Book Review: WHEN by Daniel H. Pink

“This book is about timing. We all know that timing is everything. Trouble is, we don’t know much about about timing itself”

This is an interesting read about the best times of day to make optimum decisions.

These timings are based on whether you’re a ‘Lark’, ‘Owl’ or ‘Third Bird’, which inform your ‘peak-trough-rebound’ schedule, that are based on your sleep/peak cognitive periods, and when you should make certain decisions.

For most people, their best work is done in the mornings, when they find it easiest to concentrate, which is followed by a less productive period in the afternoons, before a late afternoon burst before dinner.

Examples of optimised timing include:

  • Larks should perform analytic tasks/make a decision in the mornings, whereas Owls excel at these tasks in the late afternoon/evening (which should be obvious for both Larks and Owls)
  • However, insights are best kept for late afternoons/evenings for Larks, and mornings for Owls
  • Mornings tend to be the best time to make an impression
  • When interviewing for a job, try to be first, unless you’re the incumbent

Key takeaways:

  • Ideally, schedule at least three breaks per day, and try nap for 25 mins about 7 hours after waking
  • Make the most of the ‘primary effect’ ie people tend to remember the first thing in a series
  • Break large projects into smaller chunks
  • At the end of each work day, take a few minutes to:
    • Write down your achievements for the day
    • Plan the next day
  • Adopt Warren Buffet’s 5/25 strategy for planning goals: list 25, or however many, of your goals and then only focus on the top 5, ignoring the remaining 20 ¬†or so until the top 5 are completed

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