Maximize Your Workweek by Retiring ‘Hump Day’

Stop visualizing your workweeks as a series of grueling climbs, and Wednesday will become more than just a tipping point toward the weekend.

The concept of “hump day” has had a long history – too long, in fact.

For many years employees and managers alike have talked about the importance of getting through hump day (aka Wednesday) and making it to the weekend. Unfortunately, hump day is a career killer.

Hump-day employees look at every week as the process of starting at the bottom of the hill on Monday morning at 8 a.m., climbing to the top by Wednesday at noon, and then coasting down to the bottom of the hill by 5 o’clock on Friday. These people haven’t gotten anywhere during the course of the week. They are back where they started on Monday morning, week after week after week.

Imagine a college athlete who performs exactly the same way at the beginning of every season. Those kinds of players never get off the bench, assuming they can even keep their spot on the bench. Intuitively, we know we must continually improve if we want to take our careers to the next level. With a hump-day approach to the workweek, we sabotage productivity and psychologically set ourselves up for a mediocre week and a mediocre career.

Study Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and a host of other great achievers. They didn’t push forward for 52 working hours and then slump backward for another 52. They raised their bar of achievement, and then set the bar higher again and again.

Instead of working for the weekend, try filling out a “Leap-Day Worksheet” at noon Wednesday. (Maximum time investment: 35 minutes.)

1. Make a list of the meetings/activities/events that have occurred so far this week.

2. For each entry in Step One, answer these five questions in less than five minutes:

a. What did I do that was effective?

b. What did I do that was not effective?

c. What could I have done to be more effective?

d. What did I learn from this experience?

e. How can I use what I learned to perform at a higher level for the remainder of this week?

From now on, make Wednesday at noon your weekly inflection point to capture key lessons and catapult to a higher level of performance over the remainder of the week. After all, the greatest performers in history didn’t rise briefly and then fall backward. They leapt forward to higher and higher levels of achievement, and hit repeat.