For me it’s about TGIM! Stop hatin’ on Monday

mondayFor far too long I have sat back and not said anything or ranted about this topic but today that must change. Today I must confess my love for something that for many of you may seem weird, unusual, horrendous, and yes even unpatriotic. I am in love with Mondays! Phew there I said it.

Every Monday morning I wake up to messages like the following:

“All the coffee. #monday

“I love driving [sic] on Monday morning we are all in such a great mood! There should be only 2 kinds of pedestrians allowed on the streets during rush hour, the quick ones and the dead ones….”

“Well we have come to another sunday night…which means tomorrow is monday FML can we just skip to friday!”

These messages and a million more are plastered all over facebook and twitter. People are screaming for their weekends not to end. They are hating on Monday as though it did something wrong to them.

Well to all of them I say this: you my friends are in the wrong professions. You my friends are hating on Monday when really it is you, you should be hating for picking boring and mundane professions that do not give you the thrills and excitement that my Monday gives me. For far too long Monday has been the dreaded day so far removed from Friday (only after 4pm), Saturday, and Sunday that it strikes fear, anxiety, rage, and even sadness in so many hearts across the world. People are working for the weekends (for crap sakes there is even songs about it).

What the hell? Why? I know it sounds really weird but Monday is the beginning of a whole new week for me. Monday is the day I get up and I get to work on all the things I love. This is not to say that I hate my weekends but rather appreciate all the days for what they have to offer. Monday is a good chance to start all over again. Monday is the day when I get to start having all my “beerstorming” meetings, my awesome phone calls from clients who want to work on crazy ideas and fun videos begin again, my long lunches and my meetings with clients at the Great Canadian Bungee or at the National Art Gallery come to shape. Sure my weekends are filled with cottage time, sports days, family and friend time, but if you’re careful about what you choose to do in life you will never have to live just for those 2.5 days out of the 7 day week.

Choosing is hard believe me I know it. But holy shit to only live for 2.5 days out of 7 seems crazy to me. Monday can be a glorious day if you search long and hard for what it is you want to do.

Happy Monday everyone.

Tales from the home office

Get your ass out of bed, stagger tiredly to the kitchen, grab a cup of ‘pick me up’, grab your internet machine, slouch down into your comfiest chair and now you’re ready to get to work! Sound inspiring? Oh and the episode doesn’t end there. Your house will never be cleaner, your dishes will never be washed so many times, clothes and closets will be organized and reorganized, pets will get a whole lot of attention (even if they are your neighbours pets) for anyone that ever finds themselves working from home this might be a more familiar story than you think. You are not alone, many people all across Canada and the globe are choosing (forced) to work from home, some more productive than others. Some of these home workers are graduate students doing research, entrepreneurs, or telecommuters.

For all those working at home who are suffering from ‘anythingotherthanworkitis’ I have some tips. Some tips that have helped me, and tips that have helped those I work with.

  1. Wake up and GET out of the house. Go for a walk, grab a newspaper, meet people. Yes, even in the winter if you live where it is cold, get the hell out of your house. I have found this to be the thing that wakes me up in the morning, gets my brain moving, and allows me to get out of my pajamas and into some clothes that may be more conducive to looking like you might do some work today.
  2. Trick time. One thing that I have found to be super helpful while learning how to work from home (or period) has been to break things down into the smallest amounts of time as possible. For instance instead of completing a WHOLE chapter in one day, challenge yourself to finish just 2 sentences. You will find that as you sit down to just finish 2 sentences you will get into the ‘groove’ and you will work longer. The hardest part to most tasks is getting them started.
  3. Write it down. Yes, simple but effective. If you can’t see it glaring at you in the face then it is just that much easier to avoid.
  4. Share it. Even better than writing it down share it with someone. This helps to make yourself accountable. I have done this with several of the athletes I work with. If  they have papers to write and they want to make the deadline a week earlier than when it is due they will arrange to send it to me. Otherwise, they will just not be able to trick themselves into completing the paper before the real deadline.
  5. Rewards! I use a Smarties/M&M/Skittles system. Incredibly sophisticated as it is this system allows me to reward myself in little jolts of excitement. Pretty much weekly there are 2 bowls on my desk, 1 bowl is filled with some form of sugar rewarding rush while the other is empty. Every time I deem something that I have done as productive I take one candy and place it in the other bowl. When the bowl that was empty is full I know I have done lots of productive things, I get to eat the candy, and I take a day off. So how will your reward system work? Will it be as sophisticated as mine?
  6. Rest. When you work from home it can be all encompassing. There is no such thing as taking work home-it’s all around you all the time. Just because it is readily available doesn’t mean you have to work ALL the time.
  7. Take notes. My home office is filled with books, has a wall that is painted in white board paint, and has hundreds of sticky notes in it. There are a million things you could be doing and should be doing. You will get phones calls and emails galore, people will decide that since you work at home they can connect with you at any time. For those people they get nothing more than a courteous ‘I will take a note of that and get back to you tomorrow’. Not only will other people barge in on your time but your frigging brain will always be bombarded by messages from everywhere. Now that you are at home you can turn on the TV, the radio, people are walking outside, you can freely surf the internet. All of these things can lead to hundreds of hours of time flying by. When I’m watching TV show X at 6pm I might have a brilliant world changing idea. Do I jump up and get working on it? I write a note ‘start working on world changing idea tomorrow.’
  8. Find your time to work. All of the above stated, you work at home so your hours don’t have to be 9 to 5 (most of the time). I love this about my work. I am an early riser and I love working in the hours when every one else is not. I get a whole lot of work done with almost no interruptions. I mean facebook statuses are rarely being updated at 5:30am at the feverish pace that they are at say 10am (less distraction). Find the hours you work well in and make those your core hours.

Now for all you folk who actually go to a place of work that is not your home do not think for a second that we home office workers are fooled by what your schedule can look like as well.

So what are some of your tips? How do you work from your home office? I would love to hear some ideas and suggestions.

Life never gets easier but maybe a little clearer

To me life can be a beautiful picture as we move forward, as we embrace the bends and turns and curves that life throws at us. Believe me there are days when I wish there were a straight path, a path that contains the least resistance, but then what fun would that be? A little bit of panic, a little bit of sweat, pain, tears, and persistence is what truly can make all those good days become the BEST days.

I have been so fortunate lately to have been moving closer and closer to the work that I know I love, to the work that makes my spine shiver when most things go right.

Recently I have been working with Company ABC (not to be confused with Company XYZ) to do some change management and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it. People are fascinating creatures and putting a group of people together and saying “produce” is even more fascinating. I am falling more and more in love with the human puzzle that we call offices and “work”. I mean does anyone else find it fascinating that every single one of us is supposed to be a “snowflake” (no two alike) and that we all coexist and cohabit to produce “things” and in most cases we do it pretty darn well with only the occasional hiccup along the way (in most cases).

What I love about this work is that Company ABC came to me on a whim and a notion that there was 1 singular issue; 1 singular person that might be causing a whole lot of challenges in their business. But in reality when we lifted the mat up there were all kinds of things that had been swept under there for years. There were deeper roots that needed some trimming. To me this was a big challenge with a bit of a discovery to take on but one that, luckily, Company ABC was willing to embark upon. I also have to give HUGE credit to the fact that what they (the managing partners) were willing to do, in bringing all of their employees into the process, and in trusting the process was a vastly beneficial and unfortunately far to uncommon factor in this processes success. Change management is by all accounts not easy and usually entails a bit more mess but in the end if all are heard and a few things are shifted often times calm and cleanliness begin to take shape.

So what have I learned:

  1. I love human nature and examining human nature even more than I ever thought I did.
  2. I REALLY love working with teams and discovering group dynamics.
  3. That Creativision needs to take a bit of a shift itself-for the better.
  4. There is nothing better in life for me than to see other people succeed beyond their own beliefs.
  5. I have profound respect for those that are willing to trust and to make changes and to get messy and to try new things.
  6. That I never want life to stop throwing me curveballs.

In the end I ask….

What are some of the lessons that you are learning about yourself on a daily basis? How much effort are you putting into learning more about yourself and making yourself happier?