How to remain guilt free on Monday mornings

garfield_monday_blues

While the Monday morning blues (due to inertia of the weekend mood) is something which all of us experience and acknowledge as an unavoidable phenomenon, there is one more factor which usually comes into play on Monday mornings which might further pull us down. This is something which most of us would have gone through during certain phases of our lives especially during our prime. It is about “Monday morning guilt”. The guilt of having wasted 2 precious days of the weekend doing “nothing”.

weekend_lazy

While some might argue that weekends are actually to just eat, relax & sleep, there are some who feel time is as important as money and would like to utilize every minute of it for something productive. However, these are at the extreme ends of the spectrum and most of us lie somewhere in between. i.e We want to relax on weekend as well as do something but eventually end up doing nothing and feel guilty on Sunday night or Monday morning.

Although it is perfectly fine to waste a weekend, if it causes a slight feeling of guilt later, then it indicates a need to necessary actions to avoid any such feelings and this article is for such readers.

If you have read till here, it means you are interested in making your weekends better and more accountable. A change of habit is necessary to achieve this goal and it requires a transformation. But as with any transformation, it cannot happen overnight and even if it is possible, it is not advisable because our body and mind do not like overnight transformations. I believe in the technique called “Kaizen” which means continuous improvement with incremental/gradual changes which I feel has lasting impact (based on my personal experience). So, I will share a long term plan with incremental changes to your weekend activities so that you feel more fulfilling at the end of it and remain free of guilt.

To begin with, all you need to devote is just 2 hours on Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday (Phase 1). If you have been spending your weekends lying on the bed or just aimlessly browsing facebook/twitter, or have certain commitments with family and relationship, weekly chores and so on, continue doing them, but try to squeeze out “2 + 2 hours” this weekend to begin your Phase 1 of the transformation.

Phase 1:

Now that you are determined to squeeze out 2 hours, what can you do in this time slot? Here are some suggestions:

bbc_documentaries
Watch a documentary:

The most common misconception about documentaries is that they are “boring”. Well, something becomes boring when you are not interested in it. But I am sure you are interested in some topics or at least curious about it. Maybe you are interested in food. Or maybe you are curious about economics or maybe want to know about how advertising can influence our minds. There are hundreds of curious topics and thousands of documentaries waiting to be picked up or downloaded. I have been reviewing some really interesting documentaries here.  There are comprehensive catalogs of documentaries with online links for instant viewing (free). I recommend catalogs like TopDocumentaryFilms & DocumentaryWire. Since most of the documentaries listed in the catalogs are from YouTube, you can even download them by following instructions in this article, convert to any format and watch it on your TV.

The reason I suggest watching a documentary is because it is usually condensed with information and insights which is equivalent to years of research, reading and assimilation. Watching a well researched documentary can help you being aware, improve critical thinking, make you feel confident about your knowledge in a subject and with some more effort, you can even become an expert in that topic. A typical documentary is less than 2 hours long and can easily be watched in one stretch. This would be the most useful 2 hours that you would have spent time on and even if you wasted the other 46 hours of your weekend, you would still feel satisfied, guilt free and above all, more knowledgeable. If you manage to watch just 1 documentary every weekend like this, by the end of the year, you would have watched 52 documentaries (or 104 documentaries if they are 1 hour each). If you identify 4 of your favorite topics and watch relevant documentaries, then by the end of the year you would have watched 26 documentaries on each topic and thus you would be an expert in 4 topics by the end of the year.

solo_photo_walk

Solo photo walk:

If you commute using your personal vehicle, there is a very high probability that you have never walked in your neighborhood. Now that you have dedicated a solid 2 hours time for yourself, how about a walk just to see things around you? I know you might say that you have seen everything around your neighborhood because you drive through it everyday, but the reality is that you have just seen the tarmac and not the street. You might know where exactly each pothole and speedbreaker is but you might not know about the tall, wonderful coconut tree reaching out to the terrace of a 3 storeyed house just a few yards away from you. Neither would you be aware of the mini rose garden in the front yard of the big mansion down the road.

So, just step out of your home with a camera in hand. Why camera? Because without a camera, you will just stroll aimlessly and get bored easily. But if you go with a camera and determined to take some good shots, then that becomes the motivation to search for interesting things/scenes/shots around you. You don’t need a high end camera. Just a normal point & shoot would be fine. In fact, a camera phone would be ideal because you are not going for a National Geographic photography assignment anyway. Just take some decent shots using your phone-camera and come back home. The emphasis here is on seeing and exploring rather than the final photo shots. What would you achieve by doing this? It is like a workout for your creative mind. Our jobs throughout the week demands us to be analytical which requires tremendous usage of left brain. This is an opportunity to balance it out and this might in turn help you remain calm since this solo photo walk is a form of meditation by itself. Also, the satisfaction that you derive out of this activity will last a long time.

read

Read a few pages of a book:

“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” – Mark Twain

I think most of us agree with the quote but the problem is that we dont seem to have time to read anymore. But now that you have decided to dedicate 2 hours this weekend, pick up a good book which you had always been longing to read and finish a part of the book in these 2 hours and put it back in the shelf. Next weekend when you dedicate yourself 2 hours, pick up the book again, resume reading and continue the process over the next few weekends until you finish the book. Even if you read at a slow pace, you can finish atleast 20 pages per hour (assuming non fiction. If it is fiction, it might be 30-40 pages per hour).
In the 2 hour stretch, you can finish 40 pages. A typical book contains 200 pages which means you can easily read a full book in 5 slots of 2 hours each (1 book in 5 weekends). This means in 52 weeks (1 year), you can read 10 books!!

10 books in an year by just taking out 2 out of the 48 hours each weekend. And you thought you did not have time to finish even a single book in an year.

Are you motivated to squeeze out “2 + 2 hours” this weekend to try these? Choose any two of the above three suggestions this weekend and let me know how you feel. You can contact me over facebook message here:
https://www.facebook.com/guruprasad.gp

Based on your feedback over the next few days, I will plan for Phase 2 of this transformation plan and will upload the next part of the article in this portal. If you feel this article might help any of your friends, share it and if possible try to collaborate with them. If you have some suggestions, please let me know so that I can share it here and acknowledge you as well.

UPDATE:
Part 2 is uploaded in the following link:
http://guruprasad.net/posts/part-2-how-to-remain-guilt-free-on-monday-mornings/

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