The Tuesday Effect

3 August 2015

At the writing of this sentence, it is nearing the end of a Monday. At the finish of this post, it will be Tuesday morning in my time zone. While I should be lying in bed, computer closed, visionary aide removed (no contact lenses, no glasses, no lights), I am writing about the struggle I’ll face in six hours.


I call it The Tuesday Effect.


Think of the last time you had to take a flight, drive a far distance, or wake up at an unusually early hour for some event. Rising wasn’t that difficult, right? At least not for me. It was a singular event, and I was mentally—as a consequence, physically—prepared for it. So much so, that I awoke, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, before the alarm sounded. I knew that the event was coming; it was something new, and I was anticipating a change. The effects were nominal. Of course, later in the day, I felt very tired and out of sync, but the initial change of events was easy to cope with.


Now think of the last time you started a new routine. This is common for those not yet on the stable career schedule. Many students are awake all hours of the night and arise at noon, but are then lurched into a replicated version of a stable career—such as a corporate internship—requiring them to arise at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning. The beginning of this routine is much the same as the process described above: a relatively easy shift into the dawn of a new routine. The day passes, it feels strange, but was mostly painless.


But the event was not singular. If only.


Waking up the next morning is not so effortless. Monday wasn’t bad at all, but Tuesday on the other hand…that’s where the effect comes into play. The alarm sounds. You press snooze. The alarm sounds. You press snooze. The alarm sounds. You press snooze. The alarm sounds…


The Tuesday Effect.


You drag yourself out of bed, hastily change, maybe shower, definitely don’t eat, and hurry off to wherever you’re supposed to be. The day is an uphill battle and you almost give up, but you eventually you make it through and soon it’s hump day and you’re on the downhill. Only two more days until the weekend; that sort of thing.


Tuesdays suck. There’s no way around it and nothing to do about it. We’re adaptive creatures that can push through to Wednesday. But it’s important to be aware of the Tuesday Effect. It is ubiquitous in life. You may get through the first week of your new job just fine—the Monday week—but the following week, you experience the Tuesday Effect. When you move to a new city, you are caught in the bustle of newness that your first month flies by with little thought. The second month drags on like a dying animal. When you start some four-year plan, like a college degree or a contracted career, the first year will be filled with change and adjustment, so you are too busy to struggle with forming a routine. But the second year, you experience a slump triggered by the Tuesday Effect. For most situations, it’s more difficult to adjust to change after the first experience of something new than the first experience itself, as the initial shock energy has worn off. It is this second point where true effort is required to move past. Fortunately, once you have overcome Tuesday, things start to flow a little smoother. A routine develops.


I’m no psychologist or mental health expert, but this seems to be a regular issue, and I figured I’d share. So bring it on, Tuesday!


We can’t wait for Wednesday.