When is an interesting question. I find it is either the first or the last one I ask, with who, what and why garnering most of my attention. As the first, when acts the primary constraint. As the last, it is just a detail to be sorted out with everything else.
Dan Pink make it the primary question in his new book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. The book is a meta-study of sorts on how time and timing affects us. Like all of Pink’s books, it is high on utility and how-to. This book, in particular, felt like it belonged in paperback with pages dog-eared and covered in orange highlighter.
The handbook quality to this title comes from Pink covering lots of smaller things versus one overarching idea. I know that might sound contradictory since the book about one topic but it is a question of scale. When tackles topics ranging from daily fluctuations in energy levels to the best time to start a new habit to cyclical happiness over a lifetime. We don’t carry all of those in the same mental bucket.
Here are my highlights which I think will demonstrate what I am talking about:
- Cultures with less distinctive future tenses in their languages (Mandarin, Finnish, Estonian) are 30% more likely to save for retirement, 24% less likely to smoke, practice safer sex, and exercise more. The theory is that people feel less separated from their “future” selves using present tense verbs.
- Endings are important. Start reading the last lines of books for inspiration from completion.
- Ernest Hemingway used to stop mid-sentence at the end of a day of writing to give him a strong place to start from the next day.
- Most of us experience an energy trough in the afternoon. This leads to more medical errors, more judicial convictions and a higher likelihood to lie, cheat and steal. Antidote – TAKE BREAKS! Movement with people outside is the best combination.
- End your work day with this five-minute routine: write down what you accomplished because measuring progress is powerful, plan your top three goals for tomorrow because goal setting is proven helpful, and thank someone because gratitude practice is a highly reliable method to higher levels of happiness.
The book holds together and you should check it out. Now.