Recommended Reading

 When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

By Daniel H. Pink

2018, 272 pages

 Timing Your Day for Mental and Physical Peaks

It’s taken me decades to work out a daily routine that takes full advantage of my body’s natural chemistry. It took so long partly because I’m stubborn and partly because I believed that working non-stop for 18 hours was in and of itself a good.

Had I known what behavior scientists know today, I might have figured things out sooner. It turns out that my personal biochemistry is typical of most people.

In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel H. Pink looked at the results of about 700 scientific and academic studies and came to some interesting, though not surprising, conclusions.

Example from a Cornell University study of 500 million Twitter accounts: Positivity peaks in the morning, drops swiftly in the afternoon, then climbs back up in the evening.

Other studies show the same thing in reverse: Negativity rises in the afternoon and falls in the evening.

 Practical Applications:

  • Schedule your pep-rally meetings and sales pitches in the morning.
  • Want to scare someone? Do it in the afternoon.
  • Do the mindless busywork in the afternoon.
  • Take a 5-to-7 minute break every hour and a half-hour walk or exercise break midday.
  • Take a nap when you are tired, but only for 10 to 20 minutes. (It takes 20 minutes for caffeine to get into your system, so have a cup of coffee before the nap.)

 Note: These findings apply to 75% of those studied. The other 25% have different patterns. Half are larks, rising extra early. The other half are owls, rising later and working later. Larks are generally happier than owls. Young and old people tend to be larks and teenagers tend to be owls.