Time Management

Book Review: “When” by Daniel H. Pink

Here we have tried to briefly summarise the content of the book with some additional comments. We personally recommend this book to anyone who is trying to learn about how to time their tasks so as to get maximum output out of their efforts.

About Circadian Rhythm

In this book Daniel talks about how days flow. He breaks this into three segments as peak, trough and rebound.

Circadian rhythm

Daniel Pink explains this as:

  1. Peak: Statistics says that we are more positive and energetic in the morning hours. Hence logical and analytical task should be done in the morning.
  2. Trough: More negative and less energetic in the afternoon. Research says that most of the accidents occur between 2 to 5 hours. This is due to we feel more tired in the afternoon and become somewhat inactive. Hence in afternoon you should do creative task not logical task.
  3. Rebound: In the late afternoon there is a rise in the curve which indicates that we become active again after 5pm.

Daniel compares this behavior with ocean tides and says that, the flow of day is as predictable as ocean tides – a peak, a trough and a rebound. He further says that, our cognitive abilities do not remain static over the course of a day. We are smarter, faster, dimmer, slower, more creative and less creative in some part of the day than other. The best time to perform a particular task depends on the nature of task. This is known as Circadian Rhythm.

Human’s Chronotype

A person’s natural tendency to prefer time to sleep and time to work is known as Chronotype. Author says that there are three types of people – the lark, the owl and the third bird.

  1. The lark: This type of people have natural tendency to work in early morning. They are more energetic in morning.
  2. The owl: This type of people have natural tendency to work late night. They feel less energetic in morning.
  3. The third bird: This type of people are neither late nor early riser. They just follow the standard pattern.

Daniel Pink gives four basic habits that should follow in the morning just after waking up

  1. Drink full glass of water after you wake up.
  2. Don’t drink coffee till one after you wake up.
  3. Enjoy the morning sun.
  4. Therapy section should be done in the morning.

Afternoons and Coffee Spoons

Earlier breaks were considered as the waste of time but nowadays break is scientifically defined about how to take break. Breaks are not a sign of sloth but a sign of strength. Daniel explains about how to take micro break as:

  1. 20:20:20 Rule: Daniel explains this as after working for 20 minutes you should look 20 metres away for 20 seconds.
  2. Hydrate break: We should drink water at every interval of time.
  3. Nature break: We should try to take more nature break like looking up at the sky, fields, river, etc.
  4. Moving break: Daniel says that moving break is better than stationary break. So while taking break you should move around.
  5. Social break is better than individual break: You should take break in a group rather having spending your break lonely.
  6. Mental break: You should try to take more mental break by doing meditation.
  7. Lunch break: You should do your lunch away from your offices desk. Do not use phone while having lunch.

Beginnings: Starting Right, Starting again and Starting together

Result mostly depends upon how you have taken up the start. Beginning has even more greater impact than we suspected. Good beginning can lead to an end. Daniel has given three formulas for successful beginning and they are:

  1. Start Right: In this segment Author says that target and output should be very clear. This matter a lot in the beginning to make a start.
  2. Start again: Daniel says that if you fails in the beginning then again have a fresh start.
  3. Starting together: If beginning is beyond your control then go for group start.

Author also talks about when you should go first and when you should not.

  1. When you should go first: If you are on a ballet, if you are not a default choice, if there are relatively few competitors and if you are interviewing for a job. In this situation going first will be of great advantage.
  2. When you should not go first: If you are the default choice, if there are many competitor, if you are operating in an uncertain environment and if competition is meager then don’t go first.

Midpoints: What Hanukkah Candles and Midlife Malaise can teach us about motivation

Author says that “When we reach a midpoint, sometimes we slump, but other times we jump. A mental sirens alert us that, we’ve squandered half our time”.

The pathway what you create to reach to the target are full of midpoints. Here midpoints represent the obstacles. Therefore Daniel says that, it is sure that there will be some midpoints in you target but you should plan your pathway in such a way that midpoints should be clearly visible. Daniel says that, you should take the midpoints as motivation rather taking obstacles.

Endings: Marathons, Chocolates and the power of Poignancy

Good ending help you to energize, encode, edit and elevate. Author says that, someone who is forty nine is about three times more likely to run a marathon than someone who’s just a year older. 

Synching Fast and Slow: The secrets of group timing 

Author says that “Synchronizing makes us feel good and feeling good helps a group wheel turn more smoothly. Co-ordinating with others also makes us do good and doing good enhance Synchronization”.

According to Author Synchronization must be done in following stages:

Every individual synch to the boss and pace of work must be synch to every individual. The last one is synching to the heart that makes us feel good.

  • Thinking in the tenses : A few final words

At the last Author says that, “Most of the world’s languages mark verbs with time using tenses- especially past, present and future to convey meaning and reveal thinking. Nearly every phrase we utter is tinged with time”. 

Premratan Kushwaha
Mechanical Engineer turned career enthusiast. After facing issues in finding the right job for myself and then realising that despite my degree I don't completely understand the significance of various profiles in the industry, I decided to make career out of helping others in finding the right career path.

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