If you’ve never heard of “Bare Minimum Mondays” before, you’re probably not on TikTok. It’s one of the top work trends on TikTok so far this year. The concept was made famous by Marisa Jo Mayes, who has made a series of videos about Bare Minimum Mondays.
She’s explained that when she was working in a corporate job, she was dealing with the “Sunday Scaries” every week—dreading the next day because she was so overwhelmed and paralyzed by stress. She would make an unreasonably long to-do for Monday, with the intention of grinding extra hard that day to get back on track. Mondays would then be even more stressful because she had piled way too much on her plate. She didn’t have a good time management system in place, and she wasn’t bringing her best self to work on Mondays because she had been too anxious to sleep well on Sundays. The cycle of stress and overwhelm continued until she burned out completely.
Bare Minimum Mondays: Unlocking Productivity with Strategic Focus
Now, Marisa gives herself permission to do the absolute bare minimum at work on Mondays. She says she doesn’t take meetings at all, spends the first few hours of the day avoiding technology and makes time for self-care things like going for a midday walk. She says she’s still productive at work on Mondays. However, instead of tackling a lengthy to-do list, she focuses on two or three crucial tasks that significantly contribute to her goals. Making sure those most important tasks get done is her mission for the day. Setting such reasonable goals allows her to knock it out of the park on Mondays so she can ease into the rest of the week feeling rested and proud of what she’s already accomplished.
Granted: Bare Minimum Mondays only work for Marisa because she’s now self-employed and her workload is flexible enough to allow her to schedule her time this way. Many of the professionals and entrepreneurs I know who are struggling with time management, productivity and overwhelm don’t have the kinds of jobs that allow this much flexibility. Imagine calling a Realtor and getting a voicemail message explaining that they’re not available because they prefer to focus on self-care on Mondays. Or having a client turn down a time-sensitive phone call because they “don’t take meetings on Mondays.”
And yet, Summer Fridays have become a widely accepted part of professional work culture. We all understand that summer is just different from the rest of the year and that people have different needs that need to be accommodated with more flexible scheduling.
So maybe Bare Minimum Monday isn’t something you can fully implement in your life—but you could take some inspiration from the trend this summer!
For Peak Productivity, What Would Your Ideal Summer Schedule Look Like?
Summer can feel a bit chaotic…especially when kids are off from school and family vacations are on the horizon. It’s even trickier when you’ve got work deadlines and you want to enjoy the weather and have time for you. We all know that time management and productivity challenges can become even more challenging in the summer months. In a lot of households, the daily and weekly routines are shaken up by kids being out of school. Summer travel plans can create a lot of disruption to your work and personal routines. And your priorities might naturally shift during summer, requiring your routines to shift too. You might feel pulled to spend more time outdoors or spend more time with family than you’re able to during the rest of the year. At the same time, you have professional responsibilities to meet and progress to make on your most meaningful goals.
- What if you gave yourself permission to build a schedule that works for you this summer, even if it looks a little different from your typical schedule?
- How could you do that without sacrificing productivity or losing the momentum you’ve been building toward your most meaningful goals?
When you’re thinking about making the most productive use out of your limited time in summer, think critically about how your weekly schedule supports that goal.
Don’t be afraid to make some unconventional choices in the process.
If you want to decide that every Thursday afternoon you’re going to take a two-hour break to go get an ice cream sundae, do it! If you want to shift your entire summer schedule so you start work at 7 and are unreachable after 3, and you have the ability to make that work, try it!
Just make sure you’re carving out adequate time to get the most important things done. Having a time management plan to use that time productively can allow you to enjoy your non-work time with minimal stress. Remember, your schedule should feel like a flexible tool that works for you and not an obstacle that has to be overcome.
3 Action Steps for Perfecting Your Summer Schedule
- Look to Sundays for clues about what kind of schedule you crave. Do you get the “Sunday Scaries” because you dread everything that’s waiting for you on Monday? Maybe think about implementing some schedule changes that make Mondays easier and less pressure-packed. Or maybe you’re so exhausted from the previous week that you typically spend Sundays too zoned out to even think about the week ahead. Could you build some extra break time into your Wednesdays and Thursdays so you don’t totally run out of steam by Friday and can enjoy the weekend?
- Put off most “wishful thinking” tasks for the summer. These are the kinds of tasks that Marisa doesn’t even try to accomplish on Bare Minimum Mondays—things that would be *nice* to get done but are ultimately low-priority. They might end up stuck at the bottom of your to-do list for weeks. Some of those tasks are time sensitive and do have to get done quickly (calling the doctor’s office, returning emails about an event next month), but others can be kicked down the road. When those tasks pop up, add them to a list of things to tackle in the fall and let them go. Protect as much of your unscheduled time as possible this summer.
- Plan dedicated time to reassess every week. Things are constantly in flux during summer. How you allot your work time and personal time may change from week to week. Some weeks, a gloomy forecast may mean you elect to spend long hours at your desk. Another week, you may want to play hooky on a Tuesday just because it looks like it’s going to be a great day for a hike, and make up the time by working a full Friday.
Need more support with time management and planning this summer?
Join me starting on 6/23 for the Weekly Planning Lab Summer Series! It’s the first time I’m teaching my Weekly Planning That Works process as a summer series, because I’ve noticed that people need extra support with planning during summer. Join me for a live 30-minute working session over Zoom, once a week for five weeks. You’ll learn how to create and implement weekly plans that allow you to prioritize the most important things and create balance that allows you to fully enjoy your summer!