The first day of the workweek always arrives loudly and obnoxiously. It’s been ingrained into our brains that Monday = bad. We’ve actually become so stressed about Mondays that it seeps into our Sundays, giving us the scaries.
But what if there was a way to make Mondays a lot less overwhelming and mitigate the damage of burnout (something that a whopping 79% of people experienced in 2021, according to the American Psychological Association)?
That’s where the idea of Bare Minimum Mondays comes in. The term was coined by TikTok content creator Maris Mayes. “Doing the bare minimum brought back my functioning,” reads one caption. People flooded the comments section of her videos, exclaiming that this practice has been life-changing.
At the time of this writing, the hashtag #bareminimummondays has over two million views.
The concept of Bare Minimum Mondays is simple—do the bare minimum on Mondays, nothing more and nothing less. It’s kind of like triaging your to-do list. A Bare Minimum Monday eases you into the workweek by focusing on self-care over productivity. It’s about being more intentional with your time and prioritizing yourself as a person over an employee.
People who are not on board with Bare Minimum Mondays argue that this encourages slacking. Ofc, as with anything, some people will inevitably take this too far.
The concept is not about checking out of work. It’s not saying, “Hey, miss your deadlines! There won’t be any consequences!” Rather, it’s advocating for setting more boundaries. “I’m actually getting more done, and I’m happier overall,” Mayes explains in this video responding to criticism of the practice.
Just because things have always been done one way doesn’t mean that it’s the best way. Burnout actually decreases your productivity and quality of work. Realizing this and rejecting hustle culture has resulted in the exploration of different work schedule structures.
For instance, a recent four-day workweek trial in the UK—the largest to date—involved 2,900 employees and 61 companies in the latter part of 2022. The trial showed that over 70 percent of employees reduced their levels of burnout and improved their overall mental and physical health.
As for the companies? An increase—albeit small—in revenue was reported, but it was a marked difference from previous years. The significant improvement in employee wellbeing and retention led to most of the companies continuing the new work schedule after the trial ended.
As with anything, Bare Minimum Mondays won’t be a good strategy for everyone. But we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to any other areas of life, so why should work-life balance be any different? Even the four-day workweek trial mentioned above accounted for this. A variety of four-day weeks were developed, tailored to each company’s unique needs.
Remember: “Minimum” l i t e r a l l y means the least possible amount.
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