Tackling Tricky Tuesdays

Tuesdays are tricky. You don’t have Monday’s rush, and the rest of the week appears to stretch out in front of you languidly. I’ve got time, you think to yourself, plenty of time to get everything done by Friday. Besides, I am entitled to a break – I’m gonna be working my ass off for the next three(-four) days, right?
This, even to those who do not believe in Astrology, should be the true chovva (Tuesday in Malayalam) dhosham – it foretells tension, dissatisfaction and perhaps even disaster (ref: http://www.prokerala.com/astrology/mangal-dosha/manglik.php) for those who do not tackle it.
Why would a Tuesday be tricky if I kept to the same standard as on the other days, you ask? It wouldn’t be, but take a look around you and guess how many people are feeling as gung-ho as they would on other days of the week. Monday’s reports and reviews are done, the course of action over the week has been plotted out and schedules fixed – and time is on their side. If you could sense an aura that indicates urgency around those near you, how many would be screaming, “I’ve got to get this done today?”
It’s particularly hard for those whose careers depend on week-ending numbers. You send out your team after their Monday morning review and trust them to conquer the world – but until the banks close on Friday/Saturday and you know exactly how many orders or how much revenue you’ve booked, you’re on tenterhooks. Freelancers have it tough too, because they do not have the luxury of a mandatory weekend off – their livelihood depends on the fulfillment of their commitments, come what may. If you don’t get it done by Friday, the boss within is not really going to allow you to chill on the S-days.
And the trick to dealing with a tricky Tuesday is to be smart about it.
Start by poring over your inbox in detail. Most people know Mondays are cranky and do not expect responses to non-urgent communiques – but their patience runs out as Tuesday rolls in. If you do not get back to everyone who wants to hear from you, chances are that they’ll escalate. And then suddenly, your boss pushes a low-priority task higher up the list because he does not want to hear from your respondent any more. What should have been a routine reply now becomes a test of your conflict-resolution, relationship-management skills. CYA before you have to.

It’s another reason why you should reserve your really important – but perhaps not time-critical – emails for Tuesday. Most people would have cleared their backlogs from Friday by then (or from Thursday, if Friday was too hectic for them) and new mails are more likely to capture their attention. Try this with your ‘busybee’ bosses once and you’ll see for yourself how timing your email is as important as what you put in it.

If you have reportees, work closely with them and make sure that they’ve built on their understanding of your expectations from them (for the week) in the past 24 hours. You do not want to find out on Friday that Tom, Dick and Harry had no idea what you were talking about on Monday, but assumed the others did.
Monday…                                       …Friday
And conversely, get back to your boss with a couple of initial progress reports and perhaps a few intelligent questions (and I cannot stress the ‘intelligent’ part enough), just to let him/her know that you are on track – believe me, life’s a lot simpler when you are proactive with your updates than when your manager has to ask for them. Do it often enough and you’ll see your boss letting you run things much longer without interfering.
If you have the time, follow-up with some clients about any services/solutions rendered the previous week. If there is a problem, you get time to identify it and rectify it before it’s duplicated for other clients; and your clients are happy with the after-sales/-service follow-up – and hey, a happy customer is never bad for business, right? (Unless you are with mouthshut.com, or a lawyer, but that’s a minority I don’t mind discriminating against)
After all this, check up on your Big-Fat-Goal (One thing, good) for the week. Reassess progress, course correction, follow-ups… you might have taken up 2/5th of the time available, but aim to be at least halfway done by the end of the day. Murphy never gets it wrong, except when he does because he is right, but… you get the picture, right? Give yourself some extra time to accommodate any screw-ups with your BFGs.
That probably takes you till just before clocking-out time, and spend this interim mapping out what you want (yourself, your team) to do on Wednesday and Thursday. Don’t leave it for Wed-morning. And the reason is simple enough – you aren’t as drained out on Tuesday night as you might be on W/T, and you still have a residual hangover (metaphorically, hopefully) from a refreshing weekend, which will help you put things in much better perspective than when your mind is shorting out.
Then go home, go out for a movie, dinner, a date – whatever. But Go. Out. Getting to the end of Tricky Tuesdays deserves a treat.
‘Cos Wacky Wednesday is just around the corner…