How To Stop Feeling Anxious on Sunday Evenings
This is the first post in Living For the Weekdays, a pragmatic guide to becoming a part-time entrepreneur, finding meaning in work, and beating the Sunday blues.
It was 6pm on a Sunday evening. As I looked outside and saw the sun setting, I suddenly felt a spike of anxiety inside me. I couldn’t believe that the weekend was already over. The idea of going back to work on Monday filled me with regret. Did I make the most of my weekend? Did I sleep too much and live too little? Or sleep too little and game too much? These are the regrets I felt every Sunday while I was working as a management consultant in London.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to a LinkedIn Survey in 2018, 80% of American adults worry about the upcoming work week on a Sunday. This is sometimes called the Sunday blues. The Sunday blues isn’t a feeling that exists just on Sunday. It’s a feeling that probably exists within us all the time, but it is crowded out by our survival instinct during the work week. We are so busy servicing the immediate need for money and the tasks laid out for us at our job, we forget about the Sunday blues, until Sunday.
It is easy to assume that the feeling of anxiety is a result of doing work and that work is an inevitable consequence of survival. And therefore we should just accept this feeling as a fact of life. However, after speaking to friends and colleagues , I’ve come to believe that this feeling isn’t just because of doing work but rather it’s a result of doing the “wrong work”.
So if Sunday blues is a result of doing the “wrong work” then we should all switch to doing the “right work”. And while this is the ultimate goal in my opinion, it turns out identifying the “right work” is very difficult. As humans we are much better at identifying what we don’t like, than what we do like.
So, finding the “right work” is what I’ve been trying to do for the last 7 years. After leaving my job as a management consultant, I went back to university and did a masters and PhD at Cambridge University. However, by the time I finished my masters and was headed into my PhD, the Sunday blues found me again, except this time it wasn’t just on Sundays, it was everyday. As much as I value and enjoy writing academic papers, I felt that I had other facets of me that were going unexplored and unsatisfied. So, in the first month of my PhD I set up an AI (artificial intelligence) startup.
More than 5 years on, I have finished my PhD, sold my start up, started a new company, taken on advisory roles, started work as a postdoc, made countless mistakes, often feel at the edge of my abilities, constantly short of time but, the intensity of my anxiety and Sunday blues have been reduced by at least 90%.
I won’t say that they’ve gone to zero, because I still question whether what I’m doing is the “right work”, but it feels a lot less wrong than before. And even though I’m still on a journey, I want to share what I’ve learned so far with you. I call this Living For The Weekdays.
Living for the Weekdays or LFTW is a framework for building a part-time business using your unfair advantages. It is a framework that I have come up with based on my own experiences, but also the experiences of my friends and colleagues. The framework is flexible and domain-agnostic. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a doctor working 5-6 days a week or a student at university working a few hours a month. LFTW can be adapted to whatever constraints or goals you have in your life. The framework is individual.
As a researcher, I also understand that theories and frameworks are iterative. They are improved and refined over time. As a result, LFTW is alive, growing and evolving. And although new insights and experiences will shape the details of LFTW, what won’t change is its underlying principle: building a part-time business using your unfair advantages. Even if LFTW isn’t perfect now (and probably never will be) the mindset and approach it encourages, I believe, will significantly cut the time to find the “right work” and reduce your Sunday blues.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have the Sunday blues or has found the “right work”, that’s incredible and I would love to hear how you did it. For the rest of us, I hope that there is something for everyone by pursuing the LFTW mindset.
If you’ve reached this far, then you’ve likely identified that you want to change something in your life. Chances are that the idea of “side-hustles”, part-time entrepreneurship and Living For The Weekdays appeal to you. If this is the case, then consider subscribing to my newsletter.
My content is based on both my personal experiences but also on the first hand experiences from others’ journeys. If follow me or my content, you can expect to hear from successful YouTubers, entrepreneurs, writers, politicians, academics and amazing people working at non-profits. You can also expect to see posts on topics including but not limited to:
Beating the Sunday blues
Identifying your strengths and unique selling point
Finding the best use of your talents
Monetising your strengths
Transitioning from work misery to work joy
Building a part-time business
If you’re living for the weekends, it means you’re only 28.5% alive. But it’s never too late to change and start living for the weekdays.
P.S. I will be sharing and writing lots more about Living For The Weekdays on my socials so if you’re interested in hearing more about my framework and becoming part of this community then please give me a follow or subscribe.