5 Reasons Top 10 Lists Have Become the No.1 Hindrance to Workplace Productivity

Posted on June 15, 2012


According to a recent Gallup poll, Top Ten Lists have eclipsed kittens, talking cats, lite beer, sex, chili, and ice cubes as America’s new number 1 most favorite thing. Many Americans are claiming they can’t get through a single day without reading at least 7 of them and they’re seeking them out in alarming numbers.

A recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that, by 2016, the average American worker will spend 3 hours of every work day in Top Ten List-related pursuits, either reading them, talking about them, or day-dreaming about their favorites. It’s estimated that 5% of the current U.S. workforce will need to become professional Top Ten List writers over the next 3 years just to keep up with projected demand. Theories abound but most experts agree that 5 reasons for this alarming trend are:

1. Working for a living sucks.

2. Laboratory monkeys prefer Top Ten Lists to crack. Laboratory monkeys on crack prefer Top Ten Lists to sex, candy, and meth, proving that the Top Ten List gene has been in our evolutionary DNA for hundreds of thousands of years.

3. The Fletcher/Binton effect. Bertrand Fletcher and Crispus Binton were 19th-century behavioral scientists whose groundbreaking work with Coney Island lifeguards established an ineffable link between human cognitive function and deca-based information systems. According to Fletcher/Binton, all humans have a natural proclivity to gravitate to information that is organized around functions of the number 10. Although the bug zapper had yet to be invented, were Fletcher & Binton alive today they would undoubtedly say that humans are drawn to ten-based information like bugs to a bug zapper, though, in a related note, Binton met an untimely demise when he was trampled by his pet buffalo Rhonda during the festival of St. Anthony in Troy, NY in 1894.

4. Lazy writers love writing lists instead of writing writing. According to Steven Denritter of the American Literary Standard, most American writers have given up writing as a serious pursuit because most Americans don’t want to read writing, they want to read lists and fun facts. ‘Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it bad,’ Denritter sniffs, taking a long pull on his ice coffee before getting back to his US magazine profile on Justin Bieber’s dog.

5. Workers ‘working from home’ aren’t really working all that much, leaving more time for Top Ten List reading. Experts, all of whom make air quotations when saying the phrase ‘working from home,’ agree that the glut of unsupervised workers surfing the web in their underwear is probably causing a spike in data. Jerry Ben Davis, data analyst for TJP, Inc. who agreed to go on the record because I tricked him when he wasn’t paying attention, laughs when I ask him how his work day is going on a recent Thursday. ‘Awesome! I finished all my reports yesterday so I’ve got today and tomorrow to goof off. I’m on my second scotch. I can’t believe they’re paying me for this!’

Posted in: Marginalia