Is time flying for you, too?

Copy of Busy to Strategic (1)
Raise your hand if you too, can’t believe it’s April. I’m barely used to writing 2018 when I write the date. Sadly it does seem to be true that time slips away much faster the older you get.​​​​​​​
Time is an interesting beast, right?  I think so too – that’s why this blog incites come straight from Dan Pink’s new book, “When: The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing”. This clever book looks at all the ways that time and timing affect our lives and our behaviors. 
Dr Jo’s Top 5 Learning Incites About Timing:
1.  Turns out all humans (and other species too) have a daily burst of energy, a slump, and then another burst of energy. That’s why you’re always nodding off during your 3pm meeting. Larks (morning-people) work to their strengths by doing analytical tasks during their morning spurt and creative/insights tasks after their afternoon slump. But if you’re a night owl, your creative spurt should be during your first daily energy surge, save your logical/rational thinking work for your second upswing. Dan Pink has a time tracking sheet to calculate your personal spurts/slumps and schedule your work accordingly.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
2.  The “middles” can really motivate us if we pay attention to them.  Pink quotes research that looks at the productivity of individuals and groups as they approach the half-way point while working on deadline. If you, or someone in the group, point out, “Wow, we’re almost at/just over the half-way point,” this can motivate extremely effective work where individuals and groups accomplish way more in the second half as the deadline approaches. ​​​​​
This holds for basketball too. Studies have found that teams who are winning at halftime generally win the games with one exception, teams that are just slightly behind by 1-2 points at half-time. Those teams are actually more likely to win since the barely trailing score at halftime turns out to be a great motivator to bust out the points and win in the second half.​​​​​​​
3.  We’re more likely to be successful starting something new at a “page turning place.” Page turning times include New Year’s, the first of each month, Mondays, your birthday/anniversary, or even significant religious holidays –post-Easter/Passover resolutions anyone?​​​​​​​ So whether you’re planning a kick-off a new team or a new diet, take advantage of this clean slate timing effect.​​​​​​​


4. Remember to end on a high note. We remember endings much more clearly than we remember the middles. That means that as 
a leader you have the opportunity to create significant moments for your team/employees by ending with pizazz.​​​​​​​ How do you celebrate the end of big projects? Do you mark it with celebrations, gratitude and awards, or do you just roll right into the next big deadline?
5.  Want to run a marathon? The most popular age for first-time marathon runners is 29. The second most popular time to run a first-time marathon? 39. Anyone want to take a stab at the 3rd? Yes! It’s 49. If a marathon isn’t your big goal – how about using your next 9-ending birthday to finally make it happen.

And here’s a bonus point; I saved my favorite insight for last. One way timing can matter to leaders/managers: if you want to be perceived as an effective manager, answer colleagues’ email promptly, since “e-mail response time is the single best predictor of whether employees are satisfied with their boss.” ​​​​​​​


I hope you’ve enjoyed a few of my When insights courtesy of Daniel Pink.

Here’s to hoping that you can find some fun & fulfillment in April!

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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