When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing Pdf Summary
Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.
Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.
Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Imagine for a moment that you knew the perfect time to do everything
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 21, 2018
Imagine for a moment that you knew the perfect time to do everything.
The perfect time to make decisions, the perfect decision to make regarding timing. When to accept a job offer, and when to leave a job. When to present to a client, and when to take on a new action that needs to become a habit.
And the list goes on.
Author Daniel Pink has collected a startling array of findings from a wide variety of credible sources. All shed light on one of life’s most vexing problems: when is the right time?
It was Miles Davis who said that timing isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing!
Consider just some of the observations and insights Pink shares.
In an article in the respected magazine, Science, researchers reported on their findings across 500 million tweets sent by 2.4 million users in 84 countries posted over two years. They found that positive emotions such as feeling engaged and hopeful, were generally higher in the morning, plummeted in the afternoon, and climbed up again in the early evening. Neither the day of the week, nor the weekend made any difference.
Across continents and time zones, the same daily patterns occur: a peak, a trough, and a rebound. It also appears that nearly all living things have biological clocks that affect their moods and energy.
This field of study, called chronobiology, shouldn’t be only of interest to some, because timing can even affect the share price of a company.
A study of over 26k earnings reports from more than 2,100 public companies over 6 1/2 years, revealed price-altering results. Reports presented first thing in the morning were perceived as more generally upbeat and positive. In the afternoon when negativity deepened again, responses to reports “were more negative, irritable, and combative” than reports in the morning.
So aside from shareholder’s meetings, should business people tackle their most important work in the morning? The answer is yes, and no. Here’s why.
Our cognitive abilities are not constant over the course of a day. But, not only do they fluctuate, they are dependent on the nature of the task.
Generally, our mental alertness and energy levels climb in the morning, reaching their peak about midday, then plummet during the afternoons, and recover in the late afternoon. Again, that is not true for all people.
Each of us has a “chronotype”—a personal pattern of circadian rhythms that influence our physiology and psychology.
In the past we have divided people into two broad classes – larks (an early morning bird,) and owls (a night bird.) However, there is a third bird, according to the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire. While the number of extreme owls outnumbers the extreme larks, 60-80% of us are the “third bird”, not too owlish and not too larkish.
Why does it matter? Consider being more of an owl and writing your matric math exam in the morning. You will do worse than you would have done later in the day. Not because you know less, but because mornings are not when you best show how much you know.
I mention math particularly because not all brain work is the same. Some problems require analytical prowess, while others require insight. The insight problems are more likely to be solved when birds are not at their peak – mornings for owls and late afternoons for larks.
The “Big Five” psychological traits – (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism,) are also differently affected for larks, the third bird, and owls.
While there sound tests to assess your chronotype quite easily, Pink offers a simple test and a variety of tips throughout the book in chapters titled “Time Hacker’s Handbook.”
A ‘quick and dirty’ way to find your avian type is to do the following computation for your sleep pattern. On “free days” when you don’t have to be awake at specific times, take your bed-time and your wake-up time, and find the mid-point. Those of us whose mid-point is before 3 a.m. are larks, midpoints after 6 a.m. are owls, and everyone between are “third birds”.
Everyone experiences the day in three stages, peak, trough, and rebound, but one in four people, the owls, experience the day in reverse order.
As a manager you are best served by holding a brainstorming meeting in the late afternoon which will suit most people, and an analytical meeting in the morning.
The best performing business people need to be aware of their chronotype just as do the best performing athletes. And work around it as much as possible.
Based on good science, we know more about what is required for peak performance today, than we did in the past. For example, we now know lunch is the most important meal of the day, not breakfast. We know that taking an afternoon nap is not a sign of shameful indolence, or best reserved for 5-year olds, but a very smart practice for corporate athletes.
If afternoons are the ‘Bermuda Triangles’ of our days, it would be wise to encourage taking a “perfect nap” if it will boost your individual productivity and corporate performance. In the UK, sleep-related car accidents peak twice every day 2 p.m. and 6 a.m. So, we may assume do poor decisions.
There are many types of “restorative breaks”, not completely dissimilar to the afternoon nap. Some only take minutes, but have dropped death rates in hospitals by 18%. They include physically taking a step back from the work you are doing, and refocusing on the task to be accomplished.
‘When’ does matter. Studies have shown that “if you happen to appear before a parole board just before a break rather than just after one, you’ll likely spend a few more years in jail—not because of the facts of the case but because of the time of day,” Pink reports.
There is no single answer to what breaks look like, but science does offer five guiding principles.
1. Something beats nothing
2. Moving beats stationary
3. Social beats solo
4. Outside beats inside
5. Fully detached beats semi-detached
So, the cinematic supervillain Gordon Gekko was wrong on many counts when he said, “Lunch is for wimps.” About 62% of American office workers eat lunch at their desks, alone each day. This is simply a recipe for poor performance, not a sign of commitment or a great work ethic.
And the perfect nap? It’s a coffee followed by a 20-minute sleep, because caffeine takes 25 minutes to kick in, and you will wake refreshed. Pink calls this the ‘napacinno’.
There are so many more insights into how the time of day, week or year affects our working prowess, that it is not surprising that this book has become a best-seller.
Readability Light —+- Serious
Insights High +—- Low
Practical High -+— Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of the recently released ‘Executive Update.
4.0 out of 5 stars the science of timing
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 9, 2022
Every person in the world has a chronotype, a personal pattern of circadian rhythm that influences our psychology and physiology, where we experience the day in 3 stages: a peak, a trough, and a rebound.
However, only about three quarter of us experience it in that precise order (a chronotype that Daniel Pink refers as larks), while the other one in four people (who Pink refers as night owls) experience their day in the reverse order: recovery, trough, and then peak.
Now it might seem trivial at first, but figuring out our chronotype can be crucial for any individual, as we can then maximize our peak time, manage our down time, and insert some strategic “vigilance breaks” before any important task.
As Pink remarks, “[f]igure out your type, understand your task, and then select the appropriate time. Is your own hidden daily pattern peak-trough-rebound? Or is it rebound-trough-peak? Then look for synchrony. If you have even modest control over your schedule, try to nudge your most important work, which usually requires vigilance and clear thinking, into the peak and push your second-most important work, or tasks that benefit from disinhibition, into the rebound period. Whatever you do, do not let mundane tasks creep into your peak period.”
This is a book about our relationship with timing. Daniel Pink spent 2 years to read and analyse more than 700 studies in anaesthesiology, anthropology, endocrinology, chronobiology, economics and social psychology, to codify what becomes this 268 pages book filled with scientific findings as well as tools, exercises, and hacks to put the knowledge of “when” into action.
The book covers a broad range of analysis of timing, including the James Dean Effect (how the perceived end changes the whole outlook), the duration neglect (how we tend to remember the peak of the experience and how it ended while the entire duration isn’t put into account if the ending is pleasant. And vice versa), why do teenagers sleep later and wake up later, how the introduction of a deadline changes the intensity of any task, why do people prefer to hear the bad news first then the good news, and the most incredible example of a time synchronization by the dabbawalas in Mumbai.
It also provides numerous case studies that demonstrate the direct effects of some of the hacks. For example, on the introduction of more breaks in a Danish school, Pink learned that “[w]hen the Danish students had a twenty- to thirty-minute break “to eat, play, and chat” before a test, their scores did not decline. In fact, they increased. As the researchers note, “A break causes an improvement that is larger than the hourly deterioration.”That is, scores go down after noon. But scores go up by a higher amount after breaks.”
This could also applied in a higher stake decision makings, such as in a courtroom after the judges take a break: “Immediately after that first break, for lunch, they become more forgiving—more willing to deviate from the default—only to sink into a more hard-line attitude after a few hours. But, as happened with the Danish schoolchildren, look what occurs when those judges then get a second break—a midafternoon restorative pause to drink some juice or play on the judicial jungle gym. They return to the same rate of favorable decisions they displayed first thing in the morning.”
Moreover, while the 7 chapters all consist of the hypothesis, the scientific testing, and the results, the follow up “Time Hacker’s Guide” for every chapter provides us with the actionable tools to implement the theories. This is where the gems are. This covers everything from the best time to exercise, the goldilocks duration for napping, when to go first, when to go last, to explaining why lunch is the most important meal of the day.
In the end, it’s a fairly quick read for a book with plenty of scientific explanations, as most of the stuffs discussed here are already familiar to us. But nevertheless, it’s like visiting our favourite museum but this time we have a tour guide with us who provides us with more background contexts and explanations that could teach us one or two new important things.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good companion piece for other behavioral economics books
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 8, 2018
In the past few years, the field of behavioral economics has taken off. It is not a surprise when everyone has been busy trying to find the mantra that could squeeze a little bit more from everything and everyone. As behavioral economics comes off age, there has been an onslaught of books describing the “how to” of extracting a little more. In the pursuit of becoming a better person, we end up buying these books. The more we read, the more similarity we find in these books. Most of these books are tend to cross-reference each other. Some of these books are built on concepts which can be better explained in a few pages. When it is blown up into a book of 200 pages, the reader becomes overwhelmed.
Daniel Pink writes this book as a companion piece to most of the books related behavioral economics. The subtitle of this book is the scientific secrets of perfect timing. As the title says, it helps you decide when to start or stop performing an activity. So you learn how to do with the dozens of book and use the knowledge gained in this book to decide when to do what you learned. The book has a small cheat sheet summarising what you read and how to implement those at the end of each chapter. When you are planning activities in the future, you can revisit these cheat sheets.
These books are always an exciting read. If you follow productivity topics avidly, you must have read some of the examples before. But it is still interesting to see another person’s perspective of these examples just like how we watch reruns and remakes of successful films. These books are not taxing and hence can be completed quickly. The challenge is to implement what you have read and also recall what you have learned. It is better to revisit the cheat sheets periodically.
About Daniel H. Pink Author Of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing pdf Book
Daniel H. Pink is the Author When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.
WHEN has spent 4 months on the New York Times bestseller list and was named a Best Book of 2018 by Amazon and iBooks.
Dan’s other books include the long-running New York Times bestseller A Whole New Mind and the #1 New York Times bestsellers Drive and To Sell is Human. His books have won multiple awards and have been translated into 39 languages.
He and his wife, who live in Washington, DC, have three children — a college senior, a college sophomore, and a high school sophomore
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- Publisher : Riverhead Books; Illustrated edition (January 9, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0735210624
- ISBN-13 : 978-0735210622
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #100,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #323 in Decision-Making & Problem Solving
- #368 in Popular Social Psychology & Interactions
- #459 in Cognitive Psychology (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,190 ratings
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