Throughout the years, I’ve learned a lot from music regarding days of the week. For example, according to Robert Smith and the Cure, Friday you’re in love. However, for Rebecca Balck, Fridays are when you get down. Elton John proclaimed that Saturday’s alright for fighting, which you definitely should do. And, Sundays are usually for lazing (Queen), hanging out in the park (Van Halen), or maybe just taking easy on a Sunday morning (The Commodores).
But, what about a tune about the most productive of the week? Well, I don’t have a song for that. I do, however, have some research that may help answer that question.
Let’s not sugarcoat it. Mondays are a drag. I would probably say that most of us dread Mondays so much that it causes the Sunday scaries.
“Scientific studies basically confirm that Mondays suck, but the real question you need to ask yourself is why Mondays suck,” writes Choncé Maddox in a previous Calendar article. “Mondays suck because we make them suck.”
“Monday often signals the time when we need to get serious and focus on getting up early, mastering difficult work projects, having tough meetings and other tasks we may not want to do,” she adds.
At the same time, it’s also been found to be the most productive day of the week.
Why Mondays are the most productive day of the week.
An online survey from Moneypenny found that on Monday at 10:54 a.m. is when most Americans state that they’re most productive. The poll asked, which was answered by around 2,000 U.S. adults, what day are you most effective and what time of that day are you most productive?
Of course, this isn’t true for everyone. For instance, if you’re a night owl, you aren’t going to be most productive in the morning. However, there are valid reasons why Monday mornings can be so productive for a lot of people.
“Because you’ve stepped away for a couple of days, these back-to-work mornings are the most memorable for the rest of the week,” workplace and productivity expert Lynn Taylor told CNBC.
As such, Taylor urges leaders not to schedule Monday morning meetings on Monday mornings. After all, why would you want to distract your team when they’re at their productivity peak?
“Do as much of it as you can on Monday and Tuesday,” advises time management expert Laura Vanderkam, “because you know that stuff is going to come up.”
“It could be good stuff. It could be bad stuff,” Vanderkam says. “But by planning the week ahead and putting what matters to you into your schedule first, you vastly increase the chances that that stuff gets done.”
Entrepreneur Jeff Shore also maintains that taking a break from work during the weekend prepares you for a strong Monday return.
“When I take an entire weekend off, I am a beast on Monday morning,” he wrote. “I do my most creative work on Mondays when my brain enjoyed a full weekend off from work. So get ready for a huge productivity boost.”
Not to be outshined, several studies have found that Tuesday is actually the most productive day of the week.
Every year since Accountemps began surveying in 1987, Tuesdays have been the most productive day of the week. “Many workers spend Monday catching up from the previous week and planning the one ahead,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. “On Tuesday, employees may begin to have time to focus on individual tasks and become more productive. The goal should be to maintain the positive momentum established on Tuesday throughout the week.”
Based on the results of a 2019 Accountemps survey of more than 300 HR managers, employees are most productive on Mondays and Tuesdays, especially in the morning. Over half of workers surveyed in Canada reported the beginning of the week was their most productive time, with Tuesday (35%) beating out Monday (25%). However, employee productivity drops after Hump Day (18%), followed Thursday (12%) and followed by Friday (10%).
The Redboth survey.
A much larger study was conducted by Redboth, a company specializing in task management and communication. And, they found similar results as Accountemps.
Redboth’s tools allowed them to track productivity data, which helped them identify productivity patterns. According to their findings, Redbooth users created 1.8 million projects and 28 million tasks.
The report indicated that Monday and Tuesday were the most productive days of the week. Both days were extremely close, although Monday had a slight lead. Again. this may be because people are coming off of the weekend where they were able to rejuvenate and relax. As such, they weren’t physically and mentally drained like by the end of the week.
Redboth also found;
- Typically, the majority of our tasks are completed around 11 AM (9.7%)
- Our productivity decreases after lunchtime – and then completely drops after 4 PM
- Most of our tasks are completed at the beginning of the week, on Monday (20.4%).
- Friday is the least productive day (16.7%), and very little is accomplished on weekends (Saturday + Sunday, 4.7%)
Rockin All Week For You: How to Be Productive Every Day
It makes sense why Mondays and Tuesdays are often considered the most productive days of the week. However, you can use the following tricks to make every day just as productive.
Trim any excess fat.
First, create a to-do list for the day. Then, minimize it to your top priorities by cutting it in half.
It’s all too common for us to overfill our to-do lists calendars with tasks we want to complete in a day. Unfortunately, we become discouraged by the lack of progress we ultimately make. Being more productive will be easier by creating a smaller, more realistic to-do list so that you have wiggle room for setbacks and unexpected projects.
What about everything else on your to-do list? Personally, I’m an advocate for the 4 Ds of time management.
In short, this means that you must do your priorities and defer or delay essential but non-urgent items. You can also delegate tasks to those better suited to someone else’s talents. And anything that’s a waste of your valuable time and energy needed to be deleted.
Don’t multitask, monotask instead.
“Although the idea of multitasking sounds amazing, only a very small percentage of the population can actually do it,” notes Calendar’s Howie Jones. “You might still disagree and believe that you are an effective multitasker.”
However, science has consistently demonstrated the inefficiency of multitasking, such as splitting your attention and time costs. And, even if you’re in the minority of people who can multitask, it’s still causing you to lose productivity.
Instead of dividing your focus and jumping between tasks, do one thing at a time.
Know your personal production peaks.
Because we all have different circadian rhythms, we have other times when we’re most productive. As such, when you’re at your prime time is when you should tackle more challenging responsibilities. On the flip side, when your energy begins to drop, you would focus on less-pressing tasks.
If you aren’t aware of when you’re most productive, you can use a good, old-fashioned time log. You could also review part calendar data or time tracking tools. There are also techniques like calculating your biological prime time and following the three predictable stages throughout the day; a peak, a trough, and recovery.
Block out distractions.
The simplest way to do this is to turn off mobile devices and sign out of your e-mail and social media accounts. That way, you can focus all of your attention on what you’re doing. Likewise, notify your colleagues or housemates politely that you do not wish to be disturbed — or just share your calendar with them so that they know when you’re busy or available.
Build your energy.
Want to become a lean and mean productivity machine? Then you first need to build up your energy, just like an athlete training to run in a marathon.
Some of the best ways to go about this include;
- Get quality sleep by sticking to a schedule and keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
- Fight fatigue with the proper diet and physical activity.
- Closing any open loops that distract you from work.
- Decluttering your calendar and saying “no” to timewasters.
- Removing toxic individuals who drain you emotionally from your life.
- Listening to music that puts you into the zone.
- Take frequent breaks throughout the day to stretch, go for a walk, or indulge in a bit of self-care.
Image Credit: Jess Bailey Designs; Pexels; Thank you!