By Marcus Wynne, published on September 1, 1998 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
By Marcus Wynne
The constant demands of life in the office can make one day seem much like the next. In fact, though, there's a rhythm to the work week—one that you can use to your advantage.
At the beginning of the week, workers are apt to be very demanding and disagreeable, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Surliness can actually increase productivity instead of creating conflict, says Debbie Moskowitz, Ph.D., a psychologist at McGill University in Montreal. "Dominant behaviors are frequently about getting things done—setting goals, organizing work, assigning responsibilities," she explains. This sort of task-setting peaks on Tuesday, and unpleasantness peaks a day later.
That's contrary to expectations. "People tend to think that they get more disagreeable during the course of the week," observes Moskowitz. "In fact, people start out that way and get more agreeable later in the week." As hard-line behavior disappears, we become more flexible and accommodating. Thursdays and Fridays find us most open to negotiation and compromise because we want to finish our work before the week is out.
The conciliatory demeanor at week's end seems to be preparation for Saturday and Sunday, when getting along with family and friends assumes the greatest importance. Come Monday, the good cheer is gone and the cycle starts over again.
MONDAY: Organize, plan, and delegate
TUESDAY: Follow your boss's directions
WEDNESDAY: Avoid conflict with co-workers
THURSDAY: Ask for a favor or a raise
FRIDAY: Ask a colleague to do things your way