Bridgeman’s Principle (most productive day at work)

“A person is most productive the day before they go on vacation” – Bridgeman’s Principle

“A person is least productive the day they return from vacation” – Bridgeman’s Corollary

These principles were postulated by Bill Bridgeman, Vice President Commercial Sales, Bestbath, and a former senior partner in Portland Consulting Group. Having just returned from vacation, he put into words what many of us have experienced for years.

Why does this happen?

As we get closer to vacation, we get laser-focused on the tasks that need to be completed before we can leave. The closer we get to quitting time on our last day before vacation, the greater the intensity of our focus on making sure everything that HAS to get done gets done or offloaded, so we can leave. Of course, this intensity costs us the first or two of vacation as we let the adrenalin seep out of our systems so that we can actually enjoy our vacation (what a concept!).

And when we return from vacation, we’re still in the vacation “whatever…” lassitude, not really wanting to get back on the gerbil wheel of deadlines and activities and pressure and expectations and all the other frustrations of being part of an organization. Even worse, we return to all the emergencies and problems that have accumulated during our absence, making us fervently wish that we were still on vacation. So our productivity is about as low as a snake in snowshoes.

PS – today is the day before my 2 week vacation J

What has been your experience? I’d enjoy hearing from you.

Gary Langenwalter

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