Why Mondays really are the worst day of the week

Margaret Thatcher's diary

Researchers have come up with the least surprising finding of recent years: Monday is the least productive day of the week. Apparently we start too tired, with the wrong mindset, and spend most of the day trying to catch up after the weekend.

So what's the problem with Monday, and what can we do about it?
It's worth pointing out that this research was by Westin Hotels and Resorts, so its conclusions that we all need to unwind more at the weekend to prepare for Monday is hardly surprising. However, the research revealed quite shocking levels of Monday misery.


Part of the problem is that some of us haven't got over the weekend yet: a third are tired after the weekend, and could do with an extra day in bed.

It's also due to the fact that on Monday we have to face the full week ahead. Some 57% of people start the week already stressed about what it holds in store, so it's unsurprising that 48% start the day feeling negative and switched off - which is hardly going to help.

There are problems caused by the fact that people have to catch up with unfinished work from the end of the previous week - and over the weekend. Half of all people spend up to three hours working on or answering emails or calls from over the weekend.

It's hardly surprising that a study published by the British Medical Journal a few years ago showed a 20% spike in heart attacks on a Monday morning. That piece of research showed that blood pressure went through the roof for people getting up to go to work. Those getting up but not going to work didn't suffer any spike at all.

What can you do?

Some people cope by throwing a sickie: there's more sick leave taken in the UK on Mondays than any other day. However, this simply stores the hell up for Tuesday.

The gurus recommend a range of solutions. Long Yun Siang, a career adviser who runs career-success-for-newbies.com, says that one solution is to start early, stop hitting the snooze button, get a decent breakfast, and hit your desk before you're swamped.

Alexander Kjerulf, the self-styled Chief Happiness Officer suggests taking a colleague to lunch, with the rule that you're not allowed to talk about work. He says that by building relationships at work we can all enjoy Mondays more.

Hilda Carroll, who runs The Happiness Business says that rather than seeing your 'to do' list as a compulsory set of demands that you'll always fall short of, you should make sure you get the top few things done and then view the rest as a 'could do' list which you can take your pick from. She says that by taking the pressure off you'll get more done.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, recommends easing yourself in - taking time to have a coffee before you start - or considering anything constructive achieved before lunchtime to be a bonus worth celebrating.

But what do you think? What's your solution to miserable Mondays? Let us know in the comments.

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