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Does Productivity Peak On Tuesdays?

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What’s the most productive day of the week? That’s easy, according to a new study. It’s Tuesday. The more interesting question, however, is “why.”

The study appears in on, a resource from Investor’s Business Daily:

As many as 39% of HR managers in a survey rank Tuesday as the most productive day of the week. Mondays placed second at 24% in the study by temporary accounting and finance staffing service Accountemps. Thursday and Friday were tied for the least productive day, each receiving just 3% of the responses.

Employee Productivity by Day

© Flickr user Joe Lanman

This is not a new concept, although past studies have presented competing data. In general, some days are more likely to be productive than others, right?

Not necessarily. It turns out that the biggest impact on our productivity isn’t the proximity to the weekend. It’s not technology or our own ability to manage our time. It’s actually other people.

A Forbes article explains:

Harris Interactive conducted a nation-wide survey in which they canvassed more than 2,060 professionals ages 18 and up between March 26 and March 28, to unearth the preferences and habits of U.S. office workers when it comes to an optimally productive environment…A majority of U.S. employees (61%) agree that loud colleagues are the biggest office distraction.

[Furthermore], forty percent of respondents named impromptu meetings from co-workers stopping by their workspace as another major office distraction. In fact, almost half (46%) said they primarily communicate with co-workers through e-mail, IM or phone to avoid the distractions that come along with face-to-face interactions (like idle chatter).

When a study notices that productivity appears to peak on certain days of the week, it’s a good sign that they are measuring something irrelevant, rather than talking to employees about what they believe truly matters. This is like trying to figure out the speed of a train by looking at which cars have the most passengers.

If you’re trying to figure out when people are most productive, you may be headed down the wrong path. Instead ask people: what does it mean to be productive? Find out what they need and how you can help.

And most importantly, get out of the way. That’s the best way to ensure that your team can get things done.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
@lorraineball First probably depends on the business. But second is likely training, especially with regard to sales. - 1 month ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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