Does that 3.5 include lunch?

Somehow a copy of Prevention magazine happened into my mailbox. I think the AARP is out to get me. I’m seriously not that old (is Prevention for old people? Maybe it isn’t? I’ve always thought it was). Anyway, after it told me I should be walking and eating kale I saw an interesting little thing on one page. An image was tagged and said that the hours of actual work people complete on Mondays is … 3.5.

What?! That’s insane. Really? Is that true? I can’t tell since it isn’t like there’s footnotes. And I’m not really up to doing any hardcore sleuthing (I bet Prevention reads Reader’s Digest, so you might want to start there for sourcing).

I always find Mondays to be one of my most productive days. It’s generally quieter (and now I know it’s because NO ONE ELSE IS WORKING) and I feel a bit more energized after the weekend. Yes, it probably does take a couple more cups of coffee to really get going but mostly I come in and power through tons of things before the day is out.

Similarly, other days have distinct patterns: Tuesdays are THE WORST of all the days. By then everyone else has their crap together and wants to dump it on me. We have more meetings that day than others. It just tends to be when things spiral out of control. Maybe that’s also why there’s extra incentive to really buckle down on Mondays, because at least on Mondays I’m getting through my own to-do list whereas on Tuesdays I’m the victim of someone else’s. Wednesdays are a disaster for me but that’s because late-night Tuesday curling makes me draaaaag all day. If there’s a day where I’m most likely to reach the magic Prevention 3.5 hours of actual depths of production it’s going to be Wednesday. I try hard not to do any heavy thinking then because it’s very likely completely delusional.

Thursdays are great for meetings and big thoughts for some reason. I’ve never figured out why but people are always most open to longer meetings on Thursdays. And Fridays? Everyone loves a Friday. I use it (or, at least the afternoon) to wrap small tasks up and get myself organized for the upcoming week (probably also a reason Mondays are often quite successful).

But no matter what, no matter how much I’m procrastinating or reading to the end of the internet, 3.5 hours is really really low. And yet, at the same time, as Americans we spend more time at work than so many other countries? I guess we’re not really working.