004 - Design a Better Monday

What do you think about Mondays? They're the worst right? Well, what if they didn't have to be? What if you could design a better Monday for yourself and everyone around you?


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Check out the full transcript below:

Tony: Howdy friends, welcome to the XD Podcast. As always, I'm your host, Tony Daussat and if this is your first time joining us, thank you so much for tuning in and if you are a return listener back for more, I'm obsessed with you. I really appreciate you and your ear holes. I can't thank you enough for listening to the show. It really means the world to me that I have you by my side as we go on this journey, exploring experience design.

Now before we get started, I just want to say don't forget to subscribe and leave a review of the podcast if you like it. It really is a tremendous help and if you don't subscribe and leave a rating or review, listen, you're going to make my toddlers cry and nobody wants crying toddlers. Their little noses, run and snot gets everywhere and pretty soon their, their whole sweet face is just a mix of snot and tears and broken dreams. So you know, do with that what you will.

Okay, so this is an interesting episode for me because I've been thinking about something for a while now and I haven't been able to really pinpoint how to define it or attempt to shed light on it.

So I've been having this... I don't know this feeling, this feeling that as designers we might care too much about the products we're designing - that - Okay, but that sounds off. Rather, we prioritize the product and work over the things that actually matter most ourselves, our family, our loved ones. It reminds me of a phrase, my CEO here at Bottle Rocket always preaches, which is “the most important thing is to make the most important thing, the most important thing.” Now it's a bit of a head tilter when you first hear it, so let me just throw it your way again, “the most important thing is to make the most important thing...The most important thing.”

And that doesn't mean stop kicking butt at work or avoid the product or deliverable or presentation, but to me it means that as designers we sometimes get so focused on designing experiences for other people that perhaps we forget to put energy and passion into designing the experience that matters most; which is our own lives. And this extends beyond designers as well. There's this, this general mindset - Well, okay - For example, when you wake up on Monday morning, what - What's your mindset? Without fail, every Monday I would bet at some point you run into someone or multiple someones that think Monday is the worst thing that has ever happened to them. Saturday and Sunday was the all you can eat buffet and Monday is the food poisoning. Without fail, the “hey, good morning. How are you?” Inevitably seems to attract the, “Well, it's Monday, so…” as a response. what does that?

What does that even mean? “Oh, it's Monday. So... you're alive, Susan. It's Monday, so it's awesome to be breathing.” I just don't - I don't understand it.

So many people don't kick it into gear until Wednesday - Hump Day. So then they're left with a relatively productive Wednesday and Thursday, and then sometimes Friday. I think it's so funny when people get so jazzed by the end of day Thursday because the only thing that stands between them and an all you can eat, Netflix buffet is one more eight hour work day. Then the weekend hits and then come Monday morning... They repeat the cycle.

And the thing is these same people complain about life, their job, they're unhappy, they're unfulfilled, they have too much debt. I believe, and this is strong, but I believe they've designed their lives to be that way. They've chosen the pallet, they've chosen the interactions. This is the journey map they've defined and outlined.

They designed a really, really, really crappy week and at this point they're so trained to live in this ecosystem that they've designed. It's extremely hard to redesign or transform it. It's a legacy product of negativity. Because you know it's... It's easy. It's so easy to be a Monday hater, or to be negative. And let me say this just to be perfectly clear, I am so not innocent here. This is not me writing a high horse on the penthouse level of an ivory tower. I think the reason I get so passionate about this is because I find myself doing it and I find myself being completely satisfied with being a legacy product and that's just straight up death by a thousand cuts. I constantly have to remind myself that at the end of every Sunday you get the opportunity to design the next day, next week, better. Next time you go through the doors of work, the next time you open the doors to wake up your kids because it's Monday and that means that it's the start of the new week.

Last week was Beta. Launch this week. And the next week, evaluate, iterate, fix the problems and launch 2.0... Instead of rolling over and hitting the snooze 73 times, like I so often do, I just want to spank that stop on the alarm, get out of bed and kill it. Make Monday profound instead of perfunctory.

And you know, it really hit me the hardest about a month ago. Candidly, I'm a little morbid, but sometimes I think we all are, but I was surfing the old web and based on several of those like Internet life expectancy calculators, I've got about 2,500 Mondays left in my life. 2,500. So I'm really going to try and I would encourage all of you as well: Design a better Monday. Make It a Monday you love. A day, you obsess over. A day you cannot wait to wake up and punch right in the face. Instead of looking forward to Friday when that clock strikes 5PM - Look forward to 6:30, Monday morning when you get to wake up and show the week who’s boss. Be freaking Tony Danza. Do that and trust me, your coworkers, your boss, your spouse, kids, friends, family. They will start to notice, and it'll start to rub off.

And I get it. Trust me, I get it. Life is hard and crap happens and there sometimes feels like it's a mountain to climb... which I say, good. Enjoy the climb. Embrace the fact that you'll always be climbing, because every time you get a little bit higher up the mountain, you become a better person than you were the day, week or Monday before. No design product is ever really finished. It's a constant iterative process. Always learning, always growing, always refining. So smile more. Look people in the eye, ask people how their day is doing and actually mean it. Listen. Listen to people. Engage.

When you walk into the elevator, don't get out your freaking cell phone. That one I'm really trying really, really hard to stop. I'm in the elevator for what? Like three minutes, depending on how many stops it takes along the way. Do I really need to get my stupid phone out of my pocket in the time, instead of engaging in conversation with the human being next to me? I don't even freaking get service in the elevator, but I habitually grab the phone out of my pocket or I have my headphones in. And these are people that were supposed to be designing products for... and we can't talk to them for three minutes in an elevator.

And that's the real rub. This kettle is so very black here. I'm tragically guilty of the very things I'm pontificating about, but I'm trying. I really am, and I hope you'll join me in this attempt as well because it makes a difference. It does. Making deliberate decisions to design a better Monday triggers reactions to the rest of the days and those around you. You know, in design we talk about creating “surprise and delight” for the user... so try to surprise and delight yourself. Make Monday the app you always want to tap open.

Obviously it won't be an overnight thing. Nothing well-designed ever is. It could take months or years to even reach Monday MVP. It certainly hasn't been overnight for me, but you know, we're getting there. And I really, really don't mean to sound preachy here, or sound naive to the curve balls life can throw you. Trust me. This past weekend was spent at the ER and then the hospital because my one and a half year old got two strands of the flu and early stages of pneumonia. You better believe the last thing I wanted to do was show up to work on Monday, which is actually today. Also the day I'm recording this very episode.

So I guess what I'm just trying to do is spread some optimism and I think we can do it, especially as designers. We always preach empathy. We always preach impact. We always preach all of these things and yet it's hard to reflect it in our own product: us.

So let's do this together. Imma need support. Ya’ll gonna need support. So reach out on facebook or instagram @xdpodcast and tell me how you are going to karate-chop Monday’s throat this week. And if you haven't already again man, I would love for you to subscribe, leave a review, and... thank you so much, one more time for joining me on the XD podcast.

I'm Tony Daussat. And until next time, friends, stay curious.