click again and expect the result to be miraculously not only different, but better!
How were all the plans and actions I’d envisaged going to be implemented when I was returning to exactly the same modus operandi?
A modus operandi that hadn’t achieved the hoped for results before I left – So why, just because I’d been away, did I assume it would be different now?
I’d done the classic of walking back in with stars in my eyes, only to jump right back onto the turntable precisely where I’d left off and promptly fell back into the previously well worn groove that would take me nowhere.
So, what needs to Change?
Change can be tricky –
Even when you’re changing to a method that you know suits you oh, so much better, its tricky when you equally know its not the way most people do it!
You keep thinking, if everyone else likes to hit the ground running and get the bulk of the day’s work over before lunch while they’re [supposedly] fresh, surely you must too?
And why, when everyone else is tapping away on their laptop keyboard streaming out their flowing blog posts should I find myself totally disconnected to the words that float behind the LCD screen as I watch my sentences seemingly swirl in circles, a world apart from my thoughts?
Thank goodness for bananas is all I can say –
Happily – There was a banana skin on the turntable, which sent me skidding to my senses and just as I was about to free fall backwards into the abyss, never to be seen again, I caught myself on the edge…
Where, hauling myself out, I brushed myself down, and I’m now working the way that best suits me.
How to Work, is all about the When & Where
So, while you may be settling down to lunch, with a morning’s work behind you, acknowledging my night-owl preference I’ll be just starting work having spent the morning taking a kayak across the Bay and around the mangroves, followed by brunch and a short meditative-relaxation.
Having made the most of my time during the morning, I’m then truly ready to roll. Rather than feeling exhausted from a morning’s fluffing and fearing as my prime work time comes into view that I really need to get some exercise, I can relax and let my brain run riot.
And despite the trend to work on laptops in cafés, my optimum working space is on a big wooden table with a mass of paper spread out before me where I can feel the shape of my words take form as my pen rasps against the textured tooth of the sheets like a deep throated blues singer – This method for me has soul.
Dancing their way into life words are scratched and scrapped, arrowed and re-inserted with occasional doodles where words won’t come and a twiddle expresses the sentiment until a translation into alpha-numerics can be formulated.
Do you ever find yourself full of grand plans and new resolutions only to have them thwarted at first base as you revert to old established ways that in all honesty you know really don’t work for you?
Making you dread that first day back at work?
The beauty of a break away, is not only the beauty you experience from viewing contrasting landscapes a million miles from home, it’s the opportunity to objectively observe your working techniques in a fresh new light on your return –
Rather than fall back into old unproductive ways next time you get back to work from that well deserved long weekend, or extended trip, grab the chance to review your working ways and turn your productivity around for the better.
Have you acknowledged you may have a different work pattern to most?
And then gone against the trend to change it?
Do share in the comments below
And throw the discomfort of Mondayitis out the window!
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What a wonderful post! How often I have suffered Mondayitis and not recognized its symptoms! What usually blocks the flow of those creative juices that had been pulsing through my brain while away are the realities of ‘chores’ that are waiting, ‘projects’ that really could/should take priority over writing blog posts that have come to mind while I was traveling. Maybe Mondayitis is good as it makes the thought of that next getaway even better. And congrats on hitting the million mark!!
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By accepting there could be ‘better’ times of day for different ‘chores’ and ‘projects’ you may find by simply jiggling the pieces around they’ll all fit in, including the fun of writing blog posts about your travels 😉
Thanks so much for the congrats!
Funny you should say …
When I had the opportunity to revitalise my blog last year after an on-again/off-again hiatus, I struggled with the same issue.
What’s the point of making the change if everything stays the same?
Like you, I’ve worked to make changes that fit my blog’s new image – which meant going back to basics and working out what I wanted my blog to be and do.
It’s still evolving – but no change meant stagnation, so any pitfalls or struggles I have are WAY better than that alternative!
Have a great weekend and stay safe with that cyclone, my friend!
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It’s amazing how many parameters have to be assessed and decided upon to bring change successfully into play –
But your hard work on your new website has more than paid off – Well done!
Linda, I can totally appreciate how you feel – whenever we return from an awesome trip you can really feel a bit strange for the first few days that you are back at work, and as you have said you need to decide whether you go back to your old habits or form some new ones…
Best of luck for the year ahead!
When we step out and travel to new places our eyes take in the scene freshly and we see little things that a local may overlook –
Upon our return, we have a brief window of opportunity to see our world through different/fresh eyes and… assess/adjust those things that could fall right back into being unproductive groundhog days, and change them for the better… even if the process is a little uncomfortable (at first!)
Thanks Anne – Looking forward to reading about your trip to Japan 🙂
I so get this too. For me it’s Writers Festivals and Blogging conferences that upset the apple cart and fill me with new ideas and designs on life and blogging. It’s putting them into practice and changing the way I do things in the cold light of day which is difficult.
Ohhhhhh!! The implementation of tips and tricks and inspiration infused from conferences is super tricky Jo!
I think that’s because all these new ideas are bursting for attention in amongst the daily things you return to –
Having been away for an extended period, I’m maybe at an advantage as when I left I couldn’t fret over all the little things that still should be being done, I simply had to cut my ties from that messy, meandering muddle of a To Do list, and since back, I’m endeavouring not to get sucked in by its pedantic lure, but rather stay focused on the top 3 things that will take my dream vision one step closer to reality –
I would need another 3 lifetimes to get through that list, which I left behind –
So the reality is, that if I really want to do what I want to do, some things are going to have to be sidelined, just as the When and Where and How I work are going to have to respected ~
Change is difficult – But the rewards I’m optimistic will speak for themselves 😀
Great post Linda, I definitely have this deflation after every trip! And am going through it again at the moment, not because of a trip (sadly!) but now that my son’s started full time school, I’m finding I need to totally rearrange the way I work (again!), and I haven’t yet quite figured out what works! However, unlike you, I am definitely not a night owl, so I do try to get the big important stuff done early in the morning. One of the problems is “early in the morning” doesn’t seem to start until 9.30am after school drop off. If only my son would sleep past 5am for me, I could get things done before he wakes up – hmm, maybe one day! Good luck with getting into your new rhythm. (And welcome back!)
Amanda Kendle recently posted..Travel for the anxious and anxiety prone: How travel changed my life
Mothers are amazing at working in with their little ones, so I think you may be under-estimating just how much you were in fact managing to squeeze into your day while your son was still at home with you!
True – there may a few less interruptions now he’s at school, but having the ‘whole day to yourself’, I can tell you, is a myth at any stage in your life!
I think I’d be tempted to stop off at the library or a café, with your laptop, on your way back from the school drop-off each day and give yourself an hour to do ‘your’ work before getting sucked into the myriad of daily chores that demand your attention once home –
Shaking up the old routine and inserting this change could boost your personal productivity, even if it’s not quite your ideal time. 🙂
I think mine would have to be “weekdayitis” since I work most Mondays through Fridays. I loved your post…I wish I could start my day kayaking. Sounds so relaxing.
I wonder what activity (other than kayaking!) you could maybe squeeze in before work to relieve your “weekdayitis” LOL?!
Although if you live near a river, perhaps getting a kayak could be an option? 😉
You talkin’ to me?
You must be talkin’ to me….
About a life-long pattern. But I think I just might have got the hang of this after my last trip. Part of the trip was posting photos and a sort of trip diary to facebook. I enjoyed it so much and got so much positive feedback on that from friends that once home I made a huge decision. I started my blog. It has changed everything… well, a lot, anyway. I still find myself falling back into patterns that don’t serve me well at times. And I still find myself sabotaging my work now and then. But it’s better, a whole lot better. And having my blog, learning how to do it better, watching it grow, attending conferences is going to be a really exciting journey. And yes, I am also a nightowl. My bests posts are generally written around midnight.
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It’s surprising how sometimes the smallest change (such as your posting your trip diary to Facebook) can create a catalyst –
And that catalyst sparks the motivation to create a strong vision and its that clear vision that then draws you forward…
While still dodging old patterns that are so embedded they keep popping up in a bid to test you – to see whether they can derail your focus –
Its a trial to stay on track that’s for sure, but by ‘giving in’ to your body clock takes one battle out of the equation! 😀
Wise advice to use a break from work to give us new perspective on changes needed in our work approaches. There is often so much pressure (self-imposed or otherwise) to get back at it that we slip into old routines even if they aren’t working that well for us. I know I’ve fallen into that trap a lot. I will take this to heart to look at my writing approaches differently after my next break. Thanks.
Isn’t it strange that we are often happier to fall back into routines that clearly aren’t productive, simply because carving new ones requires the effort of chipping out a new course and then committing it to memory!
Loved this post! Mondayitis can happen to anyone at any time.
Great advice to mix it up and change something~
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While change in itself can of course be a catalyst to shake off doldrums, fathoming and unravelling one’s true work flow and focusing on that methodology rather than falling back into unproductive routines just because they are familiar and established was really my point 🙂
I have found that I enjoy returning to my work when my travels are over. While I am away I can forget about work completely and I do no read or listen to any news if I can help it. I like to exist in the moment I am living and forget that anything else exists. When it is time to return to work I feel revitalized. I find that I am more decisive just after a trip. If I need to make any changes within my business, right after a vacation is the best time for me.
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While I don’t consciously think about work while I’m away, I do find fresh encounters can spark off connections related to works in progress back home but of course they put a refreshing new slant to what was maybe a tired idea –
I agree – Making the most of that initial time back, is crucial 🙂
Oh how I know these feelings so well both when I was teaching and now that I am working for myself. These issues have come up particularly post travels.The difference is now I get to choose the exact how, where and when and am learning to react to that. I work best early in the morning and then need a walk along the beach and a coffee, and this will give me another burst and then another walk. I also have given myself permission (often reluctantly) to have a day off, but that is still a work in progress. Reassuring to know that this happens to so many of us.
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I think that has been the most eye opening off-shoot to this post –
There seems to be not one reader who doesn’t relate to struggling with getting things, even of our own choosing, done!
Defining our optimum working patterns seems to be one thing – Giving ourselves permission to implement them appears to be another! 😉
I’m a night owl too (it’s now 11:50pm) but always feel like I should be starting my day sooner. During vacations we walk everywhere all day, and feel so much better for it, but despite good intentions, it doesn’t seem to stick once we get home. Getting some exercise in the morning rather than facing the computer is an approach I should try too.
I’m sure morning-people don’t feel they should be starting their day later, so it’s funny that us night-owls we’re the ones made to feel we ‘should start the day sooner‘!
After all, by mid afternoon, just as we’re cranking up, they’re wilting so its not as though they actually fit any more into their day –
On holiday its different – early morning holiday activities rarely require much brain power – Which is why as you proffer – fitting in the exercise first thing before work that requires some buckling down (even if the work is of our choosing) is a great use of time and mental resources 🙂
I literally just arrived back today from a 2.5 month holiday. My new semester starts next Monday, and I thought a lot about things I can implement this semester that will (hopefully) help my students enjoy their English learning classroom time. Now that I’m actually back, like you, I’m thinking…what was I thinking?? haha. I think when we’re on holiday we put on rose color glasses 🙂
I think the wonderful thing about being on holiday and thinking about work ideas is that because we’re so far removed we actually have the opportunity to come up with some really wild, out of the box ideas –
Go with them Nancie –
Your students will so thankful they’re not being served up more of the same they’ll be forever grateful that you dared to be different 😉
What an amazing business milestone, Linda. I’m in awe! You can have Mondayitis when things are going that well!
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Hehe Billie 🙂
My favourite saying, which has been attributed to Winston Churchill is:
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”
And I think its true – if you work at anything long enough, you will eventually overcome sufficient hurdles to reach progressive milestones!
Terrific insights, and yes, I have a pattern that works for me: up and at ’em, and get out of the pj’s by midday. If I don’t, it’ll be a pj day. When the work is flowing, I don’t want to get in its way. Likewise, if I feel it’s going to be a day of “creative rest” (not block, no no no), I get other things done. I’ve learned to honor the creative impulse. This serves me so much better than an imposed, inflexible schedule.
I love it!
That really is terrific Betsy –
Following your inklings and responding to what your gut dictates is perfect – and you’re right – going against the grain of imposed, inflexible schedules is futile and sooooo unproductive 😉
I’m sure everyone handles their first day back differently. I do always feel overwhelmed by assimilating all my new information into my notes. But I know I need to do it quickly, so that I can remember, especially what didn’t make it into my notes. I am always blogging about a prior trip, so that eases me into my work routine.
Well done for making the task so wonderfully focused and painless Carole 🙂
Great post and advice, am book marking for re-reading when I get home from this trip.
If you’re getting back from a trip soon, it could also be a perfect time to see what unproductive work methods you’re about to slip back into and could maybe do with a change! 😉
Love the idea of writing with pen and paper, haven’t done it in years. Maybe I should try it again, just to relish the feel again.
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The feel yes, but more emphatically the sound Veronica!
The continuous flow of the pen stroking the paper makes the most wonderful sound – so very much more soothing than this staccato tap tap tapping noise I currently have hitting my ears as I reply to your comment 😉
Love the term Mondayitis! How well I remember returning to work after a fabulous vacation full of energy and a new perspective only to face the same feeling after a few days that I’d never left and nothing had changed. How terrific for you that you are able to arrange your work according to your own best schedule that results in increased productivity, creativity and ultimate enjoyment.
That’s one of the huge advantages of working for yourself Anita 😉
Although having said that we don’t tell our part-time team members when to come in –
It’s up to them to choose when they feel at optimum efficiency and when’s the best fit with their own life commitments – It results in increased productivity for us and ultimate enjoyment for them 😀
My sleep issues are worse than just being a night owl. I can easily become totally day/night reversed. When I worked full time at an office and had to set my alarm for 6:00 AM, I just staggered through the day(s) chronically fatigued. I wouldn’t mind being day/night reversed if everyone I need to and want to interact with (i.e. my husband and our dog) weren’t diurnal.
I don’t have “Mondayitis” after time away. I just have “itis”. Being a self-employed freelancer is a huge change for me. As a lawyer, my days were filled with “drop dead” deadlines. Not meeting them was not just “Oh well” it would be legal malpractice—a HUGE motivator for me. If I don’t “produce” income now, we still have a roof over our heads and food to eat, so I need to find another motivator. I wish I could be ok with not “producing”, but I’m much too puritanical for that. This post left me feeling kind of squirmy—like I ought to be DOING something about doing something. 😉
Your comment made me think of a blog post I wrote a few years ago, which I felt relevant enough to go and find and link to my reply –
I had a giggle when I discovered that you’d made a comment on the post: Deadlines are Lifesavers
Have you read Stephen Pressfield’s book: The War of Art?
Its all about Resistance… maybe the root of your squirm?! 😉