Monday, May 14, 2012

Productivity problems

It used to be that the two least productive work days of the year were the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA mens basketball tournament. Workers would head out to lunch and not come back, and those on the job would give half-hearted effort to work and most of their attention to that all-important matchup between two schools whose campuses 99 percent of America couldn't find on map. Now, I will agree that those two days can throw a wrench into a firm's productivity, but I think I can beat them.
We are coming out of the least productive two weeks in Van Wert County. That's right, it's not late December through New Years, and it's not Peony Festival weekend. Give me two weeks of temperatures in the 70s and 80s in mid-March, and I can bring Van Wert County to a screeching halt! Well, not completely. But just how hard has it been to continue with that Midwestern U.S. work ethic with a full-blown case of spring fever? Sure, I've seen lawns mowed for the first time of 2012, flower gardens weeded, and cars washed. But the work most of us earn paychecks to do has to have suffered since spring got such a big head start.
Here in the palatial offices of Times Bulletin Media, we work without windows. Well, the front office has windows. The rest of us doing all the grunt work back in the South Wing of the estate have little idea if it is day or night, rainy or sunny, March or November. We just keep plugging away, far away from the temptation of windows and the call of Mr. Blue Sky. These days that beckon those with the window seats have no effect on us... until we need to go outside. Maybe news has just broken out. Maybe it's lunch time. Maybe we thought we heard a noise. Whatever. And we go outside and then...
I'm not really sure what happens from that point. Nobody ever seems to come back. Not until the next day when it all starts up again. Or when we get all overcome by guilt that we drag our sorry selves back through the high-security doors, sit down at our chairs and wait for the memory of how nice it is outside to fade away. Let's face it, if we all had better memories, every factory, store and business in this county would have been empty at least half this week.
Those people who work outside are not immune to this either. The percentage of time daydreaming as opposed to cleaning up brush or framing up that wall has certainly been skewed toward fantasyland over the past two weeks. Don't try to deny it! It's only human nature. Unless you are one of those people who apparently has some penguins in your family tree, you long for the beginning of spring and you curse that wretched groundhog and the shadow he rode in on every February.
Spring is when a young man's fancy turns to love. At least I think I read that in a high school English class once. Spring is also when our collective fancies turn to baseball, bikinis, barbecue, and at least three other things that begin with 'B.' There are a few other items we are reminded of when spring makes an early entrance. Farmers are wondering if they should press their luck and get out into a field in the near future. Some use the opportunity to test the air conditioning at home, at work, and in the vehicle. Others realize that exercise programs are not restricted to the climate-controlled indoor spaces. Sleeves are short to non-existent. Skirts are short to almost non-existent. Attention spans are short to... well, I forgot what I was talking about.
But praise be! Clouds and rain are on the horizon. April showers are right around the corner. And maybe, eventually, I'll be able to get some work done without having my brain drift out to lunch in the warm sunshine. Or maybe I'll just watch the NCAA tournament.

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