Monday Motivation: Behind the 8 Ball

By Loralyn Mears PhD Loralyn Mears PhD has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on September 28, 2020

Monday motivation, oh boy, do we need it more than ever! Schools are back in session, retailers have Christmas decorations for sale (WTF?) and things feel heavy. We’re all weighed down by the strife in the world and need a boost. Here’s a pick-me-up to launch your week on the right foot that’s just about as good as a pumpkin spice latté! Studies show that your morning mood affects your productivity all day. Grit Daily is here to get your work week off to a good start. Rise and shine – it’s time for Monday motivation!

Digging out of a no-win situation

No doubt we’ve all heard the expressions, “behind the 8 ball” or “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” They’re essentially the same although the latter originated in ancient Greek mythology, referenced in Homer’s Odyssey and the former is a contemporary version first appearing in print during The Great Depression. Rather fitting that we’re bringing it back today, one century later, in an eerie echo of history repeating itself. In a nutshell, these expressions highlight that you’re in what seems like a no win situation. But, with Monday motivation coaching and a can-do attitude, winning is possible!

So let’s dig into being behind the eight ball. This theme is especially personal this week as I’ve been piled under gobs of work (paid and unpaid) and desperately trying to ensure that all of my deliverables have that standard of quality required to uphold my reputation as a content marketer. Doing so has required that I make some hard choices; I’ve had to skip a couple of Grit Daily posts (thank you, readers, for your continued support and patience!) and I’ve had to tell a couple of clients, “no.” That latter bit is especially hard to do as I always try to find a way. Today’s Monday motivation theme is all about “finding a way.”

Monday motivation tips to get in front of the 8 ball

Take it from me: I’ve learned the hard way. “Finding a way” to get it done does not mean sacrificing your sanity. Or compromising your mental and physical health. Yessss, I’ve often worked into the wee hours of the night only to be back at my desk a couple of hours later before the sun has come up. Not sustainable!

[Without these Monday motivation tips] “we would have been so far behind the eight ball, we would have been off the table.” ~Trevor Pryce

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and get caught up in wanting to do what you feel is right versus holding your ground to do what you know is right. Deep down, Monday motivation aside, you know that you shouldn’t stay chained to your desk day or after day, trapped inside without air or the feeling of sunlight on your skin. Think about it – that’s what they take away from prisoners as punishment for their crimes! So, why do we voluntarily set that as our own fate?

#1 – set boundaries

Yes, yes; we’ve heard it a thousand times before. Set boundaries. And hold firmly to them so that they are not encroached upon. Easier said than done, of course.

As freelancers, we want to take on that extra business or client because it typically correlates with revenue. And, for those of us that are not trust fund babies, revenues are important. There’s also (at least for me) a moral obligation where you recognize that your client (especially repeat clients) relies on you to get the work done that they need. There’s not much worse than the feeling of disappointment that you’re letting someone down.

Your choices? Compromise yourself so that you find a way to get it done no matter what. Shoddy quality be damned. Okay, that kind of works for the first week or two but it does catch up with you – limited sleep, exercise and being incessantly chained to your desk is damaging in many ways. Your spirit will be broken, your health will suffer and your client won’t be getting that 100% quality that they’re accustomed to receiving from you. It’s not fair to anyone. So, Monday motivation says – set boundaries. Tell them that you can’t get to it until three weeks from now – if that’s too late, they’ll hire someone else.

#2 – honesty really is the best policy

Here, we all need a bit of mea culpa (Latin for “my bad”). Be truthful, tell your client that you have been snowed under and are unable to deliver on what they need. Take on part of the job or, if you feel that you’ve compromised the quality of their work, offer them a discount to reflect your awareness and culpability for not delivering to the standard expected. Offer to help them find a Plan B.

Most clients welcome honesty. Some even herald it as “refreshing.” Of course, we live in a yin and yang world where there are opposites to everything. Yes, I’ve had a couple of clients lash out, blaming me for being unable to do their work and that’s tough to hear. But, for those few hours that I do sleep each night, I sleep peacefully knowing that I am doing the very best that I can for everyone, to honor my clients, my family and myself.

#3 – reduce your To Do list

If you’re a regular reader of Monday motivation, you know that I’m a To Do list gal. I have scrap papers, lab notebooks, Trello cards, Slack lists and employ just about every old school and new school modality there is to keep track of what I have to do. There are days when my pile of To Do list scrap papers start to haunt me and disturb my sleep. After a few days, the pile has a hodge-podge of scratched off items, circled items and some yellow highlighted items with a few written in red or purple and in different directions.

It becomes overwhelming. So, I purge. I move all the “in another lifetime” items to a list that I can’t see to make my desk organized and calm once again.

I take all the “must do” items and put them on another list, written in an orderly way. Then, I create another list (oh, I know, I hear the “OCD” chant coming through the screen) and list out ONLY the few things that I have to do today. That’s it. Then I crush them, one at a time, crossing each item off extra exuberantly as if I’ve safely navigated Charybdis, the treacherous whirlpool, and blithely skipped past Scylla, the people-eating monster.

And then, with that, I have a bit of time to walk in the fresh air, shower, spend some time with my family and sleep peacefully; waking refreshed and ready to put the 8 ball behind me.

Extra bits of Monday motivation

If you like podcasts, well, wouldn’t you know, we’ve got those, too! Three of them, in fact: 1) Like a Boss with snappy insights; 2) wine down and chill; and 3) Monday motivation. All three are available on all streaming channels including Apple, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more. Tune in! Finally, if you like my writing, check out my new novel, The Battle for Humanity, it’s a thriller you won’t be able to put down.

Podcast with Loralyn Mears

Have a fabulous week!

Image by wsyperek from Pixabay 

By Loralyn Mears PhD Loralyn Mears PhD has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Dr. Loralyn Mears is a Columnist at Grit Daily and a podcast host (The Grit Files, which aims to shine the spotlight on female founders). She is a content marketer, founder of the WORKtech startup, STEERus, specializing in personal and professional development to address gaps in soft skills - communication in particular. In her consultancy practice, she helps clients with content and strategy. Loralyn spent over a decade playing with mosquito DNA, got her PhD, decided she would rather market science than be at the bench and has never looked back. Along the way, she’s wined and dined her way around the globe. She's authored two books, including the 2018 Gold Medal Indie Book award-winning, One Sip At a Time: a Memoir and the hard science thriller, "The Battle for Humanity: How Science Saved Us." 

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