How UX Pros Crush Monday Mornings (+ Playlist!)
Real-world tricks to get into the zone
For creative professionals, there are many positives to working from home — more flexibility to work during hours that suit us best, more time with family. But when the start of the work week means rolling out of bed and moving a few feet away to tune into a virtual meeting, well, motivation can be hard to come by.
Blank page paralysis is real. We know what we have to do, and we certainly know how to do our jobs — it’s just the getting started part that feels like an uphill battle, especially on Mondays.
So how do UX professionals shake off brain fog, get out a creative rut, and make a fresh start to the week? We recently surveyed our talented crew at Modus for advice:
Make a to-do list the night before, or even better, on Friday — so you don’t need to start from scratch.
Plan your day or week according to project priorities and start working on them as if you are trying to accomplish a goal.
Knowing yourself is essential. Find out what time of day you are most operational and when you are most creative.
Have a consistent process you use and have deadlines for each step. That way you know you need to do XYZ in what order and you are kept accountable to it!
Change things up
Wake up earlier than usual to do something you really enjoy (instead of work) for 30 minutes. Then hit the showers and cruise into work.
Have you thought about changing up the way you begin your day (a longer shower, a quick walk, 10 minutes of yoga)? If you spend most of your time sitting at your desk, start by moving to a location where you can stand instead of sitting. Or give yourself 10 minutes to begin by writing things out or sketching on paper before moving to the computer.
Create triggers to start your work
Create rituals and habits that get your mind and body in the zone — that cup of tea, that song you listen to, that shirt you wear, how you arrange the stuff on your desk — whatever it is that you associate with “go time.” For me, it’s my “work slippers.”
Treat it as if you are actually going to work “in person” by taking a shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, tea... You will feel refreshed and energized to tackle any projects or tasks.
Step away, walk around the house, make a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and mindfully think or say “Ok. Let’s do this.”
Make a small moodboard (screenshots, color palettes, typography combinations, functionalities, etc.). Replicate some of the things you like. Then, move away from the moodboard and just do your thing.
Create a playlist with your favorite songs and use that to help keep you motivated. Here’s two Spotify playlists from Modus to get your day going:
Have a reward for starting work — a quick walk or a snack. Don’t forget to buy many snacks in advance on the weekends.
Break it down
I follow this mantra: “The easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” It can be overwhelming to start something huge, but if you break it into manageable tasks for yourself, you can start ticking things off your list and you’ll gain momentum.
Break down the project into smaller tasks, then just focus on one task to get you started. Need to redesign a site: Start by screen capturing five pages. Need to create a UI kit: Start by gathering fonts and colors, etc.
Before you start, define what “finished” looks like (a rough content outline, a pencil sketch of two pages), and stop when you get there. Keep your perfectionism in check.
Just do it
“Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.” You could start small with some quick tasks that don’t take a lot of effort to get in the rhythm. Feels good to start checking things off the list.
Some days I do the things I don’t feel like doing so I can get to the things I want to do.