Our blog “Mastering Microsoft 365”

Come Monday morning…

Come Monday morning…

It’s Monday again, after a, hopefully, relaxing weekend. Maybe you’ve time spent outdoors and in nature, having had a great opportunity to wind down.

Your brain has been able to enter a relaxed state of mind. Not like during a longer vacation, but still.

You can feel that you’ve become more attentive, to yourself and others. It’s a nice feeling and it’d be nice to bring it into the work week.

But come Monday morning.

And you are not able to keep that mental state for long.

There are tasks that have to be remembered. There are meetings that have to be planned for and booked. There are incoming emails that have to be scanned for information to be acted on.

It’s like your brain all of sudden has become part a computer in itself, in order to manage all the digital information. When the brain goes into this mode, it is difficult to keep up the relaxation and attentiveness to yourself and others. Do you recognize this?

The brain loses somewhat its capacity for discernment, its free flowing creativity, its capacity for connectivity. The qualities that make us human.

The computer mode can be very effective, no doubt. But the tasks that get done tend to be the ones that your brain found the first, the emails that were replied to the ones that appeared in front of your eyes, etc. Your actions are not based on real discernment of the long-term effects, tied to your strategy and long-term vision.

And your brain wants to go into action mode, answering emails more or less at once otherwise you’ll run the risk of loosing them, execute each task at once otherwise you’ll forget it, too.

But at the of day, you are left with a feeling of non-satisfaction.

It’s like something is missing for you.

Something more durable, something more holistic. something more in touch with you.

It could be that the computer mode that has tricked you. And that what you should pay attention to is that weekend feeling of relaxation and attentiveness.

What if you could bring that mode into your work week, at least for a bit?

The chances are that you would be able to be more creative, more courageous, more curious, more empathetic, more strategic.

A lot of the digital tools we have access to today are in fact designed to let you do just that.

The issue is that we haven’t learned to use them for that. We use them in old ways, believing that we need to act like computer in order to use computers. This might have been true some 20 years ago, but not any longer.

Here’s a scenario for how how a Monday morning could unfold instead, where you would be able to remain attentive and relaxed throughout the day.

So when Monday morning comes, you would open up your task app and you make decisions as of what tasks need to be acted on today. You’d put your energy into focusing on the long-term effects of doing those particular tasks (instead of using brainpower to try to remember all important aspects concerning a task).

The kind of suggested tasks vary from emails, team tasks, private tasks, recurrent tasks, and tasks that are loose ideas for the future (“sometime it’d be good to have this done…”).

You choose which tasks you should perform today, and add them to the task list for the day.

You make a point of adding only the tasks that you have a strong intention of performing that the day, as your objective is to have an empty list at the end of the day. You like the sense of discipline that it gives you at the end of the day to see that all the tasks are completed (or have new due dates). It gives you the feeling that you are a person to be trusted, a person who keeps what he/she promises, even to him- or herself. It is a feeling of power that also makes it easy for you to enter tasks with due dates directly when they appear. You’ve found a multitude of ways to enter data into the data app, both from mobile and computer, based on what type of information it is and how the task got to you.

This means that you have a large number of tasks in your app, with different types of priority, some are suggestions for things to do that you’ve been thinking about and others are things you want to do in the long term but which are not so important to get done soon. All these tasks reside in the app, but since you use the suggestion function in the mornings to plan your day, they don’t interfere with each other.

You also have a routine of going through all tasks regularly, to see if you missed checking off any task or to see if it is one of your possible tasks that you feel like completing in the near future.

Some time into practicing this routine you realized that it is good to do the weekly planning for the coming week on Friday afternoon, when the pace slows down a bit and people start to take the weekend off. It has turned out to be an excellent opportunity for you to check which tasks have their due dates set for next week and possibly add any task that is missing.

Does it sound like a utopia to you?

The fact is that the modern tools allow for this kind of working already now. We might not just see it because we are tied to the old ways of looking at information and how to handle it.

The features of receiving suggestions for tasks and to view what tasks are planned for next week are something that can be found in the ToDo app (which is part of Microsoft 365).

Now, just because an app holds features that allow for modern ways of working doesn’t automatically make you use them in that intended way.

What’s missing is you.

In order for you to reap the rewards of working in the modern ways, you need to work in the modern ways.

To be clear: you need to change your own behaviour.

Having the knowledge of how to do that that is a key to adopting the modern way of working.

But let’s be concrete about behaviours and let’s take a look at a specific one in my example above: the My Day routine.

It is simple and easy, does not take much time to perform and will still produce a lot of value for you. It amounts to performing the following steps: 1. open the ToDo app (e.g. on your mobile), 2. Click into the My Day view, 3. Add at least one task. That’s it! Easy peasy.

Do you still feel resistance in your body towards trying it out?

Then I’d like to say that that’s a normal feeling.

The resistance can have many sources.

Does it still feel difficult and too abstract? Does it feel like you won’t be able to fit it into your schedule? That you head won’t have space for learning a new way of doing things? Does it feel like you have tried so many times before to start to manage your tasks in a digital way but without great result?

That’s normal.

Anything that is new and the brain hasn’t done before has a natural restistance to it.

At Coach Office 365 we are experts in helping modern information workers work smarter. Our methodology for mastering Microsoft 365 takes the existence of resistance into account. That is why in our methodology we do the following:

  1. We challenge you. And if you take on the challenge, we keep you accountable.
  2. We support you. We will help you through any technical issue (as experts in Microsoft 365 and partners to Microsoft).
  3. We coach you. We will give advice on how you can turn the routines into automatic habits
  4. We reach you where you conduct your work, in Microsoft Teams.

Do you want to try out our methodology? We regularly offer free trials for some of our 5-day challenges and to see which we offer currently, go to the registration form at https://forms.office.com/r/zargA1GjL2 to check out and to register for free.

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