While science can’t add more hours to our day, an understanding of human rhythms can help make us more efficient with our tasks, according to author Daniel Pink. His research into “when” highlighted that people go through stages during the day that impact both mood and performance and adjusting the type of work to the appropriate cycle can allow us to take advantage of the underlying pattern.

When we are at our peak (the morning hours for most people), the research says we will be most productive if we focus on analytical tasks or deep work that requires our full attention. When we hit a trough (afternoon hours for most), we are better suited to administrative tasks that are less intensive. Often overlooked is that most people experience a recovery phase (later in the evening) where we are most creative and have greater insights. Pink’s research was interesting to me because our normal stages don’t correspond to the typical 9-5 workday, with the prime time for reflection coming after hours.

How can you use science instead of chance to capitalize on the timing of your tasks? Consider when you schedule meetings or block out time for more concentrated work. Maybe more serious meetings are held in the morning and routine check-ins during the afternoon? Or I could stop staring at the computer trying to write dots in the afternoon and wait until the evening when juices are more likely to be flowing!

We’re all looking to make the most out of our day. Use Pink’s research to help you know not just how, but when to do that.

Source: Daniel Pink presentation: How to make time your ally, not your enemy at the Dream Bank Summit, 10/6/21 — also his book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing”, 2019

Source: Daniel Pink

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