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Timing and Productivity

by Sean Foster | October 07, 2021 | Newsletter

I came across this interview of Daniel Pink, where he shared some study results. About 20% of the variance in human performance is related directly to the time of day. Mornings being the peak performance periods when we are best doing analytic tasks, the afternoon is better suited to doing mundane administrative tasks (PS. because we are dumber 😊), while late afternoon and early evening, also referred to the recovery phase, is often when we are best at doing creative tasks. 

In another fascinating study, it was revealed that our appetite for risk also varies enormously through the week. The finding: Our risk aversion steadily increases from Monday to Thursday and then drops again on Friday.  

What does this all mean practically? First up, simply being aware of these changes is crucial. Being able to explain why you are feeling a little up or down, why you feel a little more like a gambler after certain events, are all part of being mindful.  

Secondly, why not plan your week and your day for efficiency. We all have many things to do, just being deliberate about what you are to do when, will provide significant gains. 

To back this last point, which I seem to be encountering more and more in successful people is: If you retrospectively look at your weeks, have you found that in every week you tend to operate differently on each day? Some days you just seem better at selling, while other days you are just better at dealing with thorny problems? While other days you like to unwind or are best at tapping into your genius. 

Most of us can identify this pattern, so the easy win, the win to improve your performance by 20+% is to simply recognize these patterns through the day and the week and to structure your routines and habits around when you are going to be the most effective doing them. 

Consider each day of the week and design how you should play them. When are you the best at specific tasks & decide what day of the week and if that is a morning, afternoon or evening activity. 

Now is that a brilliantly simple, practical strategy, that you could implement almost immediately? 

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