4 Ways To Make Mondays A Little Less Painful

Sgt. 1st Class Brian Eisch gives a thumbs up to range safety NCOs indicating that he's ready to engage targets.
U.S. Army photo

Most of my adult life, both in and out of the Army, I dreaded Mondays. Whether you are a cubicle dweller or just released from a Friday final formation, that feeling of freedom on a Friday night is unmistakeable. By Sunday night after Games of Thrones, the creeping dread of Monday is coming full force. I found myself in a self-defeating circle a while back and found a way to sidestep this issue and embrace a new way of viewing Mondays: by making Monday your day to start out crushing your week.

I am not going to espouse a #CarpeDiem approach to life, but I did forget for awhile after leaving active duty that any day could be your last. I saw a great TED talk while eating my lunch at my desk on a Monday not hustling to make my life better. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk had a simple message for me that day: Live your life to do what you love, and if you aren't doing that, then starting moving on that direction.

So on that depressing cubicle lunch, I started moving in a direction where I could look forward to Monday. After all Monday is the first day of the work week where you can use all of the steam you built up over the weekend to plow through obstacles.

So, what? You hate your job? Use it to create a legacy.

In a Task & Purpose article, Paul Mooney told a story about how he used the job he hated to find what he loved. It’s okay to have a bullshit job when you get out of the military. It’s a job, if it helps you pay the bills and get you towards your life goal, then great. Start your side hustle, launch a business, network. Chances are you haven’t figured out what exactly you want to do, or your “dream job” of playing Xbox and drinking Wild Tigers probably won’t pay the bills.

Related: 10 Ways To Make Yourself More Productive »

My first job off active duty was not a great fit for me in a large way because I needed to mature as a civilian and shed some bad habits. Don’t put the strain on your family or your own psyche by being without a job while in transition or after leaving the military. When you find your next opportunity, be ready to jump on it. If you are in a position you hate with people you hate, self-reflect and see if it’s you or them. If it really is them, utilize the skills you learned hanging out with third-world security forces and make it a game, trying to influence and win the local population in your own insurgency.

Stop waiting for the weekend.

Pop culture, the malt liquor industry, and other crap out there tries to convince people that you need to be #TGIF basking in the freedom that the end of the work week presents. Many Fridays I’m on the road heading to my side gig as a National Guard helicopter pilot, it's way better than happy hour with Carl from HR. The idea of looking forward to the “freedom” of the weekend is a trap. Life in America presents so many opportunities that the weekend should be where you tee up your options for the week. I use it mostly to spend time with my family, read, and get ready to work on my side projects whether that be writing or serving in the guard. There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks on Friday with friends or colleagues; heck, it’s a great networking opportunity to capitalize on next week, but don’t make it the only thing you look forward to all week.

Remember: Discipline equals freedom.

Experienced Navy SEAL commander and best-selling writer Jocko Willink who ran SEAL operations in Ramadi during 2005 has a saying on his podcast: “Discipline equals freedom.” While this sounds like something a drill instructor might say to new recruits, it is true. Freedom of choice can be an overwhelming burden to many. Monday is a day to establish your routine and utilize a disciplined approach to tackle the week. Get up early, fight the urge to hit the snooze, get prepared for your day, maybe do a few push ups — chances are you could use it. Success is based on a mind set that you can develop each day with a little discipline.

Get by with a little external motivation.

Somedays I wake up and can’t shake the begrudging feeling of shuffling off to work. Thankfully, due the wonders of the internet, there is the ability of a non-stop flow of motivation. Find what works for you whether it be motivational videos from your favorite veteran entrepreneurs at Article 15 Clothing, or theme music from a movie hero montage. Be self-aware enough to know when you are stuck in a rut and use the tools out there to get you back on your feet ready to crush adversity.

My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."


Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

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Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario's seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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An Army staff sergeant who "represents the very best of the 101st Airborne Division" has finally received a Silver Star for his heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge after a 75-year delay.

On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Sternot was posthumously awarded with a Silver Star for his heroics while leading a machine gun team in the Ardennes Forest. The award, along with Sternot's Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was presented to his only living relative, Sternot's first cousin, 80-year-old Delores Sternot.

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U.S. special operations forces are currently field testing a lightweight combat armor designed to cover more of an operator's body than previous protective gear, an official told Task & Purpose.

The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

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