If you’re reading this at work on Thursday or Friday, chances are it’s one of many distractions on your least productive days.
But if you’re reading this on a Tuesday, then you’re likely to move on quickly and have your most productive day of the week.
The most-productive-workday question was answered again in a recent survey by staffing agency Accountemps.
HR managers at US companies with 20 or more employees were asked: “In your opinion, on which day of the week are employees generally most productive?”
Tuesday was the winner, with 39% of the vote. Monday was second at 24%, and Wednesday and “no particular day” each had 14%. Thursday, Friday and “don’t know” were all at 3%.
In a similar 2008 survey, 57% of executives at large companies said Tuesday was the most productive day. Tuesday was also picked as the top day for work productivity in surveys from 2002, 1998 and 1987, Accountemps said.
“Many workers spend Monday catching up from the previous week and planning the one ahead,” Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, said in a news release. “On Tuesday, employees may begin to have time to focus on individual tasks and become more productive.”
Compared with the 2008 survey, the day that “lost” the most productivity was Thursday, which got 11% of the vote five years ago but 3% this year. Monday gained in productivity, from 12% to 24%. Wednesday was rated the most productive day by 11% of respondents in 2008, and Friday was the most productive for 3%.
Accountemps offered five tips to increase productivity and make every day like Tuesday:
- Axe the excess. Create a to-do list, but prioritise that list. “A shorter, more realistic list that leaves room for unexpected projects and setbacks will help you become more productive,” Accountemps says.
- Aim for quality, not quantity. Multitasking can lead to oversights and errors, Accountemps says, so try to focus on one project at a time.
- Know your prime time. Different workers have different times of optimal efficiency. Once you have a handle on when you work best, move challenging projects to that time window.
- Dodge derailers. Unplug from email and social media when working on critical tasks. Accountemps also recommends politely telling co-workers that you don’t want to be disturbed.
- Explore apps. A wide range of software tools are designed to help workers be more productive. Use technology to your advantage, not your detriment.
—Neil Amato (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.