When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Dan Pink

May 12, 2020 Leadership-ing
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Dan Pink
Show Notes

Episode Outline

  • If you want to maximize your efficiency: learn about your circadian rhythm and schedule your days accordingly.
  • Our day has a U-shaped curve of efficiency and happiness
  • Our life has a U-shaped curve when it comes to happiness
  • Applications & Tips to Maximize Your Days



Understanding Your Circadian Rhythm (AKA Chronotype)

  • Understand what your circadian rhythm is because it will affect how productive (or unproductive) you are during certain times of the day. 
    • “Larks”, “Owls” & “Third Birds” 
    • Test: http://www.cet-surveys.com/index.php?sid=61524 
  • Things that are impacted 
    • When you are most primed for analytical versus creative tasks. 

The U-Shaped Daily Productivity

  • We start the day that we are very productive in the morning. Then we hit a trough in the afternoon and eventually we rebound in the early evening. 
    • Depending on your Chronotype, the hours of this U-shaped can change but still stay the same. 
  • There is a time for art & critical thinking… 
    • From a psychological point of view, there are times of the day which are poor for critical thinking tasks are actually great for artistic pursuits. 
      • This is because our neocortex is less engaged and we can “let go” more easily. 
      • When do you think you would do a better analytical task? Creative task? 
    • Which is which actually depends on your chronotype… 
  • The scary implication for healthcare… 
    • Doctors and nurses make mathematically more mistakes during the troughs of the day and are much more likely to be sloppy, so if you have a procedure, do it in the morning. 

Life has a U-shaped Curve For Happiness (importance of mid-points)

  • It does debunk the idea of a “mid-life” crisis, but does emphasize the powerful psychological effect “being at the mid-point” has on everything from project teams to basketball games.
  • Interesting findings about mid-points: 
    • We remember beginning and endings the most. 
      • If the ending of a colonoscopy is not painful, we remember it as less painful even if the total experience was longer and more painful (as compared to a colonoscopy that didn’t end well). 
      • What’s also surprising is that most people relax their standards during the middle and that people even judge others less harshly for the middle. (If you’re a president, you should focus on the last year because that’s what matters the most.) 
    • Mid-points are great motivators…and it might be even best to be losing a little bit 
      • Basketball example…teams are more likely to win if they are down by 1 at halftime instead than if they are tied, have a 1-point lead, or 2-point lead 

Summary: Applications & Tips to Maximize Your Day

  • Identify your circadian type
  • Take breaks & to make them especially helpful: 
    • Staying tech-free on your break dramatically improves recovery. 
    • Taking a break with someone beats taking a break alone. 
    • Sun on your skin & green and nature out perform breaks without them 
    • For what it’s worth, the company DeskTime calculated 17 mins of break for every 52 mins of work as a golden ratio 
  • End on a high note 
    • People prefer endings on a high note even when the overall sum is lower than the option with a poorer ending but higher overall scores. 
    • End your day with 30 minutes doing the following: write what you