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the most stressful time of the work week April 21, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Experiences, Seen Elsewhere, Wasting Time.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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This is post 200 of CorporateSpeak.

According to an article in the Telegraph, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, Tuesday at 11:45am is the most stressful time of the week:

Most workers coast through Monday getting their brain in gear and catching up with gossip from the weekend through social networking sites.

But on Tuesday reality sets in and staff spend the first part of the day going through emails they ignored on Monday before planning the week ahead.

And 11.45am is the point when everything comes to a head.

Graham Waters from health supplement Bimuno, which polled 3,000 adults, said: “Traditionally people associate Monday as the worst day of the week, but this doesn’t seem to be the case – coasting through Monday means we’re worse off on Tuesday – both in terms of workloads and stress levels.[…]

“Tuesday at 11:45am seems to be the time in the day when the real workload for the week hits employees and as a result stress levels rise.”

This part, in particular, made me chuckle:

More than 53 per cent of those polled admitted cruising through Monday and one in ten said they further delayed their tasks for the week by logging onto Facebook to view photos from their weekend antics.

Checking Facebook: the new smoke break at work. (CC-licensed photo by MarsHillOnline)

Checking Facebook: the new smoke break at work. (CC-licensed photo by MarsHillOnline)

It just so happens that yesterday I had to finish a project due today, so for me it was a slightly busier Monday than usual, but I can understand how this happens. Think about it: what do you do on the weekend? Sure, you check Facebook and e-mail, but if you didn’t go out and do something exciting, you’re not on late, posting pictures of your debauchery (unless you’re the Facebook Babe). When you get to your desk and see those 200 e-mails waiting for your attention, what’s the first thing you want to do?

That’s right. You want to see if any of your friends hung out with any hot girls (or guys) over the weekend, and if they did, find out if they posted pictures of it.

Then you hit up Digg, Fark, and whatever other sites you really like to check each day but don’t bother checking on the weekend because you’re too busy trying to decide if you want to do something debaucherous*, or if you’d rather sit on the couch and watch television while avoiding chores**.

By the time you’re caught up on the internet, your e-mail box has swelled to 300 or 400 items, some of which are spam but most of which are things you really need to get around to doing. So you flag those, respond to the easy ones, accept or decline meeting invitations, and at 10:30 or so finally get through it all.

An hour and a half isn’t enough time to really do anything, though, so you putter through the rest of the morning, pretending to work. You take a longer-than-you-should lunch, get back, and are so full that you don’t really feel like doing anything. Throughout the afternoon you make halfhearted starts on your projects — at least, the ones you think might not suck too much to begin — but then it’s time for coffee, a ritual that takes half an hour. And if it doesn’t (it takes me about ten minutes to brew a pot), you can pull it off.

Who wants to ruin a good cup of coffee? Sit at your desk, enjoy it, and check your social networks again — you have people’s “ugh, Monday SUCKS!” messages to comment on, dozens of tweets to read, and hey, maybe someone’s even posted pictures of scantily-clad women (or men) from the weekend beach getaway. Gotta check out all of those (in minute detail!), make your comments, share them with certain work friends, and now it’s almost 4:00. Hell, that’s the end of the day; just play out the string, come back tomorrow, and deal with all of it.

Hence the Tuesday-at-11:45 dilemma.

I wonder if people who work 4×10 schedules (four ten-hour days each week) experience this. My guess is “yes, but less” because they can knock out all their social networking in three or four hours and still have seven to actually accomplish work. Yet another benefit of the 4×10.

My favorite benefit, personally, is being able to schedule all your job interviews on that fifth day.

Anyway, I need to go. It’s almost lunchtime, and that means an hour to not accomplish anything. Awesome.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

* Yes, fine, I made that word up. Got a better one? There’s a nice little comments box down there…

** I find that the best way is to pick a few chores you enjoy doing (or at least don’t hate) and volunteer early to do them. For me, it’s the lawn (I can put on my headphones and tune out the world), the dishes (because I’m better at them than my wife and my kids aren’t old enough), and cooking. Then, at least, when my wife says “you never help out around here” I can point to those three and say “but I did that!”***

*** This never works, unfortunately.

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