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Understanding The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing

19 March 2019 | Jack Aspden | About a 4 minute read
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As I sit down to write this blog, the time is 7.42pm. I know what you’re thinking – why does he think I’d care what time it is? Before picking up Daniel Pink’s new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, I would have thought exactly the same.

Before reading the book, I was oblivious the science of timing and how, when properly understood, smart planning can dramatically improve your life – both professionally and personally.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing draws on research from psychology, biology, and economics to explain why timing is so important. We often focus on the what, the why, or the who but often discount the when.

In this blog, I’m going to explore why Pink’s findings are so eye-opening, and explain how they can be applied in your everyday life.

 

Finding Your Perfect Timing: Are You A Lark Or An Owl?

Pink describes how everybody has their own body clock, and it turns out there is scientific reasoning behind the often underestimated phenomenon. Our body clock goes through three distinct phases each day:

– the peak
– the trough
– the recovery period

Regardless of age, gender or profession, our bodies beat to a regular rhythm. The only distinction is whether you are a Lark – a morning person – or an Owl – someone who is most energised at night. In either case the pattern reverses, but for Larks – the majority of the population – the pattern looks a bit like this:

 

Daniel Pink - When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

 

Why Do The Three Stages Of The Day Matter?

Did you know it makes a drastic difference to your chances of survival if you visit a hospital in the afternoon versus the morning, or are in front of a judge before or after their lunch break?

In one study, professors wanted to understand if a CEO’s mood during earnings calls impacted stock price. They studied 26,000 calls from over 2,000 companies and found that the time of day did influence the emotional tone of conversations – and by extension the company’s stock price.

Morning calls, when moods were high, were upbeat and positive. As the day goes by, mood tends to dip, before rebounding later in the evening. The takeaway? Schedule important meetings and calls in the morning for the best outcomes!

It also turns out the human brain is more attuned to certain types of tasks during each of the periods:

Peak: Good for analytical tasks

Trough: Good for admin tasks

Recovery: Good for insight and creative problems

 

How Do We Put Perfect Timing Into Practice?

Be smart about scheduling and use this evidence to improve your effectiveness. Complete certain types of tasks at specific times of the day. Here are some of my suggestions for how to structure your workload through the three stages of the day:

Peak

– Conduct important meetings and interview stakeholders
– Write user stories
– Solve complex development problems
– Write proposals

Trough

– Complete timesheets, expenses, trackers and all mundane tasks that are a necessary evil.

Recovery

– Brainstorm new solutions
– Come up with business ideas
– Whiteboard big visions and plan to take over the world…

 

So be smart and plan ahead. Understand that your body clock truly affects you and your career.

As well as considering how you work best, consider how you team work and find a process that works for everyone. One way of working that we’ve adopted at AND Digital is goal-based, something you can learn more about here.

And, if you thought my start time was an irrelevant piece of information, hopefully it’s clear now – I’m an owl!

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