Daniel H. Pink WHEN—The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
I am not sure who to give credit for this quote, but I have heard it several times over the course of my career in education.
After reading Daniel Pink’s book WHEN The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing I would change it up to...
Pink has culminated “an emerging body of multifaceted, multidisciplinary research that offers fresh insights into the human condition and useful guidance on working smarter and living better” (p. 4). This is not a how-to book, but rather a “when-to” book. The type of task you do, and at what time you do it...matters. Pink begins with identifying the “peak, trough, and rebound patterns of one’s day and guides the reader to determine if they are a “lark, third bird, or an owl” (p. 28). The reader can then create their very own “daily WHEN chart” (p. 40) to decide when to best complete an analytical task for optimal peak performance or when the brain needs time to mull over a problem in order to gain “insight” and experience those ah-ha moments. Pink guides the reader to understand our “cognitive abilities do not remain static over the course of the day...they change.” These “daily fluctuations are more extreme than we realize” and “the best time of day to perform a particular task depends on the nature of that task” (p. 22).
My three major reflections from Pink’s book WHEN.
My first ah-ha occurred WHEN I discovered what “ultimately matters” in completing important work--timing. I identified my type (alias a lark) and categorized my peaks, troughs, and rebounds of a typical workday. Knowing this I can then prioritize and synch the optimal peak time(s) of my day with essential tasks where I need to think and act clearly rather than mindlessly completing mundane chores needing less focus.
The second important takeaway is WHEN I take a break which admittedly is never. I know, I know breaks matter...even for a few minutes. I need to get up, get moving, and get outside with a colleague and detach from conversations around work. Recently on a Voxer group chat, a participant indicated they actually schedule their breaks on their work calendar. Brillant!
Finally, my third lasting impression headed towards the group which Pink also shared “must be synchronized...to the boss, to the tribe, and to the heart” (p. 181). “Working in harmony with others, science shows, makes it more likely we’ll do good” (p.199). As an educator, I would add with our students at the heart of all that we do, prioritizing my timing would inspire me to go beyond just “good” and do and be better.
Pink closes his book with these thoughts, “I use to believe that timing was everything. Now I believe that everything is timing (p. 218). I would add, how we choose to use our time and use it well, is up to us.