Is working a four day week really possible?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if after a busy weekend with the family, socialising with friends and catching up with DIY, we are given the space to have a Mindful Monday?  Then we could assimilate ourselves and prepare for the week ahead, instead of rushing into the office?

It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?  Companies around the world have started to experiment with the typical ‘working week’ by cutting their working hours and many have found this to increase productivity, motivation and decrease burnout.

Change is afoot

Berlin based software company Planio introduced a four-day week to the company’s 10 member staff earlier this year with positive results and Perpetual Guardian (a New Zealand trust company) reported a fall in stress and a jump in staff engagement after it tested a 32-hour week earlier this year.

Even workaholic Japan is experimenting with this new approach and encouraging companies to allow Monday mornings off.  

There seems to be a growing backlash against overwork after Elon Musk tweeted that ‘nobody ever changed the world in 40 hours a week’.  Now of course, we all encourage our children to grow up understanding the importance of working for a living, focus and determination; but if we’re really clever surely success can still be attained with more space in our working lives and without risking burnout.

Personally, I have always felt resistant to the act of jumping from one task to another, whether social or work, as it leaves me with no time to assimilate or reflect on what I have just experienced.  We all know that in order to really succeed we must embrace making mistakes and most importantly learn from them.  But how are we really expected to ‘sharpen our saw’ if we cannot look back over our experiences and extract the learning?  

Mindful Monday
Learning to Learn

During my career at AstraZeneca we used a learning review log to plot just this.  After any significant project we would review its success, listing what had gone well; what hand not gone well; the possible reasons why; and lastly and most importantly, what we could do differently next time.  Some found this process laborious at first as they were consumed by moving onto the next project, but with practise and discipline everyone came to find the golden nugget in this exercise.  It really did help to align future success because we had learnt from the past.

This was possible because the senior management team had bought into this process and hence this ‘space for success planning’ was supported across the manufacturing site.  Perhaps because we already had the mentality of risk assessment we were culturally more aware of the consequences of not learning from experience and the importance of doing so!

I wonder what percentage increase in efficiency we would all benefit from if we were to centre ourselves at the start of each week, check in with ourselves, reflect on last week and then use intention to manifest the week we want ahead of us?

Morning Assimilation

From personal experience, I find setting my alarm 20 minutes earlier in the morning and taking time to ‘collect myself’ improves my mental attitude for the day ahead.  Bizarrely enough I happen to do this while sitting on my foam roller waking my muscles up!  It seems to help my body and mind connection and I believe this is an important element I will talk about another time.

I recommend that each of us takes such time out in our morning routine, even if it’s just 10 minutes sat quietly before you get dressed for work.  Go within, nourish your body with a few deep breathes and ask these questions:

‘What do I need today to make me feel good?’

‘What do I want to achieve by the end of this week?’

‘What do I need in order to achieve this goal?’

Then, if you find personal benefit and share these results with your colleagues at work, the idea could catch on and you could become the influencer in the movement for Mindful Mondays…

One of our collective partners Boston Tea Party have done just this…they allow every employee to really ‘arrive at work’.  Everyone is given and encouraged to use 10 minutes of quiet time before they start their daily tasks.  This enables personal assimilation, clarity of thought and increases efficiency because they have taken time and space to centre and intend their day ahead.  They get a snippet of Mindful Monday every day.

I’d love to hear about the differences you have found by taking ‘time out’ at the start of your day and ‘assimilating yourself’ so please do leave comments and share the idea of Mindful Monday.

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