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How to make the most of Mondays

Harmonie SpaldingLast Updated: September 23, 2014

“What do you want to accomplish this week?”

Everyone here at Flow gets asked that on Monday morning. We share our responses internally to keep everyone updated. However what I want to highlight is how this question takes advantage of a pattern we share with teams just like yours…

On Monday, we’re at our most inspired, most proactive, and busiest.

I’ll say it in a different way. On Monday, we plan more and do more. We set the tone for the week and hit a high note in terms of quantity of work.

This may seem like a given, but this collective hunch can finally be backed up with hard data. To do this, we use the behaviour of tens of thousands of Flow users.

As you may recall from our observations about the “Friday Slump“, the way people use Flow directly represents actual work getting done. When someone creates, delegates, discusses, or checks off a task, we’re witnessing productivity in action. By aggregating every little action from across our user base and analyzing the patterns we observe, we can learn more about the way teams work.

Here’s what we see:

monday-productivity.png#asset:737

This is a graph showing the relative activity of Flow users as they get things done throughout the week.

Compared with any other weekday:
More work gets created on Monday.
More work gets delegated on Monday.
More work gets scheduled on Monday.
More work gets completed on Monday.

It’s when we’re at our most proactive. Typically, Mondays are 14% more active than the average weekday.

We come back from the weekend with new ideas and perspectives on what we want to accomplish. The time away inspires us.

There is one exception to Monday’s mania though: discussions. Tuesday edges out Wednesday as the day with most task-based discussions. While we plan our weeks on Monday, we work out the details on the days following.

What about the completion rates on Mondays? Why are so many tasks getting knocked off right at the beginning of the week?

While these won’t be true in all cases, here are three reasons why Mondays might see so many completed tasks.

  1. We only have little spots of time here and there, so we pick up the smallest, quickest tasks and get them out of the way early–not all tasks are created equal!
  2. We review finished work and confirm it’s complete, checking off tasks that were done previously
  3. We knock off more tasks in general thanks to a rejuvenating weekend

This data confirms a well accepted work cycle. First, we plan; then we decide how to start; then we get on with it. It appears that this cycle flows in sync with our work week.

So how can we take advantage of Mondays?

Like a cold shower for writer’s block, stepping away from work is sometimes the best way to unlock new ideas. When ideas happen, even if it’s the weekend, make sure you capture them as tasks to review and flesh out on Monday.

When you get in to work on Monday, take advantage of your inspiration not by reading your emails, but by lining up the work you want to accomplish. This will mean reviewing your existing plans, working in and ranking new ideas, and scheduling tasks for yourself and others to make your plans real.

You’ll likely have a busy day with plenty of interruptions, so make use of the time between them by finding short, easy tasks to get out of the way. This’ll start your week off on the right foot and free you up for work that takes focus later on.

Click to Tweet:
“@flowapp: Mondays: 14% more active than the average workday”
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“@flowapp: Mondays are more productive than you’d think”