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I think it would be fair to say it’s commonplace to dread Monday - to dread the start of another week full of effortful work that possibly isn’t a joy to tackle. I feel you, I see you, I get it.
For me, what used to make Mondays hard to look forward to was being overwhelmed by everything I wanted to accomplish that week. Without a clear plan of action or a defined creative process, I walked into Mondays feeling both excited for possibilities + immediantly discouraged by doubt in my ability to see it through by Friday. I would continue to persevere each day, but lowkey give up to the pressure of trying to do it all so quickly.
Fortunately, that has completely changed since I started embodying a slower lifestyle, became more intentional with my creative workflow, + built my Gentle Monday practice.
Gentle Monday, or startday — a soft + kind productivity ritual for starting the week off with clear intentions + a supportive space. Ideal for creatives, freelancers, + solo-entreprenuers.
\\ the practice
Within our Gentle Monday morning, we’re flowing through grounding activities that fuel our trifecta — mind, body, + spirit — while preparing for the week ahead by making decisions in advance on what you will do + how you will spend your time. This will allow you to both ease into your week, set sustainable intentions, + be attentive to your creativity without having to spend your valuable energy on solving questions such as, “what am I going to eat?”
There are two main parts to Gentle Mondays, which is aligning + manifesting. I would dedicate at least an hour to this, but my own process usually takes about 5.5 hours, as you’ll see below. You do not have to do one part before the other - simply create a ritual based off these two elements that makes you feel excited to start the week.
◦ Aligning ◦
AKA - ‘me’ time. This could be a single activity or a routine — whatever makes you feel good + allows you to step into the person you are becoming. It’s about quality not quantity! You just want to make sure that you prioritize your aligning activity so you can nurture you trifecta, starting your week strong. ie, hot girl walking or reading the paper
◦ Manifesting ◦
Here we’re gonna get more specific with our process. The tool that I recommend using is a planner, but you can also use any journal or notepad that serves you - you just wanna be able to use the whole spread. Divide your layout into four sections: appointments, meals, tasks, + free space. Follow the steps below to plan out your week in a gentle, yet supportive way.
- Go through your digital calendar + copy down your events + meetings.
- Now that you know what your days look like, plan your meals so you don’t have to wonder or spend time on deciding later. Update your grocery list accordingly for easy shopping.
- Open your project workflow + note what you’re meant to make progress on this week in your free space. Break those down into smaller tasks if need be.
- Brain dump all of the tasks swiming around in your head in the free space, then mark which ones you’ll be postponing to next week.
- Using your notes in the free space, create a to-do list for each day under the tasks section.
- Schedule focus sessions for completing work + spending time on your creative projects. Timeblock these sessions in your online calendar.
- Copy your task list anywhere you need to digitally to keep yourself accountable.
Bonus: write down your affirmation for the week on a post it note + stick it somewhere you can easily see while working.
\\ don’t have the freedom to make your own schedule?
I’d like to note that if you are a 9-5er + don’t have the luxury of setting your own schedule, a wonderful benefit of this practice is that it’s not necessarily tied to Monday. Meaning, instead of doing Gentle Monday, you can do Gentle Sunday. You can make any day your gentle startday — it’s about defining + practicing what’s aligned to you + your lifestyle.
\\ my personal flow
I would be lying if I said my Monday always looked like this. My Mondays are never the same. This is due to variations in when I wake up, or how well I slept, or how my chronic illness sits with me that day, or the passions that play in mind, or simply life happening around me — I could go on, but you get my point. Gentle Monday is a practice, not an absolute fail/pass assignment - I just make the decision to show up as best as I can.
tidying up my spaces + cleansing the energy
walking, yoga, reading, or journaling
get ready for the day + eat breakfast
sit with my planner to make a clear task list, note all of my appointments, meal plan, + carve out time for my creative projects
turn on phone + attend to notifications on Discord + SMS
go into town + do all of my shopping for the week
reset kitchen + do light food prep
another round of ‘me’ time where I do yoga, go walking, or lounge around
turn on my computer + start with emails or any necessary client admin
dive in to the day’s task list