I’m one of those guys that likes to plan. And when planning I have a need to make the start of a thing line up with the calendar in such a way that it will start on the “first” of a block of calendar time: the first of the month, the first of the year, or the first of the week—i.e., a “Monday.”
I think a lot of people are like this, because we instinctively mentally break down our lives into the established blocks of a calendar as a matter of conveniently managing and organizing our lives. And this isn’t inherently a bad thing—organization, is after all, a tried-and-true method of project management and enabling and fulfilling a goal. The entire notion of a New Year Resolution is rooted in this concept.
I’ve been noticing a trend where if I don’t start something the right way on the intended “Monday” I create a mental block that will usually prevent me from starting it until the next “Monday”, if at all. In other words, if everything’s not “just right” on the predetermined “Monday” I suddenly have excuses (that I call “reasons”) for why I’m not ready to start the thing. The first of a year, month, or week as a starting point for a thing, while convenient for organization, also too often becomes just as convenient for making an excuse for not starting a thing. And all too often, because it’s not “the first” or a “Monday” becomes the reason.
Again, I’m probably more in the norm here, rather than an idiosyncratic exception.
As evidenced by its constant evolution over the millennia, the way we break down time—specifically the numbering and counting of days, weeks, months, and years—is largely artificial. Yes, the rotation of Earth and its orbit around the sun create units of measurement that see days divided into day and night and the coming and going of season in predictable repeating patterns, but January 1 as the start of a new year, the breakup of months into 28-31 days, and the seven days of a week (and whether you start your week on Sunday or Monday—I’m a Mon-Sun guy myself) are all pretty arbitrary in the grand scheme of things.
(I just want to insert here that I have a general understanding of the evolution of the human-made calendar, and how and why it became what it is today, but that doesn’t change the point I’m making with this post.)
Recently, I heard the phrase “there are no perfect Mondays” while watching a video relevant to personal self-improvement. It’s stuck with me since and has me reevaluating my approach to how I organize not just work and creative efforts (generally the same thing), but also life in general. What am I waiting for? I can start now, so why don’t I? Is waiting until the next (or any) “Monday” actually going to make a difference?
Mentally, in some ways, yes, it does make a difference, and I think it does so for most people. It’s often made a difference to me. But in thinking about it objectively in my own life, it’s become clear that I am pretty much always just as productive with my work or efforts no matter when I start them, regardless of what the day of the week or month it is.
The trick is starting as soon as I feel ready to do it.
Waiting until the next “Monday” if you have the ability to start now is—at least for me—often an exercise in procrastination justified by whatever excuses can be made for not starting now. It doesn’t matter if it’s exercising, learning something new (there’s a case-in-point argument, eh? How many schools start in the middle of the month rather than the first?), editing a video, writing a song, or any of the other things I do or want to do. And waiting too long, especially if you’ve got everything you need to start now, can sometimes mean missing an opportunity.
I’m writing this on a Tuesday, in a sort of steam-of-consciousness manner, meaning it’s likely a little disjointed or lacks the flow and order I try to give my thoughts. But some of that is because it’s also an effort at putting into practice the point I’m trying to make.
I need to write more often and more consistently. Not for much reason beyond my own need to just get out of my head some of what’s in it. But I tend to procrastinate and put off actually making time to write because it’s not “Monday”. So here I am on a Tuesday, rambling along about “no perfect Mondays” and starting now (again) on doing a thing I’ve been intending to for longer than I care to admit.
There are no perfect “Mondays.”
Which means every day can be “Monday”.