I used to suffer from the Sunday night blues.
At 6pm on a Sunday the emails started flooding in…
…I could set my watch by it!
As people in the leadership team I was part of tried to get on top of their inboxes before the start of the week ahead, the emails would start flying in…
– each one sent to multiple people who would then feel the need to reply (often ‘to all’) – and on it went!
And so not only did I suffer from the Sunday night blues – the Sunday evening dread of the week ahead…
…Monday kind of started over 12 hours early!
According to Wikipedia:
Sunday night blues is an acute condition, mostly affecting nine-to-five workers and students. This condition is characterised by anxiety about the week ahead and a sense of helplessness and depression. It most often occurs on Sunday afternoons and evenings. It is also referred to as “school bus blues” or “Sunday night depression”.
I certainly felt anxious as Monday approached. If I had worn a Fitbit back in those days then I’m sure a sleepless Sunday night pattern would have emerged!
It got worse…
Then came the age of the smartphone and I was given a Blackberry ‘to help me stay in the race’…(!)
Now every evening was a Sunday evening – wherever I was…
Guilty as charged
If we take the view that everyone in an organisation contributes to the culture of that organisation, then we are responsible for the culture we are helping create…
By replying to emails from my manager and the rest of the management team at a weekend, I was not (just) a victim of the team culture and email traffic, I was reinforcing that culture and generating more email traffic…
I read somewhere (apparently originally advertising a Sat Nav) that instead of complaining that we’re “stuck in traffic” we should realise that “we are traffic!”
What can we do about it?
Brigid Schulte in her wonderful book Overwhelmed says:
Time is power.
Don’t give yours away.
Stop the “cycle of responsiveness” that makes work feel intense and unending.
If you suffer from the Sunday night blues (or every night blues!) – can you make small changes and decide to leave your emails/messages unanswered for a few hours or a whole evening? What else could you do with that time?
For more thoughts on how to take back control, please see this guest blog I wrote for Patti Oskvarek.
Do you suffer from the Sunday night blues?
What are Sunday evenings like for you and your team?
Does the week start on Monday morning – or does it never end?
Let me know in the comments below.
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