How Does Mercury in Retrograde Affect Your Productivity?

Why would the woo-woo astrological term Mercury in Retrograde be of any interest to a very concrete sequential, scientifically-leaning, analytical brain like mine? It goes like this.

I first heard the term ten years ago when I was helping a client unpack in her new home. She was lamenting about all of the mishaps that occurred during packing and moving. At the end of her venting, she looked at the ceiling and muttered in exasperation, “I should’ve never moved when Mercury was in Retrograde!”

I must’ve displayed a puzzled look on my face because she proceeded to give me a cliff’s notes version of what Mercury Retrograde means. “Mercury is going backward and this screws up transportation and technology.” I thanked her for sharing that with me and then pretty much exited that information from my head since it sounded like complete nonsense.

A few years after that, I was sitting in a client’s office when she slapped her computer monitor and shrieked, “Damn you, Mercury!” She, too, explained that technology and transportation snafus happen during Mercury in Retrograde. I was surprised that this intelligent woman would believe in such hooey.

Earlier this year, my acupuncturist shared with me a few business frustrations. This very educated person blurted out, “I should’ve known better than to interview and hire when Mercury was in Retrograde.” Seriously? Et tu, Brute? Say it ain’t so!

When I asked her what the Mercury Retrograde dates were, they coincided with the car issues my husband and I each had with our respective vehicles, commute delays, and a major website disaster. Transportation. Technology. Hmmmm. These looney tunes could be onto something.

I looked back at some of the other past Mercury Retrograde dates and sure enough, they matched up with when I’d experienced issues with transportation or technology – car battery dying, a watch going belly up, emails disappearing. Perhaps these folks weren’t so nutty after all. So I did a little more digging and found a simple explanation of Mercury Retrograde on a Farmer’s Almanac website:


According to the age-old practice of astrology, we are all influenced by the effect of Mercury in retrograde. Due to the way our planet’s orbit interacts with the orbits of the other planets, they might sometimes appear to be traveling backward through the night sky with respect to the zodiac. This is, in fact, an illusion, which we call apparent retrograde motion.

Three times a year, it appears as if Mercury is going backward. These times, in particular, were traditionally associated with confusion, delay, and frustration. Think email blunders and frazzled travel plans.

However, this is an excellent time to reflect on the past. It’s said that intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary.


In 2019, Mercury will be in retrograde three times, during the date ranges of:

March 5 to 28

July 7 to August 2

October 31 to November 20


The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such.

So, when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow extra time for travel, and avoid signing contracts. Double-check your email responses, check-in with reservations before you take that trip. 

Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions. You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans and be prepared for angrier people and miscommunication. 

Some people blame Mercury retrograde for “bad” things that happen in their lives. Instead, this is a good time to sit back and review where you put your energy in your life….

Take a moment to reflect. Mercury retrograde can be an excellent time to take a step back and reanalyze who you are and what you are doing—but do refrain from making any drastic changes until after retrograde has ended.”

Just in case your curiosity is increasing, here are the 2020 Mercury Retrograde dates:

February 18 – March 9, 2020

June 19 – July 11, 2020

October 16 – November 2, 2020

I believe in both Mulder (the pursuer of “out there” phenomenon and theories) and Scully (the scientist and doctor) from The X-Files. I’ve studied science, mythology and eastern philosophies. I’m open to other beliefs, even if they sound illogical, as Dr. Spock would say. While I won’t stop living when Mercury is doing its thing, I’m definitely going to start including the Mercury in Retrograde dates when doing my strategic planning for each quarter. It couldn’t hurt to avoid known bad joo joo.

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead?The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits.Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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