When: Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing Summary Notes from Daniel Pink’s Talk
On Friday, 26 January I attended a talk by Daniel 🎀, he is promoting his new book When: The Scientific 🤫 of Perfect 🕰️. Here are my notes in summary, I hope you find them of use for your life/business 😊. Any questions do reach out to me on @ChelseaBlacker or in the comments below.
People are more alert and happier in the mornings 🌅. People are happy and alert in the morning, and then there is an afternoon slump. Moods and performance tend to improve again in the evening after working hours. You shouldn’t go to the 🏥 for an operation or try to get paroled from prison by a judge in the afternoon; surgery accidents and parole revocations are much higher in afternoons!
There are two dominant “types” of internal clocks which Pink has broken down as Larks (morning people) and 🦉 (night people). In general, most humans our larks (I certainly am) and the corporate working world is set up to match lark types; 🦉 who thrive on late night creativity struggle with the typical daily grind. For 🦉, let them prep on a morning meeting the night before so they are able to think in their best time.
Be more intentional about WHEN you decide to to different tasks in your day. Performance varies drastically if we are in a peak, trough, or recovery phase of our day. Peak. Trough. Recovery. We go through this cycle a few times a day.
- Peaks, generally morning time for larks, is the best time to do hard core analytics work that takes a focused brain.
- Troughs, typically lunchtime/early afternoon for larks, should be used for admin tasks. Find extremely dull tasks (like email) that take little brain power and do them at this time.
- Recovery, normally later afternoon time for larks, is the best time for insight or creative work, as the brain is quite lucid. In general if completing a task if the criteria are clear, then going first is good early morning. If the criteria is confusing murky, go late during recovery!
Breaks are the answer to top performance! Breaks are an excellent way to improve performance, so embrace the break to escape work. Add break times to your work day 🗓️, like any other appointment. Even a small break to get up and make a coffee or tea is better than no break at all. The ideal break is moving (like walking) instead of stationary, with a friend/colleague you want to hang out with versus alone, outside 🌲 versus indoors, fully detached from discussing work instead of semi detached, and without a phone.
😴 The ideal nap length is 10 to 20 minutes, if you go longer you’re dipping into deeper sleep cycles which can mess with your evening sleep patterns. For an extra boost, have a coffee immediately before your head touches the pillow for a nap so that when you wake up 20 minutes later the caffeine is just picking up too! For most, a nap is best 7 hours after waking up in the morning. Set the ⏲️ to 25 minutes so you have the first 5 minutes to go to sleep and ideally, wear head phones. Use quite or white noise headphones if required and accessible.
🎉 Celebrate endings! 🎇 Celebrate the end of something, a month or a project or a day. I’m going to try and do a better job of celebrating endings at BlueGlass because in general, we work so hard we just move ahead to the next thing rather than take a step back and appreciate the brilliant results we’ve just achieved. We can use endings as “meaning makers” — MAKE people find the deeper meaning in their endings. I’m reading Steve Job’s biography just now by Walter Isaacson and he was quite good at this, he’d even bless his computers and get the developer team’s names inscribed on a new model and hand them out at a little ceremony.
🤺 My job is to protect my team’s time so our company operates at maximum productivity. I’m currently reading Mastering the Rockefellar Habits by Verne Harnish which also has a focus on a company’s rythm and timing, so Pink’s work makes a lot of sense within this context too. At least at BlueGlass we have a start, because we do not do any client comms before lunch as mornings are our focus time for client deliverables.
In short, we must be deliberate in how we schedule individual and team work because when people work often matters as much as what they are doing I have learned.
What do you think of all this talk about timelines and chronologic cycles? I’d love to hear from you 😘