Why tackle today what can be put off until Tuesday? In a new survey, 57 percent of executives said Tuesday is the most productive day of the week for employees. Monday was the second most popular answer, although it appears to be losing favor: Only 12 percent of respondents ranked Monday as most productive, compared to 26 percent in a 2002 survey.
The national poll included responses from 150 senior executives -- including those from human resources, finance, and marketing departments -- with the nation's 1,000 largest companies. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance, and bookkeeping professionals.
Executives were asked, "In your opinion, on which day of the week are employees generally most productive?" Their responses:
The results mirror previous surveys conducted in 2002, 1998, and 1987.
"In addition to serving as a 'catch-up' day after the weekend, Monday is when many regularly scheduled meetings occur, which can decrease the time available to complete tasks," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Many view Tuesday as an opportunity to focus their efforts and establish momentum for the rest of the week."
Accountemps offers the following advice for maintaining a high level of productivity throughout the entire week:
- Make a plan. Spend 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of each day mapping out your desired accomplishments. Prioritize the tasks that are most important to the business.
- Sharpen your focus. People are more productive when working for an extended period in the same mental mode, as opposed to changing gears frequently. Try to cluster tasks that require similar effort or resources in the same time frame.
- Limit distractions. It can be tempting to review e-mail each time a message arrives. However, unless your job requires an immediate response, it's often best to check your inbox periodically throughout the day.
- Don't delay. Even peak performers occasionally put off working on unpleasant or overwhelming assignments. One effective way to overcome procrastination is to break a project into smaller, more manageable tasks.
- Recharge. Taking short breaks throughout the day can help you replenish your energy and fight fatigue.